Getting Things Done

By David Allen

In today’s world, yesterday’s methods just don’t work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential. In Getting Things Done Allen shows how to:

* Apply the “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule to get your in-box to empty
* Reassess goals and stay focused in changing situations
* Plan projects as well as get them unstuck
* Overcome feelings of confusion, anxiety, and being overwhelmed
* Feel fine about what you’re not doing

From core principles to proven tricks, Getting Things Done can transform the way you work, showing you how to pick up the pace without wearing yourself down.

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This book was referred to me by a friend a few years ago and I bought a copy at a used bookstore and only recently got around to reading it. That was at the end of March and I applied the tactics in the book and it’s now the middle of June and I’m still using and benefitting from them.

The method that underscores the book is basically a To-Do list on steroids. So if you’re already into making lists, you will LOVE this book. If you’re not into making lists, this book will not come naturally to you, but it’s super worth it to learn the methods.

But it’s more than just a To-Do list. The core of his method involves the use of 4 lists: Next Actions, Waiting On, Reference Material, and Someday/Maybe. You can add on as many other lists as you would like, but this is the core of it.

When I read this book, my work inbox had 40 pages of emails in it. I marked emails as “Unread” if I needed to come back to them. And that was about the extent of my inbox organization. Now my inbox tends to close out the day between 5-15 emails (I can’t quite get myself to inbox zero, I’m a work in progress). But switching to David’s method of organizing your life, helped me stop reacting to every single item that arrived in my inbox and take a higher, project-minded view of each email. I quickly evaluate each email to see if it can be categorized or if it represents a new task I need to get more information on to complete.

I also use these lists to organize my life outside of work and (hopefully!) keep myself on track. As any busy professional knows, it’s almost impossible to keep your work and private lives functioning at the same efficiency. But these tools certainly help.

I’m a convert to the David Allen method now. I’ve told several people about this book and how its method has helped me get better control over everything and cut down my anxiety that I’m forgetting things. Go read it!

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