I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets periodically overwhelmed by the number of things I’m not doing right. I still shampoo my hair, my kids watch TV and play video games and despite my best efforts we still seem to end up with transfats and other evil plastic foods in my house. Every time I turn around, there’s something new to feel guilty about, and the packrat research monster inside of me insists that I need to dive deeply into every single topic to determine the truthfulness of the claim, which just increases my anxiety about my worth as a human being, while not actually giving me space in my head to contemplate anything of actual worth.
I have spent many an hour railing against the mean and nasty high bandwidth world, providing so much chaos and so few answers… but in a moment of clarity, I discovered that these gifts brought to me by the intertubes, clamoring for my attention, are not actually the main source of my anxiety. My anxiety comes from having too many things bouncing around in my brain like colored balls in a Busy Ball Popper. And I have found something that actually helps.
I read Getting Things Done a while back, and it kinda was ok, and seemed like a pretty good idea, but I wasn’t really sold. Then a few weeks ago I was pointed to OmniFocus, a GTD tracker for the Mac, and I discovered that if you wrap up a good set of ideas in a cute and sexy UI I will actually use it. And when I spend my time actually doing things instead of scrambling to remember which next thing I was supposed to be doing, things get done faster, and I am calmer. I sort of feel like I’m playing that game from ST:NG where they had the little brain game that gave you zaps of happiness whenever you make a goal. I check a box, it gets a line through it, and I feel a little swell of pride. It integrates pretty nicely with my iphone (courtesy of Toodledoo) and it allows you to see all your ‘errands’ or ‘phone things’ in a list separate from the project they’re associated with. Which is great when you’re trying to get all those lame phone calls out of the way at once.
I’m not sure if I’m really any closer to zen mastery, but I sure feel happier. Even though I’ve been battling the most rotten cold ever this week, I’ve gotten a lot done for home and work, and I don’t feel like the world is sitting on my shoulders, waiting to collapse. And now I can check off the item marked “Make blog post about OmniFocus.” Woo. That felt good. Maybe I should call and schedule that dentist appointment next.