Getting Things Done Review

Although I often claim to be a complete bookaholic, it is more the fictional world that appeals to me with very few non-fiction titles succeeding in grabbing my full-fledged attention. Getting Things Done by David Allen is certainly an exception and quite a remarkable one. So here I am, writing a Getting Things Done review for those who are looking for a dynamic way of managing their time and stress.

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a self-help book that emphasizes the point that the human mind cannot keep track of all the things they have to do and be productive at the same time. This calls for people to move these tasks out of mind and on to paper. When the mind is free from remembering what to do, it can solely concentrate on how to do it best.

It is a perfect guide to improve personal productivity. The book is highly advisable for budding entrepreneurs or small business owners who may have to wear too many hats at one time and are looking to manage their work life in a more systematic yet easy manner. This book can guide you how to manage your time while maintaining a work-life balance and be productive.

David Allen – The Personal Productivity Guru!

David Allen is currently a productivity consultant and the founder of David Allen Company, which is focused on productivity, executive coaching and action management. He is a graduate from University of California, Berkeley and has formerly worked as a personal growth trainer.

David Allen is best known for his book “Getting Things Done” in which he talks about a time management method he created known as the Getting Things Done, or “GTD”, system. This system is a regular part of his coaching efforts and his public seminars. His other written works include Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done and Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life.

How the Book Works

The book provides two basic tips to get more productive:

  1. Capturing all the things that need to get done—now, later, someday, big, little, or in between—into a logical and trusted system outside of your head and off your mind; and
  2. Disciplining yourself to make front-end decisions about all of me “inputs” you let into your life so that you will always have a plan for “next actions” that you can implement or renegotiate at any moment.

The book is divided down in three major sections that discuss the art of getting things done, practicing stress free-productivity and the power of key principles of life.

Getting Things Done – Overview

David Allen suggests that things stay on your mind when you feel that you have left them unfinished or you may have forgotten to clear out something. You need to determine all those things that are somewhere in your mind, nagging you somehow and then get it all out of your head by noting them systematically.

Allen has proposed five stages of managing your workflow, to organize your time in a productive way, discussed throughout the book.

  • Collect – Collect all the things that you find stressful or you think you need to do and make a list of them.
  • Process – Decide if all those things that need to be done can be accomplished by you. If yes, then you can do it now, defer it for a later time period or delegate it to someone else. If the action cannot be accomplished, then you can drop it. If the action can be completed in less than two minutes, do it now and develop action plans regarding all the other things that need to be done later.
  • Organize – All those things that cannot be done immediately should then be organizes according to their importance and time availability and filed away for review later. If you cannot complete an action, you can drop it, file away for future consideration in a “tickler” folder or keep it for reference.
  • Review – This requires you to go through your folders and check which of your planned actions have been completed and which one still remains to be done. Add any new thing on your mind to this list. Process the ideas again and re-organize. Review should be done on a regular basis in order to be productive.
  • Do – Most important is to actually complete the actions that you have planned and not to keep piling them up. The key to doing things is prioritizing accordingly. If something is crucial, do it first but everything is equally important, just keep going through tasks one by one.

Several other techniques are discussed in the book that will help you in managing your tasks and completing them in a better way. A number of other work-management processes, organizing tactics and self-review and decision making models are introduced by Allen.

Useful Habits and Practices to Implement

Going through the book can make you adopt a number of useful day-to-day practices and habits like:

  • Always keep paper and pen with you to note down ideas as soon as you get them, in case you forget them later.
  • Always keep something that needs to be read or reviewed with you so that it can be done whenever you get some free time.
  • Make a habit of reviewing your calendar and action list daily in order to remember what actions need to be completed that day.
  • Review your “Projects” list and your “Waiting for” list at least once a week.
  • Once a week, gather new ideas and add them to your list.

The Good and the Bad

Getting Things Done has received an overwhelmingly positive response from the readers. All of them found it effective to some extent and have benefited from its methods. However, nothing can be perfect. Although the book is an excellent coach to manage time and stay productive in your busy day-to-day schedule, some people hold the opinion that the book is repetitive.

A number of ideas keep re-occurring and are repeating. The book may have been written more effectively with smaller page-count keeping in view how its audience cannot find enough time to read a book at all.

Reviews for the Book

In his review of Getting Things Done book, George Rodriguez writes,

”If you struggle with getting things done, keeping track of wave after wave of information crossing your desk or completing projects on time and don’t see an end in sight, this book can change your life.”

Another reader and review writer of the book, Terry Brock, claims,

“From my end, I can’t recommend it enough; it has helped me look at my work in a number of different ways.”

And long goes the list for positive reviews for the book. David Allen has provided some very useful and convenient guidelines for you to become an organized person.

How to Buy The Book

In the end, I will recommend you to go through the book once. It may not work for you completely, but there will certainly be parts of it that you will find extremely useful. The book proves to be an engaging read and it is worth the effort.

So, if you are looking to get your life more organized, manage your time efficiently and keep stress at bay all at once, this is the right book for you. You can get your copy of Getting Things Done from your nearest bookstore or you can order the book through online bookstores. If you find it more convenient, you can also purchase the Getting Things Done ebook.

Enjoy reading, and stay organized!

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