Book Review: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done by David Allen.

This is an oldie, but a goodie. I refer to this book at least once a year to sharpen my organizational saw. This book has been read by millions to find ways to be more productive and less stressed out. It has worked for me.

At its core, the premise is simple. Your mind is great for thinking, not so great for remembering a lot of details. The idea then is to create a trusted system that can hold all the details in an easy-to-use way so that your mind can be freed up for thinking.

He talks about many great concepts, but the one that has had the most impact on me is the weekly review. As part of the system, he suggests a weekly review of at least an hour, but I tend to do mine for almost 2 hours. The idea of the weekly review is to look through your calendar, task lists, and notes and make sure everything is done and things that need to be organized are put in the proper place. I admit that this is the most difficult to do for me - I always seem to be trying to cram it in instead of planning it on my calendar - but when I do it, the feeling is liberating. Instead of having a ton of thoughts and to-do's all over the place, I feel like I have them under control. That is the less stress part.

The other nice thing about the system is that he provides the structure, but it is not dependent on any particular system (like a Franklin Covey system). Because of this, I've been able to customize it to my needs over the years. I've finally got a system that follows the basics, but meets my needs.

In the end, this book not only made me productive, it made me more happy.