Getting Things Done

The book's intro statement says it all. "It's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control." I'm sure most of us feel like we have too many things to do. I know I do! This book purports to help us manage that list with calm and patience.

David Allen emphasizes that getting wound up and stressed rarely helps anyone. Atheletes and martial artists know that the best results come when you are "in the flow" - when you move effortlessly with what is going on, giving your full focus to the task in a calm, deliberate way.

The first step is to document all the projects you have, whatever they are. There are a variety of systems out there - choose whichever works best for you. We are all different humans, we all have different styles. Prioritize them based on their real import to your values, not by any external measure. Figure out, for each project, what a "next step to do" would be - something small and manageable. Then start doing them!

Too many people have lists with generalities on it like "go on a vacation". That is too big a project to tackle! Instead how about having an action item of "figure out top 3 destination choices". That is much more easy to handle - and fun, too! Heck, you could do that on a laptop during commercials.

The book has actual workflow diagrams helping you see how to sort incoming email, how to organize daily tasks, and more. It is all about sorting, recording what needs to be done and then getting started on the priority items. The book lists brainstorming ideas, and setting out stages of larger projects. It emphasizes the importance of weekly reviews, to keep yourself on track and to realize how much progress you're making.

There is a LOT of information jammed into this book. I definitely recommend reading it in stages - and then going back and re-reading it to glean additional bits of information later on. Like most books of this ilk, it's likely you know 80% of it already. Still, something in that 20% might be EXACTLY what you need to really make a huge improvement in your life.

Well recommended.

Buy Getting Things Done from Amazon.com

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