clean your keyboard

chapter 13: what's more important than getting shit done? 

do you know your keyboard can have up to 25,000 germs lurking on each square inch? it's never a better time to get out a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol and drill at some hard-to-reach crevices. it could be almost as satisfying as milking chin zits.
there's that cool website about setting books free. you can track your book if someone finds it and registers it on the internet.

 sometimes it feels good to take your bills out and sort of rearrange them so the most important ones are on top, and maybe write on the back of your hand that you should take that driver's ed test to erase the point off your license. but also, think about how much time you still have before getting that shit done.
isn't it time for a snack? all this cleaning, thinking about doing laundry, and considering paying bills makes a gal hungry! how about a walk to the cafe for a pain au chocolat? mmm! talk about a pleasure trap!

get more done: make abstract goals

chapter 11: parlor trick or prudent talent? 

did you know that scientists have recently been able to observe the same particle in two locations at once? the fabric of space and time is mysterious. physicists theorize that there are an infinite number of dimensions and hence infinite possibilities. only at the moment of choice do our possibilities shrink from infinite to singular. so why choose?! 

setting concrete goals locks us into a concept of what it is to get shit done. it sets us up to see a dualistic reality: black/white, start/finish, succeed/fail, cat/dog. and we often choose to feel good or bad depending on whether we succeed or fail.
take a moment to write down several concrete goals you've been dreading, e. g. fix head gasket, load cd library onto ipod, earn PhD. in a second column, write the steps and the time it will take to get that shit done. then imagine how you would feel completing your goals versus how you would feel never completing them and write about it in a third column. 

now, formulate an abstract goal, e. g. appreciate old friend, feel love for pet, enjoy new hair style. how would you feel accomplishing these goals? now take five minutes and do them. i just got all that shit done.
imagine how much shit we could get done if we decided to do different shit!

dreaming your way to the top

chapter 8: Organize in your Sleep. 

 Sleeping and dreaming are powerful tools. The unconscious brain uses this time to re-organize thoughts, process events, and sort ideas. To harness your unconscious brainpower, save your last waking five minutes to set out your most complex problems. Review and put on paper in front of you what's most irking, frustrating, or blocking you. For example, "How can I make the rent this month?" Allow it to look really messy. Let yourself get really worked up. The more you signal your brain that this is something you want to process, the better the process will work. 

When you reach the upper limit of emotional tolerance, tell yourself three times, "Show me a way to resolve this problem." Then quickly turn out the light and fall asleep. (If you can't sleep, you probably haven't worked the process hard enough–it may take several weeks of practice.)
Immediately upon waking, pen some notes on your dreams directly next to the previous night's problems. Your dreams about tapdancing sideways with a video camera and discussing the movie Ghost with an older female friend will undoubtedly shed light on your financial woes, but the next and final step is crucial. 

Renowned dream expert Jeremy Taylor says we all have a 'blindness' to the most valuable insights of our dreams. He suggests a method of collective projective dreamwork whereby one allows a group of people to use their collective imagination to help interpret the dream's meanings. Your brain knows exactly what to tell you and exactly when, so use what you've learned during the night to solve what's been bugging you.

 I've found the best groups to help interpret dreams are not necessarily friends. Your co-workers, unbiased and disinterested, will be the most beneficial group in helping elucidate insights. Pick a time of the day when you're all together, like an early business meeting, or a company luncheon to share the tapdancing images and let the insights begin!

the REAL real value of Getting Shit Done

the REAL real value of Getting Shit Done

 i've spoken about how implementing GSD can bypass stumbling blocks, open side-doors for unexpected organization, and radically shift the way you navigate your day-to-day life.
but there's one even greater application of GSD that i've been saving for last… what's MOST exciting about GSD: a successfully integrated system will streamline the research process and fast-track your late-life or post-humus biography to the press. biographers, historians, and archaeologists can literally spend years tracking down yellowing photos, work emails, 4th grade english tests, finger paintings, diaries, love letters, back taxes, possibly sentimental nic nacs, lists of old lovers, notes on inventions, screenplay drafts, and collected business cards to gain insight into the depth and breadth of your character. 

they need to get an idea of who you were, really. an annotated catalog of all these items, as i keep in several fireproof trunks, will allow full interpretation of your life philosophy, evidence of having lived according to that philosophy, and given of yourself, and left a legacy, only partially in granite, for the People for generations, nay, centuries to come.

how many folders?

