For the last two years I almost hadn’t used my Facebook account, but until a couple of weeks ago I kept it out of nothing else but inertia. I thought that even if I didn’t use it, it couldn’t hurt me keeping it active in case one day I wanted to contact someone that I couldn’t reach otherwise.
But it wasn’t too difficult to see the trap in that reasoning. First, the chance for not being able to reach someone by a route different from Facebook, given how increadibly easy it is to find anyone today on the Internet, is negligible.
Second, and more important: if it’s true that Facebook is the only way to communicate online with someone in particualr, and if it’s true that for a couple of years we haven’t even made a mutual effort to exchange email addresses… then our connection is simply not genuine enough and our “friendship” on Facebook is just an illusion that’s not worth maintaining any longer.
Because at the end of the day that’s what Facebook is all about: trivializing the use of the Internet and the connections that can be established through it, to the point of becoming a virtual game where we compete to see who’s able to accumulate more “friends” with whom we have nothing in common from which we can create a minimally constructive and enriching conversation. Fostering a numbing culture of adherence, conducive to inescrupolous commercial exploitation and political manipulation galore. Promoting that soporific state that leads us to do things by inertia, just like television turns so many viewers into zapping-addict zombies, susceptible of purchasing anything advertised to them regardless of whether the stuff truly anhances their quality of life.
Keeping my Facebook account, even if I didn’t use it, would have been as contributing my grain of sand for the success of a media business model that collides head-on with many of my most deeply rooted convictions. If nothing else, the number of registered users is still an important metric for reaching hyperinflated valuations in the capital markets.
And besides all that, whatever time I did spend on Facebook was becoming increasingly toxic. The vast majority of my contacts posted most of the time about issues that for me were nothing else but noise. To make matters worse, I know many of them in person, and given the growing paranoia about what it means for someone to “stop being your friend” on Facebook I found it quite uncomfortable to dissociate from anyone in particular, lest they would take it as an insult.
So for now I just keep my account on Twitter. I find it to be much simpler, with a platform that is less amenable to rampant marketing manipulation, and where I can more freely decide who I follow, regardless of whether someone follows me or not. I also keep an account on LinkedIn by way of CV and list of professional contacts that I want to keep in touch with for any reason.
So there it is: one more small step towards a life with less informational noise, less superfluous relationships and less passive contribution to organizations opposed to my beliefs.
Since then, Time, the song of the album that Juan commented in his post, pops up in my head from time to time. And because it doesn’t go away until I listen to it at least a couple of times, I was forced to collect as many version of it as I could find out there.
And the truth is that despite much searching arround, I realized that nothing, NOTHING, surpasses the original:
But a couple of days ago I realzied that the persistence of the song had to be due to something like a subconscious association of several of my recent readings, as they all have in common the concept of time as central theme.
Or to honor the urban legend, arguably the song played a doubly ironic game on me by using the concept of time, which is the dimension where the phenomenon of synchronicity is supposed to happen, to make me stumble synchronistically on a number of issues
In any case, here are the topics I’ve been thinking of and the readings they come from:
“The Temporary Autonomous Zone” by Hakim Bey
Bizarre but fascinating book, part of the Indiano itinerary. Bey‘s central argument is that given the formidable hegemony of the nation state and the network of social control structures that derive from it, freedom is attainable only through ontological anarchism: freeing our minds of the predominant social control mechanisms is not only necessary, but sufficient to be genuinely free.
But the state of liberation can only be fully experienced transiently: any attempt to make the experience permanent will necessarily steal spontaneity from it, structuring and stifling the creative impulse. Hence Bey proposes the temporary autonomous zone, a social relation space inspired by the revolt and the identity party, as the ultimate environment to fully experience freedom.
Bey’s ontological anarchism and temporary autonomous zone at times reminded me of the powerful notion of La Boétie’s voluntary servitude; they also evoke a lucid, poetic intuition about our ability to forge spaces of freedom in the shadow of an oppressive social system by simply ignoring it, preventing it from stealing our ability to live our lives the way we want to despite its overwhelming, yet decadent power. The two concepts reverberate with the libertarian legacy of the sixties and its creative splendour (Time starts banging on my head again), but also with all its new age nebulousness, revived in the late 80′s alongside the electronic rave culture.
It doesn’t take much analysis to realize that the latter two have contributed more to reinforcing the evasive impulses that are part of the inventory of pathologies characteristic of decomposing societies, than to genuinely inspiring libertarian movements capable of becoming engines for meaning and social cohesion.
“Present Shock” by Douglas Rushkoff
I didn’t read the book, only this summary in PDF format. Rushkoff paraphrases the phenomenon that Alvin Toffler predicted in the early 70s in his book “Future Shock”: the rate of technological change becomes so rapid and radical that it exceeds our capacity to cope, driving us to a paralyzing point of psychhic and moral overwhelm.
According to Rushkoff, rather than a world changing too fast, technology has imposed a way of being and perceiving the world where everything seems to be going on simultaneously; a sort of “presentism,” of immediacy-addiction exacerbated by a relentless barrage of pings, text messages, Twitter feeds and Google alerts.
The truth is that from what I’ve read from Rushkoff, this is what I liked the least so far. On one hand, it seems that Rushkoff admits that the problem is not the ubiquity of technology itself, but the misuse that it is subjected to in the typically authoritarian context of large, centralized organizations that still predominate in a form of capitalism that hasn’t fully come out of the industrial age:
The thing that gets me anxious is not the email piling up in the inbox – it’s the expectations of the people on the other end of those emails. It’s the expectation that I’m supposed to respond in seconds or minutes. It’s the boss who thinks a computer is a good enough reason to watch every one of his worker’s keystrokes.
But then Rushkoff seems to contradict himself, concluding that as technological change intensifies and the economy transitions towards a P2P mode of production, in which there’s no room for large hierarchical organizations, the trend towards exacerbated presentism is also intensified, as if it were an inevitable consequence of the nature of technological progress.
Rushkoff also seemd to underestimate the ability of people to self-regulate their use of technology. Even if it were true that the ubiquity of teconology itself would contribute to disturb our psyche in the context of an economy in which distributed networks predominated as an organizational form, it seems reasonable to expect that this type of society, precisely because of its distributed communications structure, would generate useful ideas to address the problem and facilitate access to them as it would have never been possible in the context of the communications structure of industrial capitalism.
For example, the theme of existential minimalism, which has flourished in recent years thanks to the first truly distributed media that is the blogosphere, is largely about learning to minimize the potential negative impact that information technology can have on our ability to concentrate, our attention spans, intellectual capacity, stress levels, and other aspects of our psyche.
It would be also interesting to see whether the pathologies Rushkoff talks about in his essay are much more prevalent in centralized communication networks like Facebook or Twitter than in distributed networks like the blogosphere. At the end of the day, the culture of adherance seems to feed and be fed by this propensity to submit passively to invasive informational pushing and shoving, which exploits the behavioral patterns that evolved throughout centuries of hegemony of centralized (or at most, decentralized) communications systems. Rushkoff himself seems to hint at something along these lines when explaining the reasons that led him to close his Facebook account.
“Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit” by David Graber
In this essay, Graeber also references Toffler’s Future Shock, but directly contradicts Rushkoff’s opinion that we are supposedly “immersed in the shock,” arguing that we never actually reached the state of technological development that Toffler predicted. He thinks the book was so well received because it resonated with the theme that concerned political and business elites the most during the late 50s: how to institutionally regulate technological change so that it had as little impact as possible on the power structure that protects the social values and oligopolistic rents of corporate, industrial capitalism.
Unlike the kind of capitalism that prevailed in England during the industrial revolution and until a century later, characterized by a combination of high finance and small family businesses, corporate capitalism was created by the United States and Germany, the two powers who spent the first half of the twentieth century fighting two wars to snatch England’s role of dominant world power, wars that culminated in governmental scientific programs with the primary objective to see who was first to discover how to produce the atomic bomb.
Since then, most technological research and development is carried out by large bureaucratic organizations, with the aggravating circumstance that with the end of the Cold War’s space race, the only research area that represented serious competition to weapons technology in the allocation of governmental funds, was shut down — today the Pentagon carries out 95% of robotics research in the United States. On the other hand, most corporate investment in research and development is carried out in medical and information technologies.
This, coupled with schemes such as “intellectual property” that enclose the knowledge commons, and the systematic statist attack on social movements that propose alternative schemes to generate cohesion and solidarity which could cushion the traumatic period of technological transition, greatly hinder the materializtion of revolutionary innovations such as the total robotization of industrial production, household chores, and other forms of dehumanizing routine work that would bring radical, genuine increases in our quality of life. Graeber reminds us that many of these ideas were present in what Abbie Hoffman imagined as a utopia back when Time was enshrined as one of the super hits of all time.
But Graeber believes that the worst of all obstacles is the pernicious effect that the bureaucratization of society characteristic of neoliberal capitalism has had on our ability to imagine alternative economic systems consistent with a complex technological society. And to accomplish this, it’s also necessary to eliminate our ability to imagine a radically different technological future.
That’s why the dominant ideology promotes the illusion that technological progress continues, that we live in a world of technological wonders, but these wonders take the form of modest improvements (“the latest iPhone!”), rumors of inventions about to happen (“I hear we’re going to have flying cars pretty soon”), complex ways to juggle information and imagery, new drugs like Prozac to calm the symptoms of alienating work, and still more complex platforms for filling out forms with computers.
Graeber calls this the end of “poetic technologies”: the use of rational and technical means to make our wildest fantasies come alive. Paradoxically, despite the catastrophic consequences of so many of their social engineering projects, the Soviet bureaucracy marked the climax of these technologies: from the dream of world revolution to attempts to end world hunger by cultivating the ocean with spirulina, or launching hundreds of gigantic solar-power platforms into orbit and beaming the electricity back to earth.
By contrast, neoliberal bureaucratic culture, with its growing interpenetration between the state, corporations and universities, has led everyone to adopt the language, organizational forms and sensibilities originated in the corporate world. And although this gives it an edge over the Soviet bureaucratic culture for creating marketable products, the consequences in terms of incentives for truly original research are catastrophic.
No wonder then that Graeber sees the light at the end of the tunnel in the innovation model characteristic of the free software movement, 3D printing, and other forms of small-scale entrepreneurship with truly bold visions: islands of poetic techonology within an ocean of choking corporate prose.
“The Futures to Come” by David de Ugarte
The book’s central message is that the ability to imagine a liberating future for humanity as a whole that Graeber cherishes and that was so progressive at the dawn of the industrial age, has no place as a mobilizing force in a world increasingly organized under the logic of distributed networks. Such a notion of the future is part of the universalist ideology that emerged with the birth of the nation state, and provides it with an ideological framework in a similar way that bureaucracy, as Graeber so aptly points out, gives it organizational structure.
Those who were able to take advantage of the decreasing optimal scales of production, the opening of markets and the exponential growth of the Internet from the 90s onwards, formed a new petty bourgeoisie who identify themselves and interact more closely with their peers scattered around the world than with their nations of origin, to the point where universalist logic no longer has a hold on their minds and souls.
But most of the middle class was left at the mercy of a process of decomposition: the state, on the one hand, increasingly captured by corporate elites and interest groups who refuse to risk their privileges, prevents the deployment of globalization to a level that allows the bulk of the population access to capabilities for competing internationally, but due to the drainage caused by the capture, the state also loses its ability to keep the extent of patronage networks that hitherto kept minimum levels of social cohesion.
Like the new petty bourgeoisie, those left behind by globalization can no longer believe in the discourse that sustains democracy: the harsh reality of crony capitalism is too evident for them to rationalize. But unable to get rid of the universalist ethos, are fodder for new political and social movements that try to revive it constructing discourses that manipulate the basic feeling on which ideologies that conceive the world from large aggregates are necessarily based: fear. In these discourses the idea of a universal future, of a new tomorrow either luminous or catastrophic for everyone, is of fundamental importance:
That which generates the Tea Party in the U.S., generates Chavismo in Venezuela and Hamas in Palestine. What in Somalia opens the road for a local al Qaeda, Al Shebah, in Michoacan leads to the family; what produces the Putin phenomenon in Russia, manifests itself in the U.S. and the EU as laws that tend towards the control society.
In this context, it’s not surprising that a parallel and equally regressive phenomenon has been triggered on the Internet, with the rise of books of faces that exploit the inability of the masses to build empowering conversations and interact with independence from the increasingly strident political agendas that drag them towards a culture of adherence.
In his essay, Graeber sees the postmodern sensibility–the feeling that we are entering an unprecedented historical period in which we understood that there is nothing new; that grand historical narratives of progress and liberation were meaningless–as a desperate attempt to take what would otherwise have been a bitter disappointment and dress it up as something epochal, exciting, and new. David interprets it as our consciousness of the end of the Enlightenment project, as its last, tragic moment of clarity.
That’s why David agrees with Graeber that the innovation model of the free software movement and the entrepreneurship that blooms with the reduction of optimal scales of production that already makes a large part of the global petty bourgeoisie is supremely hopeful, but stresses that the nostalgia for a universalist notion of the future is radically inconsistent with the ethos that serves as its motor.
The only notion of future compatible with those who have ceased to believe in the ghosts of universalism is of a communal anture: a particular future constructed with the few really important people with which we build our daily lives. A notion of the future based on real communities.
If the distributed networks of the 21st century are to rescue the technological poetry that Graeber longs for, it’s precisely because they thrive on organizational cultures based on lyrical narratives that seek conversation, not adherence; exactly the opposite of the sacrificial and quasi-messianic epics that conform the universalist myths of the left since the seventies.
Or as expressed by that character who went around shaking the world with ideas as irreverent as the black leather jackets he wore during those days in which Time reverberated with all its psychedelic echoes (the emphasis is mine):
Talk of a “whole of society” outside the only form we know, is to dream from the elements of the eve. It is too easily believed that to ask experiences, strategies, actions and projects to take into account the ‘whole of society’ is to ask the minimum. The minimum required to exist. I think on the contrary that it is to ask them the most, that it imposes an impossible condition on them, since “the whole society” works precisely in a way and with the purpose that they can not take place, succeed, or perpetuate. “The whole of society” is something that should not be taken into account unless the intention is to destroy it. Afterwards, it is necessary to trust that there will be nothing that resembles the whole of society.
Paradoxically, focusing our energies on creating a future for our real communities in the context of increasingly interconnected and freed markets, gives us a much more rational basis to believe that this communitary model will eventually spread throughout the world like a virus of abundance, through an “invisible hand effect” of sorts in which self-interest ceases to be as narrow as that of the traditional homo economicus, but is only widened to the point which can sensibly be expected, given the limits of our cognitive and emotional nature to create bonds of genuine fraternity:
We are taught in school that these sizes do not count in the grand narrative, that they do not change things. But this is not true. That great theogony of our time that is the history we are taught in high school forgot to tell us that the monasteries that occupied the pages about the Middle Ages rarely reached one hundred members, that the famous guilds usually were composed of a dozen artisans. Like them, real communities today who are able to think, act and grow without alienating abstract social objects have a strong impact on their environment. They need, of course, two tools that are revolutionary in a context of decomposition: a resilient communitary economy and free, market-mediated interconnection.
I have noticed a tendency among some practitioners of minimalism to believe that degrowth is its logical collective consequence.
But the truth is that the reasoning that explains degrowth as a result of minimalism is very weak:
Minimalism embraces the power of productivity, and of technology and creativity, to generate abundance. Degrowth denies it. It’s difficult to imagine a more elegant way of translating the concept of productivity (the ratio of the total quantity produced to the means used for obtaining it) to the architectural realm than Mies van der Rohe’s “less is more”: a creative process that maximizes aesthetic impact through the minimization of ornamental elements. Existential minimalism is the philosophical generalization of this concept: a creative process for discovering what’s truly important, and discarding the unnecessary, for a fully meaningful life. Degrowth, by adopting a vision of such little faith in the power of productivity to generate resource-saving economic growth, is incoherent with the minimalist celebration of productivity. In fact, degrowth seems to propose going back to a primitivism that denies technology, the primordial engine of productivity, as a fundamental area for creative expression.
Degrowth proposes poverty as a virtue to fight consumerism. Minimalists see consumism as a symptom of a life without meaning, so they propose to radically focus our attention, time and energy on those few people and projects with whom we can build a fully maningful life. If we manage to discard everything that doesn’t contribute to a life aligned with meaning, we won’t need a terribly high standard of living to achieve self-actualization; but that standard of living is surely still much higher than what billions of people can afford nowadays. In contrast with the scary population-reduction proposals that degrowth theories tend to converge towards, minimalism is perfectly coherent with an abundance-generating mode of production that tends to raise everyone’s standard of living towards that minimum necessary for self-actualization. And there’s also nothing in existential minimalism that implies a ceiling for whatever amount of wealth anyone wishes to accumulate beyond that indispensable minimum — as long as that amount is compatible with a maningful life for whomever decides to accumulate it.
Himanen reminds us that a hacker isn’t necessarily an open-source software programmer; the term is applicable to anyone who sees work as a passionate activity that allows her to generate value for the community through the creative use of her talents.
By emphasizing creativity as the source of meaning for the hacker’s activity, the book rescues the concept of innovation as a force of revolutionary change; a cocept that has been sadly devalued through endlessly repetitive advertising campaigns and legions of books written by management gurus during the last three decades.
Actually, the centrality of free access to information as a value of hacker ethics and its concomitant promotion of the fight against the patent regime, imply a discourse that questions one of the ideological bastions that protects the power structure of industrial capitalism. And given the role that business schools have played in the legitimation of the technocratic ideal since the beginning of the 20th century, and of the professional class to which most of the cronies who enjoy the rents generated by the system belong to, it’s not surprising that “intellectual property” is such an axiomatic assumtpion for a version of innovation diluted of its power to corrode the iron-clad structure of artificial scarcity.
The Schumpeterian version of creative destruction is consistent with what Himanen identifies as the ideological basis that sustains industrial capitalism: the “protestant work ethic”, as denominated by Max Weber in his seminal essay The Protestant Work Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1904-1905): the notion of work as a duty that must be complied with regardless of what it consists of, whether it makes use of the personal, creative talents of the individual, or is aligned with her most cherished social values.
The most fundamental message I absorbed from Himanen’s book was that in order to confront the inevitable turbulence of the transition resilliently, and actually, as a condition for being able to flourish in the upcoming network-based capitalism, it is inevitable to suffer a process of individual self-transformation that liberates us from the protestant work ethic.
In this sense, the great majority of traditional management literature is useless. Himanen does a great job deconstructing the ideas proposed by the self-help movement led by authors like Anthony Robbins and Stephen Covey, showing that they are not more than a rather vulgar re-adaptiation of the protestant work ethic, agiornated with “self-programming” computational metaphors that are more useful for surviving in ladder-climbing careers within the increasingly irrelevant corporate hierarchies than to flourish in the networked society; not to mention other mega-hits such as “¿Who Moved my Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, which recommends in quite blatant terms that the best way of navigating the storm of changes necessary to overcome the current social decomposition is to avoid thinking about its fundamental causes.
Regarding the even more crucial problem of how to build new relations with others and new ways of interacting with our environment during the transition, popular management literature is, in general, even less useful. Once the prevalent social incentive structure and its inevitable tendency towards decomposition is understood, it’s impossible to avoid seeing the oxymoronic nature of concepts like “corporate social resposibility”, and the conclusion that it can’t contribute anything valuable to the discussion of how to build new forces of social cohesion, new resillient communities that not only cushion the impact of the crisis, but that are strengthened by it.
In order to exorcise ourselves (no pun intended!) from the protestant work ethic, and progress towards embracing hacker ethics, the very first step is to stop rationalizing the profound disconnection that we might be feeling towards our work, and accept it for what it is: the inevitable consequence of a deeply disfunctional, decomposing social system.
It’s a hard process because once we accept our insatisfaction and learn to discover all the aspirations that we have left behind, and the aspects of our personality we have repressed in order to conform to conventional work, we tap into a deep source of psychic energy that is, again, essentially destructive, because it gives us the strength to tear down our attachment to a flawed paradigm; but if we don’t manage to transmute the destructivity of that energy into creativity and growth, it can overwhelm us, and drawn us in a sea of confusion and crisis.
Once we acknowledge the necessity of change, it’s imperative that we focus on reinventing the way we relate to others and how we interact with our environment. For this, there are few better things than starting a blog and getting ourselves to write; because through writing we not only learn to find ourselves, but also to tell better stories about ourselves. And telling stories about ourselves through a blog is the most fundamental and pure way to start establishing genuine connections and building the communities in which we can learn to fully embrace technological change together. True weapons of creative destruction that we must learn to use at once.
The daily checklist is perhaps the most basic tool for minimalist productivity. I have been using it in some form for the last couple of years with varying degrees of results.
But for 2013 I want to take a more systematic approach to it, built around the following principles:
1) Building a list strictly limited to a maximum of 5-7 tasks conducive to building a positive habit, and most importantly,
2) the tasks I choose to include in the list are not only conducive to significant, positive change in the most important areas of my life but also,
3) there is a synergy among them so that doing one task somehow creates momentum that facilitates doing any other of the tasks in the list.
In other words, as simple as it is, building a good daily checklist is an art that requires a bit of careful musing in order to get it right.
