Dan Ott holding a bottle of hot sauce.
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The Rise and Fall of Getting Things Done

Cal Newport uses this column in The New Yorker to excavate the foundations of knowledge work, and challenge some chief assumptions. The process today leans heavily on the efficiency of autonomous individuals. The result is that everyone is responsible for creating their own system for capturing requests, prioritizing, and delivering meaningful work. He suggests we may be missing out on a lot of value generation, because everyone is speaking their own personal productivity dialect.

To lay the groundwork, Newport weaves in the story of Merlin Mann, 43folders, and Inbox Zero. Mann was big on personal productivity blogging scene. Until he stopped.

Part of the problem was the recursive quality of his work. Refining his productivity system so that he could blog more efficiently about productivity made him feel as if he were being “tossed around by a menacing Rube Goldberg device” of his own design

I read those words shortly after building the commits page on this website. The recursive quality of a personal website, whose content is the commits that generate the personal website is unnecessary. But it’s fun.

This is a weird project. Starting a personal website with unclear motivations. Personal expression. A place to publish. Practicing the craft. Mastery of tools.

The joy of creating, to talk about the joy of creating. The exploration of process, by introspecting on process. It cannot sustain itself forever. A Rube Goldberg device may visit me, too. For now, the deliberate practice is a real treat.