Chapter 4: Sorting
The best method processing what you've gathered is the method you know you'll use. From my 'inbox', I run a tight ship. I process my inbox every two to three years, sorting first into three categories according to size, shape, and odor:

 -Heap 1
-Heap 2
-Heap 3
I sort each Heap according to the layout of my office/breakfast nook/bedroom. Heap 3 goes near the door, and just spills out enough to keep the door from opening or closing very well. Heap 2 goes on the 'desk', which is actually a space on the floor where i keep pens, paperclips, whiteout, etc. Heap 1, where my urgent actions are filed, goes on the bed, and at night is transferred directly in front of my door so I can't leave without consciously avoiding it. 

 Once in Heaps, the processing gets really exciting! From there, I put a sticky on each thing and sort into:
To-do's then get sorted into two piles.
Every item in the freakout pile is then transferred onto a Triptych of Triumph list (see yesterday's post about how this works to make rock-solid sure it'll get done. 

Anything in the Chillax pile gets sorted again into two categories:
-people will find out i don't have my shit together
Immediate Inspirations!
David Allen quotes a great phrase, "the better you get, the better you better get." I'd like to update it a bit for 2006. I say, "the better you get, the more pressure people put on you. God, Dad, why do you think i went to a college with no grades or tests. can you not ask 'how's work?' for two weeks and can you please tell Grandma not to suggest I try being a dental hygenist?"

 Chapter 5: Future-Tripping to Future-Flipping
The magic of Getting Shit Done is that once you've begun to incorporate the system into your life wholesale, you can begin to zap your mind into the upper echelons of thought! this process will move your whole way of navigating the world from future-tripping to future-flipping! you will begin to understand empirically what it's like to enter those flashing super-mario states of invincibility. 

 Time Units
while it's helpful to measure time in conventional units, thinking about time in new ways can radically shift the way we relate to the clock. here are some examples of metaphorical future time-units. where do you see yourself in the future?
i'm not sure where rent money will come from.
but i'm still a kid myself!
that one perfect age.
more gray hairs than not.
well, i guess social security really wasn't.
diapers, again?
oh, fuck.

the right tool for the job

More on 'Getting Shit Done: The art of feeling worse about doing nothing, faster.'

Chapter 1: The Right Tool for the Job (or, 3 x 5 is 5 x 5 with me)
i use a lot of 3 x 5 cards. to throw at annoying people who seem to be getting more done than me. if you spin them at just the right angle, you can give a wicked paper cut. i also use them to leave notes on people's cars when they're taking up two spaces in a parking lot, i'm feeling pent-up and want to kick the metaphorical dog.

Chapter 2: How It Really Works
take a 3 x 5 card and write down three things i call the Triptych of Triumph:
-an impossible multi-phase action (e. g. lose two pounds this week)
-an unreasonable abstract expectation (e. g. 'i should be a better guitarist by now, but i can't get myself to practice the damn scales')
-a mundane concrete task (e. g. pick up dry-cleaning)
studies show the barrage of 21st century communication sends us continually in and out of varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder.

One minute we're on-track and unpredictably reeling the next. by jolting the mind solidly back into trauma with an impossible action and an unreasonable expectation, we actually bypass the frontal lobe and route the only clear action possible (dry-cleaning) directly to the nervous system. years of experimentation developped this system, and i've taught myself to implement it so efficiently that i pick up other people's dry-cleaning.

‘the art of feeling good about doing nothing, faster.’

Getting Shit Done: The art of feeling good about doing nothing, faster.
introduction: the myth of productivity
what is productivity? when you hear the stats on npr, 'u. s. productivity down .6 percent', what the fuck does that mean? how exactly does one measure productivity to the hundredth of a percentile? imagine your boss standing behind you with a stopwatch.