So here’s how my own daily check list currently looks like, and the reasons why a chose each one of its habit-building tasks:
1. Stick to a gluten-free diet. I have already been gluten-free a couple of times during the last couple of years, and I have permanently and considerably reduced my gluten intake over that period; but the truth is I have always failed to stick to a totally gluten-free diet, even though it is perhaps the dietary habit that has had the most dramatic and positive impact on the way I feel. So that’s it: 2013 is the year when gluten will be forever off my diet, period.
2. Run or swim every day for at least 20 minutes, but not more than 45 minutes. Despite being a fairly active person, I have for the last couple of years focused on strength training and limited my aerobic activity to a few minutes per week of interval training at the gym. And although this has been good enough for my overall health and fitness, some time towards the end of last year I started going out running at an ecological reserve nearby home and realized how different the impact was on my mental state. I had almost forgotten how refreshing and energizing it is to sweat it all out outdoors, breathing fresh air and taking in the sun. The impact on my mental clarity was incomparable to anything I could obtain from the gym, from my capacity to concentrate to the boost in my overall mood, to a subtle zen-like feeling that accompanies me for the rest of the day.
This last aspect is crucial. Running, swimming or any other exercise that involves repetitive individual effort, specially when performed outdoors, in as close contact with nature as possible, is very similar to a moving-meditation exercise. And meditation is, of course, not only the mother of all habit-forming habits, but also the fundamental source of peace of mind, spiritual enlightenment, and all that other stuff that sounds much more esoteric than it really is. (I will eventually go back to a formal meditation practice later on this year, starting slowly at about 10 minutes a day. But not until all the habits in this list are fairly ingrained in my daily rutine.)
3. One heavy-weight workout per week. I will be following Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency and at least 3 minutes of rest between exercises, as recommended by Tim Ferriss. I will not be paying attention to concrete results in muscle-gain or fat-loss, at least for the first couple of months; this would require cleaning up my diet beyond eliminating gluten, which I don’t want to do just yet; my priority for the moment is simply to re-introduce and ingrain the strength training habit in my weekly routine.
4. Free-write 750 words every single day. This is the simplest way I can come up with of introducing a minimum of what Rosanne Bane calls “process” in her book Around the Writer’s Block: a daily habit of creative play that gets our creative juices flowing and lessens our resistance to get our writing done. I will aim for 750 words every day, but will be flexible enough to substitute it at times with other forms of creative play such as listening to music (listening fully and getting lost in it) for thirty minutes, taking pictures, or daydreaming.
5. 15 minutes of structured writing every day. Another tip by Rosanne Bane’s book: set a humble goal of structured writing for 15 minutes, and sooner rather than later you will be writing effortlessly for much longer than that. Writing seems to be one of those things for which getting started is more than half the battle. I have been using this technique for about 8 weeks now and it seems to be working, so I will stick to it and see what happens.
6. Keep my dinners light. “Light” here means simply to keep portions small more than anything else. I already eat well-ballanced, nutrient-dense meals by default, so no point in introducing much change in those departments yet.
The synergy among these tasks is straightforward. Among the numerous well-established health benefits that a gluten-free diet has, is a much better digestion, which immediately translates into a much clearer mind for work in general, and particularly for intellectual, information-processing work (such as writing). A gluten-free diet also enhances nutrient absorption, which contributes towards higher energy levels for work and exercise.
Having a light dinner allows for much better sleep, which besides being healthy per se, has an impact on writing and overall work productivity, and again, on physical energy levels, which boost strength and endurance during outdoors exercise and gym workouts. Outdoors running or swimming, because of its quasi-meditative nature, has a big impact on our capacity for mindfulness, which enhances mental and physical performance. Finally, writing also reinforces our capacity for mindfulness.
The power of the bare minimum
The daily checklist is meant to contain the bare minimum of daily tasks necesary to make consistent progress in the most important areas of our lives through the gradual introduction of positive habits in our behavior. It’s not the end of the world if one cannot perform all of them in a single day, specially a particularly busy one; in my view it is much more important that at least one of these tasks gets done every day, specially during horrendously unproductive ones in all other respects. We all have some of those days. But knowing that we have made a minimum of significant progress in specially meaningful areas of our lives, allows us to trust ourselves that we will eventually get the truly important stuff done.
Note: Besides the daily checklist, I still use a personally adapted version of GTD to manage the progress of all the other business and personal projects I might be involved with at any point in time. It has evolved considerably since I last wrote about it, so a follow-up post is coming soon.