- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Revised edition (March 17, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143126563
- ISBN-13: 978-0143126560
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,024 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Paperback – March 17, 2015
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“I am a devout, card-carrying GTD true believer. . . . The entire approach has boosted not only my productivity but also my wider well-being. But what amazes me just as much is how deeply GTD has taken hold around the world. . . . This is a genuine movement.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive
“Getting Things Done offers help building the new mental skills needed in an age of multitasking and overload.”
—Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal
“I recently attended David’s seminar on getting organized, and after seeing him in action I have hope. . . . David Allen’s seminar was an eye-opener.”
—Stewart Alsop, Fortune
“Allen drops down from high-level philosophizing to the fine details of time management. Take a minute to check this one out.”
—Mark Henricks, Entrepreneur
“David Allen’s productivity principles are rooted in big ideas . . . but they’re also eminently practical.”
—Keith H. Hammonds, Fast Company
“David Allen brings new clarity to the power of purpose, the essential nature of relaxation, and deceptively simple guidelines for getting things done. He employs extensive experience, personal stories, and his own recipe for simplicity, speed, and fun.”
—Frances Hesselbein, chairman, board of governors, Leader to Leader Institute
“Anyone who reads this book can apply this knowledge and these skills in their lives for immediate results.”
—Stephen P. Magee, chaired professor of business and economics, University of Texas at Austin
“A true skeptic of most management fixes, I have to say David’s program is a winner!”
—Joline Godfrey, CEO, Independent Means, Inc., and author of Our Wildest Dreams
“Getting Things Done describes an incredibly practical process that can help busy people regain control of their lives. It can help you be more successful. Even more important, it can help you have a happier life!”
—Marshall Goldsmith, coeditor, The Leader of the Future and Coaching for Leadership
“WARNING: Reading Getting Things Done can be hazardous to your old habits of procrastination. David Allen’s approach is refreshingly simple and intuitive. He provides the systems, tools, and tips to achieve profound results.”
—Carola Endicott, director, Quality Resources, New England Medical Center
About the Author
David Allen is widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on personal and organizational productivity. He has more than thirty years of pioneering research and experience as a management consultant and executive coach to some of America’s most prestigious organizations, such as New York Life, the World Bank, and the U.S. Navy.
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This new edition goes into more theory, but that makes it much harder to use as a concise guide of how to get things done.
I loved the first edition, but the 2015 edition was tedious to read and I didn't have the patience to get through it. Too bad he ruined a good thing. It would have been better if he'd added a companion book with all the non-actionable theory, or separate chapters.
What should be put down in this structure are immediate things that are actionable, what one can do next -- as opposed to generalities, which require more thought. A key aspect of course is breaking down a larger task into these smaller actions.
Allen describes a structure of immediate lists to look at, calendars, todo lists, reference lists and so forth. Other bins include an incubator list for long term tasks and a “waiting for” list, which has tasks that are pending from other people to be completed. This seems like a sensible arrangement but I suspect that other people will have somewhat different structures. My impression is that the important idea is not letting immediate short term distractions cloud one's focus on a task, and tackling things sequentially in little chunks.
Allen talks a lot about avoiding infinite loops. He mentions that a long term plan is not something that goes on someone's tickler list but rather something that is broken up into many actions as opposed to only a few. Practically he discusses how in meetings, before the end of the meeting one really should bring up the question of what is the immediate next action that is a follow up from the meeting rather than just talking in generalities.
In the book Allen talks about the importance of having few distractions to really concentrate on the task at hand and one way of achieving fewer distractions is by designing a system to capture all of one's daily input into a well-designed inbox format. He talks about how if this is well done one does not have the guilt of constantly thinking about things that have to be done nor does one have to have the mental load of things constantly popping into one's mind -- given ones assurance that everything is captured in this universal inbox. He contrasts a company that has a way of capturing day-to-day tasks as smoothly running without people being interrupted with one that is constantly crisis and event driven.
I read this book before the new 2015 edition came out. This new edition of course needs to be much updated for the new digital reality. The 2001 edition seems quaint, with its discussion of the correct file folders to use and how to organize things correctly in a close by file cabinet. It makes reference to a Palm Pilot but this seems almost prehistoric in today's age.
That said, I really felt that the lessons in the original 2001 edition were quite timeless. One could easily see how they morphed into using email programs such as Gmail and perhaps even influenced the design of these systems. In fact, it is fascinating trying to connect a lot of the concepts in this book with the modern world of cloud computing, gmail and various online task sites. Many of these online productivity tools mimic very closely a lot of the ideas in Allen's work, particularly gmail's immediate function for archiving things from your inbox and putting various tags and stars on them. It fits very well into a system of de-cluttering your inbox quickly but then coming back to selected bits.
Overall I would highly recommend this book, I think it is a good read.
If you're tired of making to do lists and never finishing them, this book will tell you pretty much every mistake you've made and are going to make if you keep your pattern. Learning to use Allen's system is worth it but very difficult. If you wish you were more efficient, this book will give you a system that you can base yours from. If you wish... stop wishing and get this book.