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Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done (GTD)

Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen is the seminal book for organizing your time. No GTD is not a time management book. The idea that time can be managed is an out dated one. Time is a constant, we can only manage what we do within the constraints of the time allotted to us that time alloted.

Now before you switch off, GTD is not a new age touchy-feely collection of mantras and self discovery. Getting things Done (GTD) is a manual for mastering the art of stress-free productivity. In fact the concept of stress free productivity is underlined in Getting things Done (GTD) to such an extent it becomes almost a mantra. GTD is not a replacement for the values and principles of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of highly effective people or the mental rocket fuel that is Anthony Robbins Awaken the Giant within, David Allen will show you how your mind stores critical information, and teach you how to use physical tools to ensure you never feel out of control of your time or life again.

Inside Getting Things Done (GTD) you'll find a total solution for finding, capturing and organizing your life. Once you have your Getting things done (GTD) system in place David Allen will even show you how to manage it going forward. Review

With first-chapter of Getting Things Done's allusions to martial arts, "flow," "mind like water," and other concepts borrowed from the East (and usually mangled), you'd almost think GTD from David Allen could have been called Zen and the Art of Schedule Maintenance.

Almost but not quite. Yes, Getting Things Done offers (GTD) a complete system for downloading all those free-floating gotta-do's clogging your sub-conscious into a elegant.sophisticated network of files and action lists--all purportedly to free your mind to focus on whatever you're working on. However, it still operates from the decidedly Western notion that if we could just get really, really organized, we could turn ourselves into 24/7 productivity machines. (To wit, Allen, whom the New Economy bible Fast Company has dubbed "the personal productivity guru," suggests that instead of meditating on crouching tigers and hidden dragons while you wait for a plane, you should unsheathe that high-tech saber known as the cell phone and attack that list of calls you need to return.)

As whole-life-organizing systems go, Allen's is pretty good, even fun and therapeutic. It starts with the exhortation to take every unaccounted-for scrap of paper in your workstation that you can't junk, The next step is to write down every unaccounted-for gotta-do cramming your head onto its own scrap of paper. Finally, throw the whole stew into a giant "in-basket"

That's where the processing and prioritizing begin; in Allen's system, it get a little convoluted at times, rife as it is with fancy terms, subterms, and sub-subterms for even the simplest concepts. Thank goodness the spine of his system is captured on a straightforward, one-page flowchart that you can pin over your desk and repeatedly consult without having to refer back to the book. That alone is worth the purchase price. Also of value is Allen's ingenious Two-Minute Rule: if there's anything you absolutely must do that you can do right now in two minutes or less, then do it now, thus freeing up your time and mind tenfold over the long term. It's commonsense advice so obvious that most of us completely overlook it, much to our detriment; Allen excels at dispensing such wisdom in this useful, if somewhat belabored, self-improver aimed at everyone from CEOs to soccer moms (who we all know are more organized than most CEOs to start with). --Timothy Murphy

From Booklist

Allen, a management consultant and executive coach, provides insights into attaining maximum efficiency and at the same time relaxing whenever one needs or wants to. Readers learn that there is no single means for perfecting organizational efficiency or productivity; rather, the author offers tools to focus energies strategically and tactically without letting anything fall through the cracks. He provides tips, techniques, and tricks for implementation of his workflow management plan, which has two basic components: capture all the things that need to get done into a workable, dependable system; and discipline oneself to make front-end decisions with an action plan for all inputs into that system. In short, do it (quickly), delegate it (appropriately), or defer it. While an infomercial for the author's consulting practice, this road map for organizational efficiency may help many who have too much to do in too little time, both professionally and in their personal lives. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Opinions of the most influential thinkers on productivity. -- Fast Company

David Allen's methods are key to survival in today's chaotic business climate. -- Patricia Seybold, author of

If you've tried other time managers and still feel harried, take a minute to check this one out. -- Entrepreneur


Customer Reviews

Best I've found

OK, first I have to admit I picked up the book at a local Border's where I had a copy on reserve. Having said that... I think I've tried every 'system' for organizing yourself out there. In the 80's it was Day-Timer and Day-Runner. Good calenders and address books, but not much else. 90's was Covey, and Franklin planning. Now we have 'roles and goals' which helps with long term planning but both systems were very inflexible when it came to planning your day to day stuff. I can remember Covey wanting me to plan out my entire week in advance. Nice in theory, but nowhere near reality for those of us whose jobs tend to be more 'crisis-oriented'. I've also tried Agenda, Ecco, Outlook, etc. but its hard to lug around your PC or laptop all the time. About two years ago I came across David Allen's tape seminar and I have to say its the best system I've ever found for organizing 'all' of your life. I can't say it's changed my life (I still have the same job, wife and kids and I still procrastinate too much ) but its certainly made all the difference in me being finally, actually organized on day-to-day basis. I'm now the only one in my office with a clean desk :) The book covers just about the same material that I learned in the tape series. The tapes have more anecdotes and 'real-life' examples in them, but the book has a few new pearls and tricks that tells me David's been refining and polishing this system since the tape series. Two last quick points: first, it requires no special binders or refills. You could use a cheap spiral notebook if you want. Personally, I use a palmpilot, which works well. Second, (IMHO) the Weekly Review is the cornerstone of making this system work, and its worked for me for two years. Remember that; it'll make sense once you read the book :) Now if I could only get David to come up with a system for procrastination....

Top Ten GTD Tweets by David Allen:

@gtdguy: “Distracting reactions about anything undermine a
clear mind about anything else.”

@gtdguy: “Small things, done consistently, in strategic places, create major impact. What are our top “small things” right now?”

@gtdguy: “If you think getting an empty mind is not worth doing, then throw away your calendar. Halfway is unjustifiable.”

@gtdguy: “Taking off midday, midweek, to play golf. Seems naughty, but so should holding such irrational beliefs.”

@gtdguy: “The only people who have to be right are the ones
who aren’t really sure they are.”

@gtdguy: “Cleanup = get closure on what u create/produce. Anyone really think that’s less than 90%? Let me into your car/house/head.”

@gtdguy: “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it’ll take more of your attention than it deserves.”

@gtdguy: “Keyboard is now the optimal communication tool of your life. Typing < 60wpm is like talking w/your mouth full of marbles.”

@gtdguy: “The hardest thing about being productive is not the work, but the split second it takes to decide to take control.”

@gtdguy: “When you know what you’re doing, efficiency and style are your only improvement opportunities.”

Top 20 GTD Tweets Courtesy of:  Organize it: Work Smart, play hard

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