Distractions and Wagon Falling

Yes, it’s been a while since I last posted. Truth be told, I’ve a) been really busy, both at work and at home, b) been in a bit of a creative funk, c) fallen of the GTD wagon. There, I said it. “Hi there everyone. My name is Josh and I keep stuff in my head.”

Thinking back over the last few weeks, I can see a couple places where I’ve fallen short in my practices:

  • Processing Inbox To Zero: I’ve been doing quite a lot of what Merlin Mann calls “Emergency Scanning” lately. Usually my rule is that once I touch my inbox, everything has to be processed. Instead, I’ve been flipping through items, making sure there weren’t any brewing fires, then only processing everything every other day or so. Alas, as a wise man (probably) once said, “A nuisance today is a fire tomorrow.”
  • Reviewing Religously: I don’t think I need to espouse the necessity of reviewing what’s on your plate early and often. For the past two weeks or so, however, it’s been a pretty constant fire-fight, with the latest really being the most urgent. It’s a draining place to be in, and I hope soon that the firestorms will die down and I can get back to being a bit more proactive.
  • The Weekly Review: Already one of my week spots, and I’m afraid I’ve completely skipped over this in favor of the same emergency “quick-scan” mentality. I’ve been so focused on one or two projects that outside of those two, I haven’t really cared what else got pushed off.

So, like a golf player whose swing has gone awry, I’m returning to the fundamentals to break out of the slump. Here’s a few self-imposed rules:

  1. Every day must end with an empty, processed inbox. NO EXCEPTION
  2. Any e-mail that arrived prior to 3:00PM must either be answered, delegated, or responded to with a “I don’t know at the moment but I’ll get back to you” note and subsequent logging of action.
  3. Sunday nights from 8-9PM are set aside for weekly review. My wife has already been recruited to enforce this policy, on penalty of, well, horrible things (the mind of a pregnant woman is a dangerous thing).

Oh, and I plan on posting to Twitter and this blog over the next week to log my progress getting back in the saddle. Truth be told I do very much miss the “mind-like-water” feeling that always accompanied knowing exactly what’s on my plate at any given time.