If you’re a regular reader of this site you know I post a lot about process—the mechanics of getting things done. One recurring theme is the elimination of distractions and focus techniques. My latest adventure in productivity is flipping over the digital table ((╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻) and going back to a true basic: pen & paper. I’ve used a keyboard for so long I forgot about using a pen to write anything longer than a list or short notes.
Screens are designed to hold attention. More accurately, I’d have to say what’s shown on screens is engineered to hold attention. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a TV or phone. The irony is that these same screens don’t hold our attention in the same way when work needs to happen. Working from home adds another layer of distraction to the mix. But overall, I’ve managed to control physical interruptions much better than screen/internet based ones.
Regardless of the system, I’m a big fan of getting things done. That’s in the lower case context of completing things. I’m still waiting on my library to get me David Allen’s book, but I’ve read enough to be familiar with the system. I’m more interested the parts of the book that don’t get covered much in blog posts. Especially how he approaches the daily/weekly review process. But as for the actual GTD todo list—with next actions, etc.
The thing that makes email worthwhile is also the reason it’s a royal pain to deal with: it’s universal. If you’re on the Internet, you have some sort of email. It may be the account that comes with your home internet subscription. Or one of a hundred other sources, work, phone, online free mail, or a provider attached to an owned domain name. My point is that everyone has at least one email account.