Getting Things Done - David Allen

Getting Things Done - David Allen

Learn to change your habits with the "Getting Things Done" method, by managing actions to achieve greater productivity and reduce stress, organizing and recomposing your mindset.

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“Getting Things Done” offers personal organization strategies based on an action management methodology, which was developed by the author David Allen and consists of the management of actions aimed at greater productivity.

This method is based on a concept called “mind like water”. It refers to an analogy, that is, you have the ability to organize and compose yourself, just like water.

According to Allen, our minds are good at performing activities and should not be used to store information. In an innovative way, this work will provide you with a new way of working: with more productivity and less stress.

The book “Getting Things Done”

“Getting Things Done”, was released in 2001 by the American writer David Allen. In the book we see the GTD method that shows you how to manage your time, so it increases productivity and reduces stress.

This book is considered one of the great sales successes of author David Allen. Composed of 320 pages, its new version has fifteen chapters that are divided into three parts.

Who is Author David Allen?

David Allen, American born in 1945, is a writer and one of the greatest productivity experts. He is the founder of David Allen Company, a consulting and training company. In addition, he is the creator and speaker of the GTD (Getting Things Done) method.

By 1980, David began applying his expertise in business productivity, but it was only in 2001 that he released his book “Getting Things Done”, more than 20 years later. The book is replete with experiences experienced by the author during all these years. Allen has more than 35 years of consulting and coaching experience.

Why should I read “Getting Things Done”?

According to the author, the GTD method can be used by all those who seek productivity without stress and want to manage a busy life more efficiently. Moreover, Getting Things Done is not just about making things happen, but about being appropriately involved with your work and your personal life.

What can I learn from “Getting Things Done”?

  • Empty your inbox (do, delegate, defer or delete);
  • Review goals and stay focused;
  • Review long-term projects periodically ;
  • Keep an eye on anxiety and do not let the work overwhelm you;
  • Accept that things should not be done all at the same time, prioritize your activities.

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[Book Summary] Getting Things Done - David Allen

What is “Getting Things Done”?

The first part consists of three chapters: “A New Practice for a New Reality”; “The art of controlling your own life: the five steps to mastering the workflow”; and “How to develop Projects Creatively”, respectively.

The author introduces the basic points of the GTD method, showing why we should take an attitude of change in the way we think so that we can solve our problems.

Allen provides the tools to control the workflow, as well as guidelines for planning and says that, to make things happen, we must follow five steps.

The first of them is to capture: we must leave our minds free to perform activities.

So, first, is to transfer your chores to a physical place that can be a paper, your email box and there is also the possibility of using applications that are specific to that.

The second step is to clarify: we must analyze those activities listed in the capture step and classify them following the steps: “Requires some action? Yes or No?”.If not, this activity should be deleted. If so, “What is the next action?” and “What project or outcome did you commit to?”.

If this action is a project, place it in a list called Projects. Once your action is not a project and can be done in less than two minutes, do it. If it is not possible to finalize it in two minutes, we have two possibilities: delegate or delay.

After that, let us go to the next step, which is to organize:

“Being organized simply means that the place destined to things is compatible with what they mean to you.”

That is, here you simply organize your activities in the way you have classified in the previous step. For example, activities that do not require action can be placed in a category called “Trash”.

The next step is to reflect: You must determine how often you will review your lists, daily or weekly. The author says:

“Review lists, sketches, and guidance maps as often as necessary to get that content out of your head. You should use your head to get things out of your head.”

The next step is to engage: this step is the result of all previous ones, that is, to make sure that the activity you are doing at that moment is really the activity you should be doing, that is, everything is in the way you have defined it that would be.

How to practice productivity without stress?

Once the GTD methodology is presented in the first part of the book, Allen starts off with the application. The author gives a breakdown of how you should implement the 5 steps presented earlier: Collect, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Engage.

To begin with, you need to set up a physical and exclusive location where it serves as a control center, be it your desk or your office.

Everyone will need this place to make the control, organize it if you have not already. Remember, in that place, you should have everything you need at your fingertips.

The book “Getting Things Done” emphasizes the importance of completing each step before moving on. At the beginning, it may be tempting to break the order, especially when the most urgent activities appear, but focus and complete them in the right order.

David Allen says that:

“By beginning to apply this method, you may discover that it frees up a huge space for creative and constructive thinking. If you have systems and habits ready to leverage your ideas, your productivity can increase exponentially.”

What are the Key Principles?

This part of the book “Getting Things Done”, is dedicated to showing what advantages the people instructed by David Allen have achieved over time. An increase in confidence and in performing your jobs is just one of them.

The author also enters into the psychological questions of his method. He says we feel bad when we have several activities to do. This is because incomplete activities generate broken deals with ourselves.

Allen suggests three solutions to this: “Do not make the agreement”, “stick to the agreement”, or “renegotiate the agreement”.

At that point, he explains that people feel better and, consequently, are more productive when they empty their heads.

Books about share management and productivity

In the book Focus, the author Daniel Goleman argues that practice only brings you closer to perfection if it is done intelligently, that is, if the person who is practicing uses that time to make adjustments and improvements. In addition, he explains that the attention you pay during practice is crucial.

Ryder Carroll, author of the book The Bullet Journal Method, shows that, according to studies, about 70,000 thoughts pass through our mind every day. Based on this, it’s clear why David Allen suggests that we record and organize our ideas and thoughts on paper, isn't it?

In The Miracle Morning, the author Hal Elrod supports the idea that waking up early can be a powerful tool to improve some areas of your life, because the way you experience this period can directly impact the rest of your day and your level of success.

How can I apply the ideas from “Getting Things Done”?

As habits take time, the suggestion is: improve each step at a time and make each step a habit, one at a time. The goal of GTD is to get you focused on the work that matters at the right time.

The book “Getting Things Done” is full of quotes and thoughts, with several useful tips. If you intend to delve into the GTD method and look for a way to increase your productivity, it is worth reading the complete work of David Allen.

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Getting Things Done - David Allen