'what the fuck, fran? can you hit the start button sooner? you coulda had the fax number ready, you coulda skipped the cover page, you coulda put the coffee down for three seconds. there's a kid in india who wants your job and is willing to work for a third of what you make. i heard about these americans making bank in india as dialect coaches. anyway, so, you wanna get some dinner after work, fran? i know this place downtown, makes a great curry… i thought maybe…'

what is productivity? it's a measure of how productive we are being. what is being productive? according to the corporate definition of being productive, it's doing whatever you're being paid to do, better and faster. and the productivity rate, much like cancer or the population, is always expected to rise. but how? we're at war, so we've got to keep bringing home the benjamins. well, i guess we have the benjamins already, but we have to send them out so we can bring them back, triumphantly, kind of like our 'private benjamins' overseas.

but so anyway, we, the united states, can no longer grow food cheaper, make cars cheaper, answer dsl questions cheaper. we don't have the oil, we don't have the trees (well, not anymore), and we don't have the four year olds who can sew. we worked our asses off for a couple centuries, and now we've reached our maximum productivity level in all these areas. what is our now the main export of the united states? cultural and intellectual capital. what's this mean for america? we're at war. IT'S NOW OUR JOB to create cultural and intellectual capital. let me reiterate: it's now our job to write book after book repeating the principles of buddhism and its application in dating, judaism, addiction, rage, and soap (because sitting and meditating for an hour would annoy the fuck out of us and we'd prefer to read about it). it's OUR JOB to print postcards of barbie dolls in compromising positions, to choreograph new dance routines for celebrities on reality shows, to grow medical marijuana so certain musicians can write and record songs about smoking the blunt and certain comedians can think of funny shit to perform on stage (which they couldn't think of without drugs because standardized tests dulled their imagination and blocked their unconscious minds).

it's also our job to write blogs about what we ate after breakfast but before lunch and our job to tell the world how it made us feel. our job to write plays about precarious priests and movies about gay cowboys. our job to think up new ways to feel old and look young and write magazine articles about it. our job to re-invent holidays that sell greeting cards and guilt and enough chocolate to drown the emotions triggered by people celebrating (un)said holidays. and it's our job to produce more and more technically complicated yet intellectually and textually simple porn every day. and it's also our job to criticize our job but only inside ivory towers.
we must. but again, why?

it is OUR SOMBER BURDEN to create the intellectual property that will drive the u. s. economy in order to pay the interest on our international loans in order to honor our monetary agreements which drive the world economy so that we all have jobs so we can earn a living so we can buy gas so we can drive so we can get to work so we can pay for the doctors who scrape out our arteries and tuck our tummies so we can eat more shit but still marry someone who will buy us ipods, lipstick, bottled water, haagendasz, organic micro greens, hoodia, DVDs, hybrid SUVs, plasma TVs, big macs, guns, winter coats, OFFICE SUPPLIES, books on meditation, and if we're lucky (or unlucky) we can have kids to buy stuff for, and all of these NEEDS CREATE EVENTS in our lives, which makes us feel VERY PRODUCTIVE!

What is at the heart of Getting Shit Done?
Getting Shit Done is 'the art of feeling worse about doing nothing, faster.' It's a whole life-strategy of collecting in front of you every task, every obligation, every to-do, to-buy, to-eat, to-fix, every phone call, email, and letter you want to write, every career possibility, every brilliant scheme or invention (you could invent the next shoehorn!), every thought on activities you'd like to do with your children (or future children), and every wish and aspiration for each level of your life IN ORDER TO ACHIEVE a ZEN-LIKE PARALYSIS of the bodymind that, nurtured and indulged deeply to its conclusion, will lead to a profound acceptance of death and a wicked fucking buzz.
Let's get started!

The Viking Bride

I read a blog today. It was written in That Style. The guy referred to his children as The Boy Child and The Girl Child and his wife as The Viking Bride. Each entry described a Small Dismiss-able Event that, now inscribed in electronic ink, reified the event's contextual meaning. Each entry had a touching, bittersweet ending.

I confess I really can't identify the style or its origins. I don't know what this guy was doing, but he was doing it badly. And I think I might be doing it too. Too many adverbs? Too many Capitalized Words? Too many readings of AHWOSG? I can barely type a sentence now! What if I say something sentimental? What if I don't? "did you read dattner's blog?" "yeah. she's still so snarky-po-mo." "dag, she didn't get the earnest memo." "um, are you gonna finish that white mocha chai?"

 I did learn today. I learned that I don't need to read random blogs of questionable quality, or watch struggling comedians at open mics, or talk shows on cable access. For it impedes my ability to create my own random blog of questionable quality, which I am enjoying immensely.