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No One to Teach

I am halfway through the book Organize Tomorrow Today. It is a self-help book, one of my principle vices although one I share with my class, with eight suggestions on improving your life for more success. I am reading it with an eye to organizing my fiction writing and related activities, which includes this blog and my newsletter.

At the halfway point, after the first four principles, the book has a chapter called “Halftime” where you are to reflect on the first four principles., The reader decides on the most important insight in one of the first four principles. Once you pick the insight, you go back and read the relevant portion of that chapter. The next task is to teach a friend or colleague that point.

I was going to use this blog post to teach what I considered the most important point of the first four principles. I am always reminded of Dr. Richard Feynman’s remark about
Fermi-Dirac statistics
, “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reduce it to the freshman level. That means we don’t really understand it ”. Sure, a blog post will lack the back and forth that teaching one on one to somebody which helps clarify the topic to you. Yet, the authors mention, even emphasize, that back and forth, as a key to learning by teaching.

I don’t want to do the back and forth.

I am afraid to do it.

I am afraid to be judged on how stupid people think what I focus my time and energy on is.

Looking at that is more useful than teaching the anonymous you reading this blog post about my disenchantment with GTD and how it gets a lot of useless stuff done.

I didn’t have independent thoughts on the first principle, the eponymous organize tomorrow today. Their third suggested thought, “Don’t mistake busy for productive”, resonated with me. It also explained why GTD never clicked for me.

There, I’ve taught that to you. Yay, blog post done.

Oh, wait, I was going to talk about why I wanted to hide behind the browser instead of teach someone.

Well, foremost who would I teach? The obvious choice is one of my partners? Z would be receptive, but as someone working on a PhD, she already knows more about success and good habits than I do. C would listen, but I doubt she would engage. She isn’t success driven. If she didn’t engage, I would lose the reason to face risk embarrassment by teaching, the back and forth.

Do I have a coworker I could teach? Maybe I could corner Bill.

How about Internet friends? How much are Internet friends real?

My D&D group might be some people, but I only see them every other Friday.

So there are people. I will admit that.

The problem, in the end, is my fear of being judged. I can risk being judged on the net, but I am too afraid of people in person to engage with them. Even people who are my intimate relationships are people I am afraid to engage.

So I don’t teach. I don’t find people to play music with while I watch Mary Spender and Adam Neelycollaborate with envy. Perhaps that is why I am more invested in writing than music. I am writing this alone. I will edit it alone.

Hell, I can’t even get a reliable first reader. That is how solitary my writing is.

I can’t teach because I’m alone. I’m alone because I don’t trust people. So I write instead of figuring out how to trust.


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3 Comments

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool BobtheRegisterredFool

    What is GTD? How were you exposed to it, and what was the case made for it?

    I also have trust issues. Additionally, where the internet is concerned I am a flake, and am not good about coming back to follow up on stuff in a reasonable time. (I may be a flake more generally, and I do spend time and energy on the internet that I should be spending on fixing real life.)

    I get back to ATH and MGC as often as I do because those are part of the small number of sites I can almost afford to spend a lot of time refreshing.

    • GTD is Getting Things Done, a time management/productivity methodology that has a strong following in the geek world. It has some solid ideas, but is a fairly involved system. While Allen discusses priorities it is easy in GTD for mowing the yard, finishing your novel, and cleaning out an old cooler to throw away having similar values.

      As for being introduced, I read the first book when I was looking for a way to get my life under better control. I still use elements of it and want to introduce more back in, but 0 to GTD isn’t something that clicks with me.

      The case made for it was I needed a system and it had the buzz.

      I get back to ATH because it is one of the few places, real or virtual, where I actually think the majority of people either get me or figure I’m not a problem. MGC too, but I’m not as diligent, although as I work on developing a new career as an indie writer I’m there more. I suspect as Sarah posts less at ATH a lot of people will occupy MGC more, although Cedar, the Writer in Black, Tx Red, and a couple of others might become the new hub (I have a tiny chance, but remembering that gets me posting some days).

      • BobtheRegisterredFool BobtheRegisterredFool

        I have some huge holes in my time management and productivity. Various reasons.

        I’ve recently identified part of the mechanism behind some of the holes, and will be adjusting some of organization/tracking of my summer project to maybe learn habits and skills that will close those holes.

        Two things that helped me in the past two years? On Lynda/linked in Learning, Dave Chrenshaw’s time management fundamentals. (I’ve let my inboxes become seriously screwed up again, and need to fix once more. I suspect.) Teachings related to the Project Management Institute’s Project Management stuff. Regularly meeting with someone about my progress does wonders, and I dislike those enough that the ‘stakeholder communication’ stuff was what I need to get through that barrier.

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