I am trying to be productive by sorting through all the miscellaneous crap (like expenses, taxes, bills, etc) that you manage to justify ignoring when you are super-busy. I should have taken a before picture of the coffee table in my room that was piled high with the paper detritus of a modern life unattended.
As part of the process, I finally bought a bunch of things I had been meaning to get from Amazon. And as lip-service to the notion that I’m going to improve my record of bi-polar behavior in dealing with personal matters, I threw in a copy of David Allen‘s Getting Things Done. I hope I have better luck with it than Russ has had. For those of you not in the know, David Allen is like the Malcolm Gladwell of personal organization — they have both become famous putting common sense into book form. That alone has been enough to keep me from joining the GTD cult thus far; then there’s the small matter of the GTD cult itself, which I was exposed to in its full glory at BarCampLA.
But despite my self-righteousness, I can admit that I have an issue dealing with the mundane but mandatory administrative tasks of our age. Plus, as one of David Allen’s minions astutely paraphrased, getting things done just feels better than procrastinating. The scary thing is that I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t feel like there was something else I was supposed to be doing (I always *HATED* homework, and rarely did it). And if that isn’t enough, Ian recommends this book and he is astonishingly productive. So, we’ll see how it goes.
As part of my productivity spree, I am also catching up on the charitable donations I’ve been meaning to make. The Yahoo! Employee Foundation will match any employee donations up to $1,000 per year if they are made through the GivingStation (internal link). So, I have spent a few minutes navigating through the clunky GivingStation UI adding my charities. And even though I already knew to which charities I wanted to donate, I spent some time surfing around Charity Navigator, which does financial analysis of non-profits’ public filings (check out the CEO pay numbers!).
The charities I am giving to are:
- The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Washington DC Chapter (Charity Navigator Profile) – My fraternity brother Dave is the minister and he rocks!
- The Silver Lining Ranch (Charity Navigator Profile) – These are some really cool people in Aspen, of all places, who are giving long-term care to kids with cancer. They hosted a dinner for the Yahoo! Board of Directors offsite, and the stories we heard were really awesome.
- Oxfam (Charity Navigator Profile) – This is one of the biggest and best known organizations solving the hard problems of sustainable development. Even though they spend a little bit much on recruitment and fundraising (17% of their budget), $0.76 of every dollar gets to the people that matter.
And finally, there’s a little newspaper clipping that I have been carrying around for months. It’s from a NY Times review of a book called The Big Why by Michael Winter. The review was lukewarm, but it excerpted the title passage from the book, which I vowed to blog:
How do we know if we are really being ourselves? That’s definitely one to ponder.