The Curse of Getting Things Done

1 minute read

I consider myself to be well organized. Both in my professional and personal life I use Remember the Milk for keeping track of almost everything I do using some of the techniques described in Getting Things Done and practice Inbox Zero almost religiously.

If I ever actually forget to do something, it’s probably because I forgot to write it down.

But being super-organized does not make one super-human (sadly), so the fact that I do not forget does not mean I can actually do everything I intend to. At the end of the day many of the things I want to get done are not; they get postponed, put off, perhaps indefinitely.

I have a repeating weekly task that reminds me to write a post for this blog every Friday. As you might have noticed, that does not result in weekly posts. I didn’t forget, but as much as I want to write, I had other things to do.

Each day I actively and consciously decide to not do many things that I would really, really, really like to. This, for me, is the Curse of Getting Things Done. I am fully aware of my own shortcomings; completely knowledgeable of me failing to do That One Thing that was So Important; explicitly confronted with Not Getting Everything Done.

In general this is probably a good thing. I can consider the pros and cons of completing a task versus postponing it and get to decide what to do, and what not to do, with my time; while still being able to work towards long-term goals. But the physical act of postponing a task comes at a mental price. It’s one thing to simply forget to do something, but it is something else entirely to explicitly decide not to do something simply because it is not important enough to you1.

I understand that I am only human, but I still feel guilty every time I postpone a task.

Perhaps it would be better not to know. Perhaps ignorance truly is bliss.

  1. “It’s not that I can’t do it today, but just that I consider sleep to be more important right now.”