Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done

The Art of Stress-free Productivity

eBook - 2003
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Veteran coach and management consultant Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to thousands. He shows how to assess goals, relax, and stay focused.
Publisher: New York : Penguin, 2003, c2001
ISBN: 9780786555802
Branch Call Number: Overdrive eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xiv, 267 p.)


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Allen provides a system to receive, review, prioritize and get things off your to-do list.

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Oct 25, 2020

At any given time, we all have many things to do. We cannot do them all at once, so we must prioritize them. And we must keep track of them. Most of us keep track in our minds, which forces us to spend mental energy on something other than actually performing these actions.

In his book "Getting Things Done", David Allen provides a system for organizing what need to do and accomplishing more. Allen's "GTD" methodology focuses on productivity and remove stress by focusing on things that are important and accomplishing those tasks.

His technique is straightforward.

Distinguish between projects and actions. Projects consist of a list of actions. We perform actions; not projects we perform actions, so identify the actions necessary to complete each project - particularly the very next action you need to perform.

Record these projects and actions in a safe place that you can refer to often. This may be paper or computer files or a software application. This gives you a way to always know what you should be working on and frees you from stressing about them.

Most people keep their list of action items in their head or in an amorphous storage mixed in with other things. This adds unnecessary mental work every time we look at the list.

Allen advocates keeping a "Mind like water", meaning we should focus exclusively on the task at hand.

Allen focuses more on the individual actions in our lives than on long- and medium-term goals; but he does advocate documenting these, as they drive our projects and our actions. A periodic review of our projects and goals is important to ensure we are staying on track.

This was my second reading of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" and my first reading of the current edition, which includes references to some software that can help. Allen tends to favor low-tech approaches, such as recording and organizing with paper, pen, and folders, but he leaves the choice of systems to the reader.

As an obsessive list maker, I was already using many of Allen's techniques, but his process added some clarity to how I should approach my organization.

My life is less stressful in part because of the practices I have adopted from this book.

Jan 21, 2020

Audiobook option

Dec 01, 2019

A bit dated (the 2001 version I read has references to Lotus Notes), but still solid and better than I expected. This book is the foundation from which many productivity tools, e.g. Atlassian's Jira, took inspiration (or so I believe).

Some of the content is humdrum and overly verbose (and outdated), it's true. The most insightful part of the book for me was chapter 12, in particular the section "Why Bright People Procrastinate the Most."

Overall, glad I picked it up and crossed it off my reading list.

Dec 27, 2018

Ribbonfarm reading list

Nov 07, 2018

Did not like. So boring. Not very well written. Not inspiring. Couldn't finish reading

Jun 11, 2018

A great deal of this book is basic time management practice detailed in both physical and digital formats. The more valuable part of the book for me was Part 1: The Art of Getting Things Done and Part 3: The Power of the Key Principles. His descriptions of today's work world and its mental challenges lets the reader understand that everyone has too much to do and not enough time or energy to do it all. His method aims to get you to a mental place where you can focus on what needs to be done when. It's about managing your time, emotions, and creativity. Part 3 focuses on how his key principles can work for you with a detailed discussion about current psychological theories and business. This is not the most appealing book -- a small font is used on a very overcrowded page layout. You do wonder if the publisher mandated a 300-page book and the author's solution was just to keep making the font smaller.

May 04, 2018

The ideas in the book make sense & should carry positive effects in our daily life. However, the whole system could be explained clearly in no more than 60 minutes. It's actually much more efficient to read about this from online articles or videos, instead of going through a 300 pages book like this, which contains lots of redundant & not very well organized information.

May 01, 2018

I loved how sensible this book is. Your mind has limited space to store all information that you try to memorize, so write it down. I now write everything down that I think will clutter my mind, it helps my thought process as well.

Mar 30, 2016

Gee, what took me so long?? I had this book on my 'to read' list for TOO LONG and finally started reading it when I realized it was coming due after three maxed out renewals. This book is worth a read for those who are looking to stop "talking" about getting productive and actually start "performing". I got some really good concepts that I began to immediately apply to my life.

Aug 27, 2012

Pick and choose what works for You!

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Jun 11, 2018

Bright people have the capability of freaking out faster and more dramatically than anyone else.


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