[Not] Getting Things Done

This past weekend was a typical weekend by any measure. The weather was hovering around 70º as a high, with lows in the 40s. Barely a cloud in the sky. Just an absolutely perfect weekend. What a perfect time to get things done.

Friday evening, I opened up 2Do to look at what I needed to get done over the weekend. I checked some things off, I added new tasks. It was shaping up to be a normal weekend.

When Saturday morning hit, my youngest son, 3 1/2, got up when the sun, and he didn’t want to waste any time. We ate breakfast, I had my coffee, and we were ready for the day. My oldest son also got up and seemed surprisingly awake for a Saturday.[^1] And just as I was about to look at my phone and take a look again at the list, I noticed a few other things I wanted to do.

This is where I deviated from my normal routine. Instead of pulling out my phone, adding the items to the list, and then planning out my day based on a focused list, I just kept my phone in my pocket, got us ready, and we went outside.[^2]

I didn’t focus on my tasks; I just saw things and did them. I cleaned out the front flower bed, which had a ton of leaves in it left over from the fall. My oldest mowed the grass to pick up all the leaves, with the help of my youngest using his trusty bubble mower. We washed both of the cars, and the youngest got completely soaked. They boys played with each other. We were having fun.

We worked. We played. We enjoyed the present. I didn’t focus on getting things done. I spent a lot of time not Getting Things Done, but rather just did things as I wanted to do them. I didn’t need my task list at that moment to help me. And where I’m sure I could have done a lot with my time had I followed the list, not following it was freeing and empowering.

I can often struggle with putting everything into my task manager, losing sight of just doing something and moving forward. Other times, I’m diligent and can manage tasks like it’s nobody’s business. I enjoy playing with task management systems in general[3], but I forget too often to just let go and be present in the moment, and do whatever comes naturally.

Using something to help you constantly can end up being a detriment; you can lose sight of the task(s) at hand, focusing on the creation of work and not the completion of it. Using your system consistently can yield great results and increase your productivity, but it’s good to take a break once and a while to find fulfillment in other ways.

Did I screw up my Sunday because it was filled with all of the things I had put off the day before causing a lot of stress and frustration? Yup. Did I use my weekend to its fullest productive potential? Hell no. But did I ever have fun and feel accomplished with my kids. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

  1. Teenagers can sleep for seemingly forever if they want to  ↩

  2. Outside is that scary place where the big ball of fire in the sky lurks to kill us all…  ↩

  3. clearly, I have issues…  ↩