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We (1) capture what has our attention; (2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it; (3) organize the results, which presents the options we (4) reflect on, which we then choose to (5) engage with.
Getting things done requires two basic components: defining (1) what "done" means (outcome) and (2) what "doing" looks like (action).
In training and coaching many thousands of people, I have found that lack of time is not the major issue for them (though they may think it is); the real problem is a lack of clarity and definition about what a project really is, and what associated next-action steps are required.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Paperback – Illustrated, March 17, 2015
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—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
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Revised ed. edition (March 17, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0143126563
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143126560
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.48 x 0.71 x 8.42 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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By john on November 9, 2018
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.
Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a productivity methodology based on a few deceptively simple concepts. Now, I’m still very new to GTD, but this is how I see it. One of the fundamental ideas behind GTD is that the human brain is excellent at processing ideas and being creative, but not a great storage facility. A key part of GTD is getting all ideas, projects and commitments out of your brain and into a trusted system or external brain.
There are five activities to GDT: Capture, Clarify, Organise, Reflect and Engage. If I can take from the GTD website, this translates to:
Capture: Collect what has your attention. For me, this means adding all my ideas, commitments and to-dos in my list manager application of choice, Todoist. I really love this application and regret that I don’t have it at work. I try to capture everything from my doctor’s appointments, to buying cat food for Lushka to a reminder to ask my husband if we have picture hooks. I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer, so any time I think of something like oh, I must remember to get Swiss francs, into Todoist it goes.
Clarify: Process what it means. Here I can’t be any more concise than or as clear as the workflow diagram on the GTD website:
Honestly, if I take away nothing more from my experience with GTD than the two minute rule (if you can do it in two minutes, do it now, otherwise delegate it or defer it) and the discipline to define the next physical action to move a task along it will have been worth it.
Organise: Put it where it belongs. This is probably the area of GTD that’s least intuitive for me – I’m not very organised! At the very least, I try to put any appointments on my calendar, any tasks in the appropriate section of Todoist, and potentially relevant non-actionable information in Evernote. One interesting aspect of GTD is the use of contexts. This means organising your tasks not by priority but by the tools, location, and/or person you need to be able to complete them successfully. So, for example, in my Taxes 2016 list I have an item; pick up tax receipt from pharmacy. I tagged that as “pharmacy” along with other items like pick up Polysporin and drop off new prescription. So when I go to the pharmacy I just check that tag to be reminded of all the things I have to accomplish while I’m there. Similarly, while planning my trip to Europe I have a context of Susanne, the friend I’m visiting. Any time I think of something I need to ask her, I add it to that list of things to discuss next time I call or email her.
Reflect: Review your to do list and calendar frequently. The idea here is to keep your “external brain” current with everything that you need to accomplish. If you don’t add to it or clear our stale items, your real brain will no longer trust your system and it will break down. Most GTDers do a review at least once a week.
Engage: Simply do. Pick the tasks that are available to you based on your contexts and get cracking!
The book itself is very well written and the edition I have was updated in 2015 to include discussion of new technology (not specific applications) and how it impacts the GTD workflow.
if you are interested in improving your productivity and generally getting things done you could do a whole lot worse than to check out this book.
I gave Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free productivity five stars out of five.
One part of the intro that is very important (but now you can skip it by reading this) is the idea that implementing the full system sounds like a daunting task. That's OK! In Chapter 2, add it to your projects list. In Chapter 3, the author describes how to break down a project of any size and scope. In Chapter 10, he goes through all the fine details of how to execute a project using all of the tools you learned in Chapters 4-10.
Top reviews from other countries
There are some good ideas here but it’s hard to relate them to modernity. Its like reading Jane Austin for tips on using Tinder.
If you are a historian researching productivity methods of bygone eras then this would be a good purchase for you.
For instance, the author will describe some approaches to collecting information (e.g. pen and paper, whiteboards, whatever). But then immediately following will be ten dedicated sections discussing the minutiae of each of those methods. Some things don’t need expanding on!
However for me, the biggest issue was the outdated nature of the content. It’s been very lightly updated with references to “digital tools”, but I think it’s overdue a rewrite to reflect that digital tools are the norm now, not the exception. This would also cut out half the book.
The book is heavy going though, I bought it in paperback, Kindle and upgraded the Kindle to audio too so that I could read it quickly.
An email workflow infographic would have been handy, I'm likely to create these for myself so that I can embed the theories quicker.
I also wanted to annotate both the Kindle and paper versions so that they'd make better reference materials.