One hot summer in Cambridge, I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done for the first time. It got under my skin and stuck, and I believed it for years: peace will be possible when your action items are in order.
My felt sense of this rigid certainty is still fresh, yet I’ve sometimes wondered if I’ve mangled the message. But no: here it is, boomeranged back to me in today’s edition of Readwise:
“In order to hang out with friends or take a long, aimless walk and truly have nothing on your mind, you’ve got to know where all your actionable items are located, what they are, and that they will wait. And you need to be able to do that in a few seconds, not days.”
It sounds so unassailable! Yet where’s the proof? Another way to have nothing on your mind is to be with the chaos and keep bringing yourself back to presence. Now I know that that can work, too. Peace isn’t permanent, but it’s within reach even when your next steps aren’t.