I can’t remember how I came across the book, Getting Things Done, by David Allen, but I remember that it was one of the first iPad books that I ever bought – around September of 2010. I was in a particularly good place at that time. My husband, Brian, and I were enjoying our first year of marriage and he had been in remission from cancer for about a year and a half. We were both doing well career-wise. He owns Churchill Studios, a television and video production company and, at the time, I was the Director of Education Systems for a real estate investment trust that owns and manages apartment communities throughout the country.
Brian and I met through work – he does all of the video work for my company. In fact, he’s been with my company a lot longer than I have. So, we tend to spend a lot of our personal time talking about work. We learn a lot from each other and are both blessed to be able to work that we enjoy. So, one Sunday over brunch, I started telling him about this book that I was reading and how I was trying to get more organized and efficient. He was intrigued by the idea and, after finishing our brunch, we headed straight over to Churchill Studios and started setting up our tools.
Fast forward about a year . . . late summer 2011, I was having sangria at Swanky’s Taco Shop with some friends and they started talking about how crazy their year had been and how 2012 couldn’t get here soon enough. Meanwhile, I was feeling pretty good about myself – efficient, organized and on top of my game. I remember saying something along the lines of “Well, I can’t complain . . . it’s been a pretty good year for me . . . ” And you can only imagine what happened next. The you-know-what hit the fan. A bum-load of it.
Over the next year, it seemed that everything that COULD go crazy DID. Brian was diagnosed with a cancer recurrence that turned our lives inside-out. My son, who had been previously diagnosed with ADD, was suffering from challenges which we now understand to be Pervasive Developmental Disorder (similar to Asperger’s Syndrome, a milder, high-functioning form of Austism). My father had to have heart surgery very suddenly and Brian’s parents were no longer able to care for themselves – one with severe mobility issues and the other with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Then relationships with certain people began to suffer. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, we had to part ways with Brian’s office manager of 15 years, a person we considered, not only our good friend, but a part of our family. Not that it was all negative – during that time, my company went through a major executive team restructuring that paved the way for exciting new career opportunities for me. I was promoted to Training and Development Director for my company, but it was a fairly sudden transition – and my team and I had to pull off my company’s annual leadership conference with barely 10 weeks to get everything together . . . Yikes!
GTD began to take on a whole new reality for me. In addition to an ever-expanding list of work-related projects, my lists began to include things like “Call EAP for counselor recommendations” and “Create a network of support for Gavin”.
I can’t help to believe that I was meant to discover the GTD methodology when I did so that I would be equipped (as much as possible) to deal with the challenges that I would soon face.
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