For nearly a decade, I have been organising my life according (more or less loosely) to the principles laid out in a book by David Allen called Getting Things Done, principles so prolific among a certain nerdy subsection of the productivity-obsessed internet that they have come to be known casually as GTD. This year, I am re-reading the book for the first time, an updated version released in 2015 (much needed, given the first was published several years before the invention of the iPhone).
I track what books I’m reading on Goodreads, but I was reluctant to add this one. Productivity has become rather unpopular among my friends, and with good reason. Your productivity is NOT your worth! And my semi-conscious belief that while that might apply to my loved ones it does not apply to me comes from a deeply unhealthy place. I live my life by GTD because I live my life by an insatiable need for external validation.
After all, I only gave in and added the book to my Goodreads list because I wanted it to count toward my total number of books read this year.
Alas, I am at my very core the kind of person who sets herself goals every new year, and expends vast amounts of energy to maintain a system that allows her to maximise the efficiency with which she can manage multiple projects. Nature or nurture (almost definitely both), it’s who I am.
So when I played Daniel Ilett’s game I felt for this colourful figure trying to herd ambling sheep into an open enclosure with no way to shut them in, so that they would seem happy to stay inside until suddenly several of them made for the exit at once. As a freelancer, I live in constant fear of the day multiple projects fall apart at once. And I certainly recognise the frustration of having to wait until one stubborn sheep moved far enough away from the fence that I could get an angle to wrangle it.
The fact that you can’t pause the game, while possibly not a deliberate decision, makes perfect sense. Maybe, for the benefit of my friends and other productivity sceptics, the enclosure ought to be too small to hold every sheep. The perennial question of what it means to be able to win.
And here I was, worried that I wouldn’t really relate to any of these games! This Meditation is definitely one to show your particularly overstretched friend or partner, along with a knowing look.