Getting Things Done by David Allen
This October, I’ve been in re-read mode.
It’s actually pretty darn fun, to feel the freedom to re-read– so often, I feel pressured to read something new.
So today, we’re looking at my first re-read of the fall season.
Earlier this year, when I finished reading Getting Things Done, I put a reminder in my calendar (Google Calender is one of my key GTD tools) to revisit the book in the fall.
This time, I decided to listen to it. And that was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. David Allen, the author, narrates the book, and it’s one of those delightful instances where the author reads the book better than anyone else could. Dude has a soothing voice, and he speaks with quiet confidence. It was like a private coaching session.
And, just like he says in the book, the next time I read it, I gained new insights. And I was inspired to fine-tune my system. These changes sound small, but They Are Not.
Here’s what I did:
First, I improved my Capture systems.
In GTD lingo, “capture” refers to catching ideas when they arise, and saving them in a system you trust.
I did this:
- Placed small notebooks in 2 additional places where I often have ideas, so I can capture them
- Bought bathtub crayons so I can write my shower thoughts (anyone else do their best thinking in the shower?) right there on the wall
Next, I hacked my system to make myself more accountable to myself.
I did this:
- Created hyperlinks to connect related Word documents. This one works especially well in the Projects List doc, where I’ve added links to my various project pages. When I do my weekly review, I now actually look at each project page, because I’ve made it easy. And it’s paying off — I’ve already thought of some new ways to approach some of my projects. [small squeal of delight as I realize he ain’t kidding about the subtitle to the book: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity]
And finally, I kept myself honest.
Here’s where I was goofing up: Instead of making sure my Next Actions List contained only actual “next actions,” I allowed some of the items to be projects that needed to have “next actions” defined for them. So…
I did this:
- Reviewed my Next Actions list with a discerning eye, then turned vague
statements into concrete Next Actions. Again: immediate results. It was a
sudden kick-start to some projects that I’d allowed myself to glide
past, because they required thinking. Once the actual thinking is done and I decided what to actually do: super easy.
Anyone else completely infatuated with a self-improvement book? If so, which one?
Celebrating | How ’bout them Cubs?!
|Marisa, Julie, me, and Katie, as photographed by Shortman of the JulzReads universe|
Her house is gorgeously decorated, and she’s only lived there since May. (I’ve been in my house for 19 years, and guess what? It’s not decorated.)
Not only is her house beautiful, but it’s bookish as all heck. She has a for-real library with windows that look out into the treetops, and a cozy reading room with a fireplace, and she even has a Harry Potter themed bathroom. I’m not even kidding.
Here, we get The Rest of the Story. (Anyone else kinda miss Paul Harvey?)
Then a new footman arrives at the house, and that upsets the applecart downstairs almost as much as Mr. Bingley’s arrival disrupts life upstairs.
The thing that surprised me — and eventually delighted me — is that Elizabeth and Darcy’s story is hardly even mentioned in this version of events.
Here, we get to hear Sarah’s story. And James the footman’s story. And Mrs. Hill’s surprising back story.
And it was a little bit Downton Abbey-esque, all this downstairs business, as we follow these characters through their daily lives and care about what happens to them.
And it’s not necessarily the happily-ever-after story of P&P, but the author leaves her characters in reasonably good situations, so no worries there.
“And to be flourishing, and happy, was to be a good way towards being beautiful. And being flourishing, and happy, and beautiful, was a good way towards being beloved…” (326).
So, good people… What’s your take on pastiches? Yay, nay, or maybe?
Celebrating | …my discovery of Iceland-made skyr, right here on this continent! The Dear Man and I have been conducting a quest, and… success.
Co. Aytch by Sam R. Watkins
3 words: unflinching, immediate, direct
I seriously love a conversational first-person narrator. So when we were visiting Kennesaw Mountain battlefield and I saw Sam Watkins quoted all over the museum and then saw his book blurbed as one of the most compelling memoirs of the Civil War… I was there.
I nearly bought a copy right there in the gift shop.
But then I thought: audiobook.
And, in retrospect, that might’ve been a mistake. The thing is this: Watkins is a Southerner. And the narrator of the audiobook? Pure Yankee. It created kind of a strange disconnect.
But that’s my only quibble with this book.
Watkins wrote one doozy of a narrative.
Although he wrote this memoir a couple of decades after the war, his story feels fresh and honest and unflinching.
And there are moments that’ll rip your heart out. Moments like when he describes the horrible death of a fellow soldier in vivid detail, then states simply, “I loved him. He was my friend.”
And then he picks up the narrative as the army marches on.
There were moments I halted what I was doing, to just pause and feel all the feels.
Watkins doesn’t sugarcoat a thing. He lets us know how horrible that war was. He unsparingly describes the fury and the horror at the Dead Angle at Kennesaw.
(When we saw that place during our visit, I stood and gaped. It was hard to believe that soldiers mounted an attack on that ground. Sobering stuff, my friends.)
And call me weird, but I find it strangely comforting when someone speaks the full truth about something horrible. So I found Watkins’s memoir both moving and refreshing.
Anyone else like the full honest truth in their books?
Pretty sure Lin-Manuel Miranda would forgive this…
Recently I woke with altered lyrics running through my mind:
“Raise a glass to fREADom
Something they can never take away”
…cuz it’s Banned Books Week, and that always gets me feeling grateful for our freedoms, and also concerned that some people wish to abridge the freedom of others.
So… if you feel like exercising your freedom to read, here’s a list from the ALA of frequently challenged books. And then there’s the list of banned & challenged classics.
See some favorites there? Yeah, me, too.
What’s your favorite banned or challenged book?