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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting Things Done

Ironically this book took me about two years to read.  I would get to the middle of the second chapter and get completely stuck.  Self improvement books are tough to get through because if the author is any good you want to go out and try some ideas right away.

Chapter 1 discusses David Allen's theory of organization.  You must have a system and you must start from the bottom up.  Most systems are top down systems, what that means is that you get down your goals and dreams and then start modifying your life to reach those goals.  A bottom up approach means you get rid of all the meaningless tasks that get in the way of you developing goals and dreams.

Chapter 2 where I always got stuck has you gather every single task that you want to do, have to do, think you might want to do, have committed to do or thought about doing into one place and one system.  Then you start processing them.  If it takes less than two minutes to do you just do it.  I was surprised how much I got done just by getting that far.  There's nothing like getting a few score nagging little tasks that you've been procrastinating out of the way and getting them out of your space and out of your head.  That was where I always got stuck, who has time to gather together everything you ever wanted to get done into one place?  It seemed overwhelming but now that it's done it just makes good common sense.

The subsequent chapters are about organizing your life.  David Allen explains what should go on your calendar, what should be filed, and what items should be reviewed daily, weekly and monthly.  It's a good comprehensive system.  I do have to admit that adopting all of his ideas is still an ongoing process, so far I'm working off a to do list and have an empty e-mail basket at work.  I really feel like I benefited from using it and I feel like I'm getting more done.  I really feel like there's no way I could take on work and school at the same time without it.

If you're looking for an organization book or looking to find a system to manage your life better I would highly recommend this book.

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