An Old School Approach to Getting Things Done

While many steps towards Melbourne are physical [1] quite a few of them are mental. Personal      development, or strengthening areas of my life that are weak will certainly prepare me for the return.

As with most people I have a mental list of things that need to be worked on…near the top of it is the idea of working smarter.

I have no problem with work (in fact I’m always looking for more to do) and enjoy working very hard. But there’s a fatal flaw in my philosophy

It’s incredibly disorganized

The core problem is I rely on my mind to bring up jobs that need to be done.

David Allen in his classic book “Getting Things Done” [2] points out this is a serious problem since the mind was never meant to do this.

Basically we have so much going through our brain during the day that it has to simply dump things that are in short-term memory. So for instance if I tell myself one time to get eggs at the grocery store and don’t remind myself anymore it will eventually be forgotten.

Instead Allen encourages us to put any task in a list the moment it comes to our mind. Those lists can then be used to remind ourselves of the need later (and use the minds long term memory).

I’ve gone through countless applications, books, list ideas, and philosophies to get my ideas down but none of them work. It’s not I don’t want to be organized trust me…I just forget to put it down.

That’s why this year I’ve decided to do something drastic this year and go completely old school (doing things the way they used to be done).

No technology,
No keyboard,
No data cloud
Just a notebook and a pen

Now there are a few reasons I have decided to go old school with my organization

  1. It takes me out of my comfort zone (technology)
  2. Writing something out takes a lot longer than typing it, and your forced to think about the words
  3. There is a constant visual reminder (the notebook) [3].
  4. That visual reminder helps us remember to review the list, or add things to it

Being somebody whose handwriting is terrible [4] and finds writing something out time consuming I’m not exactly thrilled about an old school organizational system

But it doesn’t matter if I like whats being done or not

What matters is that it works

Personal development is rarely ever something we find fun or enjoyable, but we still do it. For dealing with those weaknesses will only make us stronger.


  1. raising financial support, communicating with Immigration, filling out proper paperwork  ↩
  2. http://gettingthingsdone.com  ↩
  3. there is a visual reminder with applications but it’s just one part of the phone or tablet, so you can easily go a long time without seeing it  ↩
  4. If I wrote in cursive you wouldn’t be able to read it I promise  ↩

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s