Title: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Author: David Allen
In my own words: Fantastic. Read it. This book offers processes and techniques to make your work less stressful and get things done. While I don’t use the full system in this book, becoming a believer in “inbox zero” is worth (way more than) the price alone.
Should You Read This Book?
If you have these challenges:
You are not getting it done.
You keep dropping the ball.
Your inbox has thousands of emails in it.
Throughout the day you keep remembering things you need to do.
… then it might help you:
by showing you a practical process that helps you corral everything and then find a place for it all.
But you might not want to read it if:
You absolutely refuse to sit down daily and go through all your inboxes. It gives you some ways to get into that habit, but if you don’t have any daily routines that might be tough for you. Perhaps read a book on habit-forming first.
Or if you’re looking for a “rah rah” motivational book. This book describes the system and already assumes you are motivated to do it.
What I Got Out Of This Book
The number one thing I got out of this was it taught me about “Inbox Zero”, a practice I have now been doing for over ten years. That alone makes it one of the most valuable books I’ve ever read.
A second very valuable thing I got out of it was the idea to “Corral all your stuff”. Instead of having random things pop in my head all day that I say to myself “dang! I gotta remember to do that!”, it all gets put into one big pile and then I find a home for each item.
A third thing is “finding a home” for all the tasks. During the sort I ask: Do you need to do it? If not then trash it. Can you do it in under two minutes? Do it and get it over with right now. If it takes longer than two minutes, delegate it or put it on your calendar. Etc etc. Then the pile is gone and your head feels at ease. It’s wonderful.
It would be generous to say I’ve implemented even half of the books recommendations and it really honestly truly changed my life.
Other Interesting Things I Learned
This book is a classic of the productivity genre. It’s so old that it has a picture of a guy in a SUIT on the cover instead of a “single object” which, imo, has come to signify the genre.
- Effort Required of you to get the most out of this book: Soul: 0%, Emotions: 50%, Mental: 50%, Physical: 0%.
- Topics Covered: Getting Things Done, Time Management, Productivity, De-stressing
- Qualifications of Author: Been-there-done-that, Coach
- Content Source: Author’s experience
- Content and Style
- Tone: Neutral
- Writing Competency: Good
- Repetitiveness: First half of book is stronger, but new content throughout
- Explanations: Good
- Organization: Good
- Anecdote level: Appropriate (20%)
- Convincingness of evidence: Good
- Annoyances: None