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The ruthless efficiency of spoons

“Efficiency” is a word balancing on a razor’s edge between two sets of connotations.

For some, it can conjure up a grinding gear factory where your boss is standing over you with a whip yelling “Crank! Crank! Crank!”. Maximum output beyond what’s reasonable or healthy. An unsustainable drive for growth. Where investing means taking resources from the future to the present. Making new inroads into plundering the Earth for some more fuel.

But it can also means using what resources you have wisely and sustainably. To not waste things. Making and using tools. “Ecology” means the story of householding. Where investing means giving resources from the present to the future. Noping out. Marking WONTFIX. Making choices. Being deliberate about work and rest, and self-aware of changing energy levels.

In the world of low-spoons, efficiency is vital. This li’l light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine carefully and sustainably.

Probably the number one misconception about GTD is that it’s a productivity cult where you’re asked to do, do, do until you’re all burnt out and dead. I myself thought that when I first got into it. It touts “stress-free” productivity and I was like “when the heck is the ‘stress-free’ part gonna come?”. And then I tried resting. Thing is, GTD is a bookmark of my life. It lets me let go of something, knowing I can get back to it. It lets me select the one thing that’s most important in the world right now—which might be writing, making food, helping a friend, working, or resting—and when I’m doing what I’ve selected, I can do that fully, knowing that I won’t forget the other things when next it’s time to choose what to do.

It lets me use my spoons with ruthless efficiency.

The serenity prayer is the core of efficiency.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

Or in GTD terms: you’ve got to ask yourself a couple of questions: