- Great system to Get Things Done
- Allows you to get things off your mind and get productive
- Well written
- Easy to connect with author and take in his message
- Some suggestions may not work with everyone
The book Getting Things Done by David Allen was the catalyst in one of the biggest perspective changes of my life. Before I read this book I was rather adept at procrastinating. I would constantly get great ideas for a business or website, but after one or two weeks (or as long as it took to get the next idea) my mind would completely shut out the old idea, even if I wanted to, I wasn't able to force my mind into working on the project. It was the same with woodworking projects id start in my workshop, there were multiple half completed picture frames as well as a quarter finished aquarium stand/cabinet just sitting there waiting to be finished. If you were to look over my whole life, the list would continue on with half completed items, or just things that I needed to get done, but weren't doing. It was always just easier to watch TV or to play the latest and greatest video game. Everything else in my life was still running smoothly, I didn't think that I had a problem and it wasn't really a major problem, I just wasn't being as efficient as I could be. One day after another project had fizzled out, I came to the realization that there really was something that I was doing wrong, and that I would do my best to change myself, to grow into a better person.
After searching the internet, I came across many pages and articles that referred to David Allen's Book, Getting Things Done. The first thing that caught my attention was the title, when I read it, I said to myself "That's exactly what I need to do, get things done". So I put in my order at amazon, and the book was on my doorstep within the week.
Now that you have an idea of where I was coming from, lets get to the review. I found that David Allen's style of writing allowed me to really connect with the message he was trying to get across. At no point while reading this book did I feel like it was a chore (which I find is all to common in books of this nature). I personally believe that one of the most important ideas that comes from this book, is that of getting absolutely everything that is on your mind, off your mind by writing it down into a dependable system. After reading this book I was inspired to give it a try, and before I knew it, I had close to 100 actions down on paper of things that I had been putting off, or just the little things I wanted to do. Following his advice I got to work categorizing and creating next actions for everything that needed them. With this task done, I'm not sure why, but I actually felt like doing the things I had been putting off, and I can't quite explain to you how good it felt to be crossing things off the list. Once items started flying off the list, I found that I would remember more items that needed to be on the list that I hadn't thought of initially. I believe this is because my mind was getting cleared of all the junk, which allowed it to think more freely, and bring back things that had been stored away.
I have not implemented everything from GTD into my life, some things, for example the tickler files I don't feel would make a worthwhile difference to me. But, with that being said, I think the tickler files would be a very useful tool for most people. I find that because I consolidated all of my files and reference material into one system like David Allen recommended, it is a big relief to know that if i need a document or manual I only need to look in one location. Before reading the book, our (my wife and I) filing system was useful and it accomplished everything we wanted it to do, but now, after the change, I think that it has evolved into something better. Even at work, after reading this book I've been able to increase my productivity, and I find that I am happier and more motivated to get the work done while I'm there. My mind doesn't seem to wander as much anymore, and I am able to process and come up with solutions to problems faster then I did before. I know I cant prove it to be true, but that is just how I feel. I think it all comes down to getting everything off your mind, which allows it to focus on the task at hand.
GTD inspired me to take action in my life, and that really wasn't an easy task. I have tried many other ways of convincing or promising myself to do something, and even getting myself all psyched up for something would end up with the same result, failure. Overall I have to say that David Allen is an extremely talented writer, and Getting Things Done is a book that I would (and have) recommend to all my friends and family who are interested in learning an efficient system to keep their productivity and life in balance. If you have the choice of reading just one book this year, I would recommend you go out and pick up this book.
Another great book that I have read which I feel is similar but takes a different approach is http://www.infobarrel.com/Book_Review_of_The_7_Habits_of_Highly_Effective_People_by_Stephen_R_Covey">The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People By Stephen Covey.