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.
Sign me up.
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.
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