Bear with me, it is slow going.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
This American Life's 'The Center for Lessons Learned', which is about
the Army's attempts to understand post-conflict reconstruction.
I should be getting ready for breakfast but I can't.
I burst into tears when an Army guy said that the U.S. was surprised
when they saw how much work it actually took to reconstruct Kuwait
after the Gulf War.
These attempts, fumbling attempts really, that endanger everyone's
lives (mine, yours, some young soldier based a few hundred miles away
from where I'm sitting) are coming into play here.
The U.S. thought the victories in Afg and Iraq would be the end, but
it's not. It's the beginning. But why are things getting worse?
The end is often so clean and neat in novels but very rarely in real
life. Things seem to go on and on, interminably, one loose end
leading to another loose end.
I am hopeful sometimes but more often, I am struck by the lack of
hope. Of the lack of possibility to actually do something
meaningful. The unnecessary ego-filled roadblocks that thwart every
good impulse anyone has.
I don't want to be here anymore.
But I am, and things go on for me and for everyone else. People are
living their lives, amidst the stories of thieves and kidnappings of
business-owners, the random suicide blasts and the chaos that makes
more and more locals speak longingly of the suffocating order of the
* For more sunday scribblings:
tasteless joke, I know)...I'm talking about GTD.
I'm a GTD nerd. I want to write, "I'm fast becoming a GTD nerd..."
But I think my transformation is already complete with the
introduction of OmniFocus (still testing beta version) into my life.
I was happy with my 'Amish Hipster PDA' but struggling to cope with
dealing with work, volunteer and personal lists merging into one. It
was hard to figure out what to do first when I saw all of the to-do
items in one 'email list' but also hard to separate into different
sections in my little index card system. So I was intrigued when my
long lost GTD brother mentioned the OmniFocus program to me.
I mentioned GTD in passing to a colleague and had an 'Oh MAH GAWD, I
DIDN'T THINK I'D MEET A FELLOW GTD FOLLOWER IN KABUL'. He is now my
GTD brother. We both agreed that raving about GTD makes us sound like
lunatic cult members. Efficient but cult members nonetheless.
The OmniFocus program helps organize my 'next action' lists under
project titles. The projects can also be organized under a larger
section. I now have personal, volunteer and work sections. OF has a
'focus' button which allows me to only see the 'work' section. If
you're interested in testing out the test version, google omnifocus,
get on their list serve and they'll send you an invite. It's still a
work in progress but I'm happy with it so far. It's pretty neat to be
able to trust that everything important is already on a list, so I am
free to let my brain relax and think about whatever.
On a larger scale, the GTD system is not only helping me be more
organized, but it's freeing up some mental space for me to decide
what I enjoy and what want to do in the future. Also, it's been
difficult but for a number of reasons, I have cut out some major
commitments. I feel a little guilty about it, since I'm not doing
what others had planned for me... but I think it's the right
decision. Next time, I'll try to be better about saying no.
My next step is to be better about making my 'to-do' (or next action)
lists. Work is overwhelming but interesting. Perhaps I haven't done
a proper weekly review?
Anyway, I'm sure there is about one person out there who is
interested in my GTD process...
Back to Kabul, I'm in my room and it's super windy outside. I often
have trouble distinguishing between actual drama, indian tv shows
blaring and Afghans just being loud. I had a moment where I thought
that it was a riot...but it's just Afghans being loud and something
heavy flapping in the wind. I live close to the Kebob-feroshees
(Kebob-vendors) and there are street children out at all hours. Where
are your mommas?!
I had a lunch with a (kinda) local friend today and it made me feel
normal. We took a taxi, had lunch, laughed and went back to work.
I spent the evening coloring and listening to my podcasts. I love
having electricity. It makes such a difference, even if it's just for
5 hours a night. I can take a warm shower in the morning (totally
jinxed this, no shower this morning), charge up my cell phone, travel
speakers and even my laptop if I need to. I heart electricity.
My blog is pretty ugly right now, I think I might move to another
blog - I researched it and couldn't fix the layout.
I evil-eyed the electricity, it went out. Dangit.