Getting things done – Book review

May 16, 2008

in Productivity

Getting things done (GTD) has become somewhat of an obsession with many people wanting to achieve goals, bring dreams to reality or to simply get things done. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen is the “instruction manual” for GTD.

“This book offers powerful, practical strategies for vastly increasing your organisation, efficiency and creativity – in work and in life.”

David Allen is a management consultant who has spent the last 20 years working with organisations to help them improve their productivity. He has used this experience to hone his GTD system over the years.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is divided into three sections. Part 1 covers the theory behind the system. Part 2 is the how-to part of the book. Part 3 explains why the system works.

This three part approach serves to give a full understanding of the GTD system, rather than just a list of instructions with no why or wherefore. I find that if I am able to understand the thinking behind a process I am more likely to be able to use it. It also helps to see, if things go awry, what exactly has gone wrong.

The nuts and bolts of the system revolve around five actions:

  • Collection
  • Processing
  • Organising
  • Reviewing
  • Doing

All these steps are very clearly explained with examples and flow diagrams to help illustrate points. Plenty of details and suggestions are provided to keep you moving along.

Initially, I borrowed the book from the library. However, after reading it I realised that it was something that I would be constantly referring to. It is a handbook that you will consult time and again.

I’m very keen on productivity systems. I’m very keen on trying them out. Since I’ve become a stay-at-home mum I’ve done a lot of searching and testing of systems that would work in my situation. I’ve found that many of them are really more corporate tools and not suited to the home environment. Not so with GTD .

I think there are a number of reasons GTD works at home. The system itself is very low tech. Although there is a plethora of GTD software available it is just as easily performed as a paper based system. No matter what the “project” you are working on, whether it be planning your weekly shopping trip, to organising a plumber to fix a leaky tap, to paying off your credit card there are “next actions” that need to be done. The inbox concept seems to work very well for families too.

I implemented a GTD system at home a little while ago and it has worked well for me. I’m finding that I’ve lost a little focus lately though. So I’m going to give it some new attention and will let you know about my progress over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about GTD here are some links to get you started

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Previous post:

Next post: