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David Allen is NOT Helping my Insomnia

February 2, 2010 5 comments
Note to self: when it’s 3:45 am and work anxiety wakes (and keeps) you up, do not think reading David Allen will lull you back to sleep. For those of you unfamiliar, David Allen is the Getting Things Done guru (or “GTD,” as we personal management geeks call it). I read David Allen the way non-cooks watch the Food Network: it’s a spectactor sport. Because you see, while I can get things done in my life, I don’t Get Things Done. Which means I don’t get my inbox to zero each week, I lurch through the work day with a brain so full of “uncaptured” tasks and to-dos my head threatens to explode, I am chronically unable to “process” a certain pile of magazine clippings in my inbox that outlived their timeliness and usefulness somewhere around 2006…nevertheless, I am addicted to the literature of personal management and in particular the cult of GTD.

 

Back to my insomnia. I’m reading David Allen’s latest Making it All Work and come across this chart mapping what he calls a “matrix of self-management.” There it is up above. Poses a simple model based on axes of perspective and control. Too much of either = bad. A balance of both = good.

 

My mind whirls to life and so much for sleep. I start cataloging colleagues along these axes. Illuminating! Genius! So easy to peg management outages when you’re looking at someone else!

 

I aspire to be a “Captain and Commander,” of course I do. Wouldn’t you? I think I’m usually pretty good at the Visionary stuff but oh lord…do I slip into Crazy-Maker territory more than I’m willing to admit? What about Crazy-Makers I might encounter on the job? How to manage those relationships? And the Micro-Managers, can they be helped? What can a mentor do to pull them up out of the weeds and get them to focus on the bigger picture? And more importantly, will I ever fall back asleep??

 

Gah. Food for thought. How about you? Where do you fall along these axes? Please share. My insomnia and I are all ears.

 

(Image from Making it All Work)
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