Getting Things Done by David Allen, is a book I borrowed from my friend in ……well sometime in 2013 (I am hoping it wasn’t 2012). The newest version of Mr. Allen’s book came out in 2015. In my search to figure out what he had updated, I found a 2015 online interview with Mr. Allen: click here to listen. I found Mr. Allen to be an engaging, enjoyable, and efficient speaker (I ended up having to check-out the audiobook version from the library to finally get the reading of this book done.) Reading the book, rather than listening to Mr. Allen, was a little more difficult for me. If you are the type of person that is reading a book on how to get things done, you are also highly likely to be the type of person that has issues with getting things done. My issue, I like to think, is finding time for the many things I like to do (as well as the many things I have to do). I needed the information Mr. Allen delivers long ago; a class on getting things done would have been really helpful in high school or college (as well as a class on how to figure out health insurance at your first job).
I really appreciate the structure Mr. Allen gives to getting things done, one that I have been needing for a long time. Reading this book took me a long time to power through, as it is a semi-dense read. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Allen’s book is well-written, worthwhile, and contains a lot of helpful information. However, if you are like me, the audiobook route may be the best choice for you.
Maybe some motivational pics and words would have helped me finish the book sooner.
And a repeat of the same message…..
This is NOT a sponsored post, but I will say you should listen to (or read if that is your preference) his book to fully understand my favorite take-aways listed below:
1. Externalize – write down all of the things you need to get done so it isn’t taking up space in your head, in turn taking focus and adding stress. Write things on a list so they don’t become things you think that you should constantly be doing.
2. Ask yourself, “What is this? Is it actionable(do I intend to move on this)? What is the next action? What action can be moved on now?”
3. You don’t do projects, you do action steps. Write down a next action step/list for each item on your “project list”.
4. Next Actions: divide your next actions into categories – calls, at computer, errands, etc.
5. Make a Someday-Maybe list. I love this one, because it was easy to implement and just what I needed. Pink Unicorn! I just completed a major purging and organizing of my file cabinet and included a Someday-Maybe file. I finally have a designated place to put things like brochures for classes I may take/future hobbies, plays/musicals to considering going to, museum memberships I am considering, etc.
6. Have a Waiting For file/list. My pre-existing Pending/For your Consideration File, I believe to be the same thing. Yay for already having something done.
7. The fewer in baskets you have, the better.
8. If you can complete a task in 2 minutes or less, do it right away!
9. Do a weekly review for all lists, open loops, and outstanding projects.
10. Do not put anything on your calendar that you don’t have to do that day. When you are done with calendar items on a given day, go to your next action list.
11. A summary of his 5 main steps are: Capture/Identify, Clarify what to do, Organize results, Reflect/Review, Engage/Allocate resources. Mr. Allen states these are steps we aren’t born doing. Some people (my sister), however, appear to very naturally incorporate these steps into their lives. Whereas others (myself included), need a lot of direct instruction, motivation, and self-control to incorporate them. It could be my sister’s training as an engineer, or it could be her cognition/brain is geared toward high performance in executive functioning. Whatever the case, she seems to have rocked Getting Things Done from an early age. For the rest of us, thank you to Mr. Allen for a great book and helping us to get things done.
Do you find it easy to get things done? What are your biggest roadblocks?