getting things done in the face of information overload

According to Getting Things Done founder David Allen, it’s not information overload {interview with david allen in the atlantic} that’s the issue, it’s the lack of ability to organize said streams of information that overwhelm us:

Information overload is not the issue. If it were, you’d walk into the library and die. As soon as you connected to the Web, you’d just explode.

In fact, the most information-rich place in the world is the most relaxing: it’s called nature. It has more varied horizons, more detail, more input of all sorts. As a matter of fact, if you want to go crazy, get rid of all your information: it’s called sensory deprivation. …

Not only that, but e-mail has a trait that fits the core of addictive behavior, which is random positive reinforcement.

{via andrew sullivan}.

A Confession and Software Review

I’ve recently decided to embrace my innate geekness. While part of me decries my dependence on gadgets and the interwebs and wishes I could make more time for reading and being outside, the other part reminds me that I like fooling around with geeky stuff like this site, moving to a new server, switching from to

I now realize the two can peacefully co-exist, and that the geek part of me can make good money which the non-geek part can use to buy books or take a vacation.

So today I want to plug a great piece of software for the Mac and iPhone/iPod touch: Things. Things is a hyped up to-do list app, based on David Allen’s Get Things Done that’s truly been helping me… get stuff done.

Let’s say I have a new idea for a t-shirt design. I’m not sure when I want to work on it or what it’ll take to get it into production. So I throw it in the “inbox,” which is a landing pad for all your thoughts/things to do. From there I can schedule it, categorize it, or put it in the “I’ll get to it someday” box. If I choose to schedule it, Things will automatically put it in my “Today” box on the day I chose.

things screenshot

It may sound complicated, but the pay off is that it forces you to pick priorities and helps you commit to them later. And analysis paralysis is half the battle for me, a dilemma that can make me completely overwhelmed and unable to accomplish anything.