Review: Getting Things Done

August 25th, 2008 · No Comments

A Chorus of Praise

I sometimes think that everyone has read this book. It’s featured prominently on sites like 43 folders. In fact “personal productivity” or “life hacking” is an entire genre of blogs out there, and a useful one at that.

While I don’t consider Protoscopic to necessarily be one of those sites, I think improving your productivity is one of the best ways to improve the returns of “You, Inc.” If you can waste less time and let others waste less of your time, you will be able to devote more time to side projects and possibly bring your “hourly rate” up. For those of us who keep our “day job” and still try to build an Internet Empire, increasing productivity is often a must.

Given all the attention already given to David Allen’s method, why am I still bothering to post a review? Well to some degree I want to reach out to the skeptical, like myself, and explain why I think that this book is a must-read even with all the hype. It’s not rocket-science, but it is fundamentally sound. So allow me to add to the chorus of praise.

Lists, lists and more lists

As I started reading Getting Things Done I became quickly annoyed. I am a list-maker by nature and his advice largely seemed to boil down to “make a bunch of lists and put stuff on them and periodically check them over.” I didn’t need a book to tell me that!

Despite my skepticism I followed his plan as I read. I didn’t wait until I got to the end to start his method, and as I proceeded through the book I found that the system was working. After this I decided to try to identify what it was about his lists that was so much better than mine.

I quickly came to the conclusion that his methods aren’t nearly as important as his goals. I think everyone who reads this book implements things a little differently, but his fundamental tenets sink into your mind and color how you do things. I think for me the key piece of advice that made the difference was (paraphrased):

Get everything on lists so you know what you have to do and don’t have nebulous worries floating around in your psyche.

If you keep up with your lists and manage them correctly you know what you’re supposed to be doing, have done and what’s behind. I so often find myself feeling “behind” without having enumerated exactly what I’m behind on. As I implemented the system I found that I easily knew what I was behind on, so even if I was behind I didn’t just have a vague feeling of dread. I knew what needed to be done and it seemed much more manageable with it all in front of me.

Required Reading

This book joins the exclusive club of books I would recommend for just about anyone. I suppose if you aren’t feeling like you don’t have enough time, then productivity concerns can wait. But I think that most of us are feeling a time crunch and a quick dose of Getting Things Done, can help alleviate things.

Categories: Books · Reviews

Related Posts:

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment