Friday, 13 October 2006

Not so Down in the Valley

"You should get out more." Everybody says it, though mostly in a Postmodern, ironic sort of way. I say it myself, but rarely to myself. Anatole France said, "If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing," which is worth a moment's consideration; but more to the point, he also said, "It is good to collect things, but it is better to go on walks."

I decided to test his theory today and set out for the Valley once again. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and it was a beautiful day.....

Trudging back from the Valley in the dark some four hours later, I felt I was able to consider the project in an even-handed way. Even-handed, because in my left I carried a bag of books from Borders; in my right, a bag of groceries from Sainsbury's. In my mind I carried thoughts from the walk, and as anyone will tell you, they were the most valuable of all. If they don't tell you that, you should thrash them soundly until they admit it is so.

What were the books? Books to change my life. Books to put me on the path to order, success and happiness. Nut books, in the words of my friend Doctor Pam (who swears by them) But not your run-of-the-mill everyday nut books like,Men are From Mars but Women Moved my Cheese. I sat at the table used by the man who'd committed to memory the Illustrated Karma Sutra on the previous day - though I was careful to sit in a different chair - and looked through a bundle of potentially life-changing books.

I came away with Why Am I So Disorganised? - Sort Out Your Stuff by Dr Marilyn Paul; Getting Things Done by David Allen; The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp; and another which I shan't tell you about (and no, it isn't the Illustrated Karma Sutra) I also bought a magazine glorying in the improbable title of Turps Banana.

The David Allen book is something I just had to read. I did some research on the Interweb yesterday, finding out what I could about the books I thought I might want to buy. In the course of my research, I came across David Allen. David Allen is a phenomenon. I've never heard of him before, but try Googling his best known book Getting Things Done - or better yet, the way it's become known, GTD - and you'll find around 20,300,000 hits. It's like a religion, with the GTD acolytes vying with one another to find the best software to accommodate his "43 folder" system (which he himself advocates putting into, well, folders). Who knew so many people were in need of advice on Stress-free Productivity?

Tomorrow: what I bought at Sainsbury's. No, really...... tomorrow: what I thought about on my walk. Well you'll just have to wait, won't you?

No comments: