I’m a compulsive thinker. When I work, I wonder, I follow tangents sometimes for hours. And so I’ve always had a difficult time concretely producing anything. It all would linger in ideas until I found a productivity system that reined me in. Unable to put this gift to use, I began searching for a system to help me.

After many times reading the title and refusing to open it, Getting Things Done finally grabbed my attention enough for me to read the first paragraph. Once opened, I couldn’t put it down. It was the key to all my problems.

My favorite mental model from the book is how the author advocates organizing one’s life. He stresses and focuses on what’s going on in your life right in the here and now. What’s on your mind? To order pens? To write a paper? To get some fresh air? Good, write it all down. Capture it all. Typically when sitting down to plan your life, everyone starts with these grand goals, I want to lose 20 lbs, and they work backward figuring out how to achieve them. For me, all that does is add more compulsive thinking about habits and things to do. Instead when I look at what’s on my mind right now and look at what’s on my plate, what must get done —- I gain clarity over the moment. And it’s only from that space after collecting everything my mind is thinking about that I can build upwards, towards goals and dreams.

And it’s only in that space that I can make real concrete progress on something, on anything.

This post came to mind after the previous post about building characters. It’s a similar thing for them. Get grounded. Find out what’s going on in their life. Then justify it upwards. I tend to focus on the concepts. “I want him to fear emotions.” And I try to build a scene from that. This becomes math. To break out of that, instead look at what’s going on, right now?