Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

It is possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control.

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In Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen lays out a simple but proven way to get control of all the open loops of half thought out projects and tasks and slips of paper and vague goals and plans and actually get things accomplished in your life.  Allen is one of those life coach/organizer people and his clients include CEOs of major corporations so it seems he knows of what he speaks.

I found the book to be tremendously helpful.  Allen’s system is not very complex, but it is exceptionally thorough.  His premise is that as long as you have loose thoughts and tasks running around in your brain or spilling all over your workspace, you will spend so much time trying to remember your commitments and keep track of your details that you won’t have time to really be your best creative and most effective self.  I think he has a real point there.  I spend an awful lot of brain power trying to keep track of miscellany.  I’d rather not.

The plan, then, begins with capturing everything in your physical and mental “in box” – all in one place at one time – and examining each item in light of what it means, what your role is, and what the next action step is.

Defining your in box and deciding on the next action step are the two pillars of the system, which then branches out into ways to define and organize your projects, keep track of your life, get your commitments under control, and establish your life plan at various levels.

I like that the system is easy to understand and implement and that it is comprehensive.  I took a lot of notes and look forward to setting up some of the processes Allen advocates.  As he says, even if you just do one or two of the things he suggests you will be a ton more productive and organized than most people.

Unless you’re already bizarrely organized and on top of your life from the ground level to the birds eye view, I would absolutely recommend you read this book.  Even if you only take a few ideas from it, I think you’d find it quite helpful.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

2 thoughts on “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

  1. This is absolutely one of my favorite organizing/time management type books EVER, and I’ve read a lot of them. Although I kind of fell off the GTD wagon after having a baby, I am trying to get back to using it because I remember what a huge difference it made for me, not only in my productivity, but also in my mental fatigue. What I mean by that is I wasn’t constantly trying to remember what I needed to do, or projects, or whatever. (Hey, isn’t that what you said about brain power keeping track of miscellany?) It was all written down and that was so freeing.

    I remember some people from an email group I participated in at the time not liking the book so much because they felt it was too business oriented, but that never bothered me at all – I felt like the principles he advocated were easily applicable to any aspect of life, and I used his methods for managing both my work and personal life quite successfully. It was only after I let his methods slide and then stopped using them entirely that I once again felt like I was attempting to juggle knives one-handed and wondering why I felt stressed.

    So this is a very long-winded comment to say that yes, I concur, and very enthusiastically recommend the book.

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