F is for Focus


There's a good reason time/task management apps and systems are all the rage: We all have too much on our plate, too much to do, not enough energy, not enough time. We grasp at systems to help us get organized, to help us focus. This isn't a new thing. Before "Getting Things Done," there were the Franklin Planner, Day-Timer, Day Runner, and various other systems to organize the too-much-to-do into prioritized do-it-this-way lists, and focus on, well, getting things done.

I've tried GTD, Franklin and Day Runner systems (as well as other experiments and oddball approaches like one-sheet and 3-day-rule hacks). In my own lay understanding: GTD has you have separate processes for the organizing and the doing, and then do the simple, easy things first; the Franklin system starts with governing values, from which you define goals, by which you decide on which tasks must be done today, which should be done today, and which could be done today, always being away of what's urgent vs. what's important; and Dayrunner was, basically, keep all your info together and write everything down.

I'm sure I'm doing injustice to all of them.

I haven't been good at sticking to any of these systems. They all have merit. But in the end, they come down to systems to Build a Better Superego, a more effective parent persona to waggle a finger at us, a bigger stick with which to beat ourselves.

Ultimately, though, what we do easiest and almost compulsively is the work that requires no to-do list: the work we love. For this, no superego is required.

Yet we have to allow ourselves to embrace this love. We have to give ourselves time and place to focus, where we can allow that work of love to happen — where we feel free to lose ourselves in that work, not because it's on a list but because it's what we want to do, need to do.

We need a box of time within which we are free to focus on that which we love doing.

John Cleese has some very interesting thoughts on this.



BTW, Kate was going to write our F post today, but instead she's working on her Yamabuki saga. That's what we like!


[Photo: Lâm HUA (Creative Commons)]