As I’ve said before, GTD isn’t actually about getting lots of things done: it’s about doing what you most want to do at any given moment. Having said that, ever since I stopped putting tasks on my Next Action list that are more than two weeks out, I have in fact been Getting Things Done.
In particular, we’ve taken care of a ridiculous amount of house stuff. Earlier this year, we got the only major bit of planned house work taken care of, namely fixing our front door / steps. (And that was before the GTD implementation changes.) But there were a lot of small items to take care of, too, items that had been bugging me for months (some of them for years, actually).
So, when I looked at those items, I decided that yes, they really were high enough priority for me to keep them on my Next Action list. The result was that, within half a week, I’d made a phone call to kick off getting non-plumbing house items taken care of; and as soon as that was done, I made another phone call to start dealing with the plumbing. The upshot:
- Our dryer is no longer blowing lint into our crawl space.
- We are no longer being driven crazy by flickering lights in the kitchen.
- Two towel racks and a rag hook are now firmly attached to the wall.
- Two sinks have working drain catches.
- The showers are all regulating their heat properly.
- The upstairs toilet doesn’t drip. (I can’t take (almost) any credit for that one, though, it was all Liesl’s doing.)
Which is great! And the best thing is: it was really easy. All I had to do was decide that these tasks were important: I actually already had phone numbers for people to call. In one of the cases (the non-plumbing case, I’d already used the plumber in question twice before), I wasn’t sure that he was the right person for the job, but that worked out great. Which means that it will be even easier for us to take care of this sort of thing in the future: in particular, in a couple of years we’re probably going to do some kitchen work, and now we know whom to call when we decide to think seriously about that. Obviously it would have been harder if I hadn’t already had an idea of whom to call, but still, the same principal applies: decide that something’s important, figure out the next step to make progress towards it, and do it.
So, with the house work out of the way, what next? I’m actually working on a few too many things right now: each of Rock Band 3 and Minecraft is taking up rather more time than I’m used to spending on a single video game, I’m going through a book on iOS programming, and I’m reading about CoffeeScript and using it to write a bare-bones game framework for a project that Miranda and I are vaguely working on. And those are all substantial enough that it’s hard to make progress on all of them.
So I should wind them down. Rock Band 3 is far too rewarding for me to want to stop it now—I’m just getting to where I’m actually learning to play guitar!—so I think I’ll keep going with in for the indefinite future. (And, honestly, given that I’ve been playing one Rock Band game or another for three and a half years straight, why stop now?) And the game project with Miranda is the most potentially rewarding of anything on the list, so I’ll keep on going with that.
I don’t have as much active energy to write iOS software now as I did two or three months ago, however; so, while I plan to finish going through that book, I probably won’t actually do anything concrete with that knowledge in the short term. And, as much as I love Minecraft, I may be starting to reach a point of diminishing rewards, so it may be the case that, after finishing my train stations, I’ll give that game a pause, too.
Or maybe not! Who knows, maybe at some point over the summer somebody will come up with a great iPad game proposal to work on with me, and I’ll dive into that; or maybe the Minecraft railroad work will suggest further projects that I have to build. I suppose it’s even possible that I’ll get frustrated with Rock Band Pro Guitar and give up on it in a month or two. All I’m committing to is what I’m doing in the short term, and I’m planning to keep all four of those strands going for the next few weeks; after that, all bets are off.
At any rate: yay for limiting (and being honest about!) work in progress.
This post has not been revised since publication.