Getting Things Done

date May 3, 2008
authors David Allen
reading time 3 mins
  • Book Title: Getting Things Done – The art of Stress Free productivity
  • Author: David Allen
  • Year written/published: 2001
  • My Comments: Excellent book!
  • Contents page:
  1. Art of Getting Things Done
  2. Practicing Stress-Free Productivity
  3. The Power of the Key Principles

Some extracts:

2 simple objectives…

The methods I present here are all based on 2 key objectives 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 2). Disciplining yourself to make front-end decisions about all of the inputs you let into your life so that you will always have a plan for ‘next actions tat you can implement or renegotiate at any moment.

Basic requirements for managing commitments

  • First of all if it’s in your mind, your mind isn’t clear. Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind, or what I call a collection bucket that you know you’ll come back and sort through.
  • Second, you must clarify what you commitments is and decide what you have to so if anything to make progress towards fulfilling it
  • Third once you’ve decided on all the actions you need to take, you must keep reminders of them organised in a system your review regularly.

The next 3 options:

  • Do it: If an action will take less than 2 minutes, it should be done at that moment it is defined
  • Delegate it: If the action will take longer than 2 minutes, ask yourself, Am I the right person to do this? If the answer is no, delegate I to the appropriate entity
  • Defer it: If the action takes longer than 2 minutes and you are the right person, track it on one or more ‘Next Actions’ lists

3 kinds of activities to be engaged in:

  1. Doing predefined work e.g. from the Next actions lists
  2. Doing work as it shows up e.g. ad hoc stuff
  3. Defining your work e.g. clearing in-baskets, emails, meeting notes, breaking new projects into actionable steps

7 types of things you’ll want to keep track and manage form an organisational perspective:

  1. A projects list
  2. project support material
  3. Calendared actions and information
  4. Next actions lists
  5. Waiting for list
  6. Reference material
  7. Someday/Maybe list

The ‘Someday/Maybe’ List

… Then give permission to populate the list with all the items of that type that have occurred to you so far. You’ll probably discover that simply having the list and starting to fill it out will cause you to come up with all kind of creative ideas.

Weekly Review:

  1. loose Papers
  2. Process your notes
  3. Previous Calendar Data
  4. Upcoming Calendar
  5. Empty your head
  6. Review ‘Projects’ lists
  7. Review ‘Next actions’ List
  8. Review ‘Waiting for’ list
  9. Review any relevant checklists
  10. Review ‘Someday/Maybe’ list

Areas of Focus…

Next I recommend that you make and keep a list called ‘Areas of Focus’… Depending on the speed of change in some of the more important areas of our life and work, this should be used as a trigger for potential new projects every 1 to 3 m

6 level model for reviewing:

  1. Runaway: Current Actions
  2. 10,000 feet: Current Projects
  3. 20,000 feet: Areas of Responsibility
  4. 30,000 feet: One to Two year Goals
  5. 40,000 feet: 3 to 5 year Goals
  6. 50,000+ feet: Life