Getting Things Done: Summary and Book Review.

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I must say that my life has changed ever since I decided to read Getting Things Done. In today’s era, we pay attention to numerous things at a time due to which we get tired. Even our successful and happy life seems to get dry and we feel exhausted. Well, that when Getting Things Done comes to play. If you have a habit of reading and still haven’t read this book yet then I envy you. And if you aren’t a reader then you must go through getting things done summary which explains the book pretty well. 

David Allen has beautifully explained, in just a few hundred pages, about the management of work in a very simple language. Try to implement those tips and you will notice magical changes in your life just like I did. Given below is the Getting Things Done summary which will explain everything in short and then you can decide whether to buy it or not. Well, it’s highly suggested for you to buy it and give it a try.  

All About Getting Things Done (GTD):

Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them – David Allen

Whenever you try to hold your ideas, our brain tries to collect them due to which there’s no space for you to create anything due to which it becomes natural to feel tired. When you hold less in your brain, you start to create. There are so many things in our life that require our constant attention like jobs, family, friends, emails, etc. Due to this, sometimes we remember to do our tasks and sometimes it just slips through our mind. You might have noticed this quite a few times and this is the point where you need this book called Getting Things Done. When you have organized thoughts and a clear mind, you always tend to get effective or desired results. GTD is a perfect word design that explains how to keep track of your projects, ideas, and tasks.  

Four P methodology: 

1. Problem: Due to the enhanced lifestyles of people, there are many facilities and sources available to deal with issues that arise. Yet at the same time, this has also increased stress levels that are sometimes unbearable. 

2. Promise: Whenever we are calm, focused at work, and efficient; all the things are done with much greater performance.

3. Principle: When there are commitments that are not managed well. Or whenever they are unable to accept due to poor management, there are higher chances for people to have a high-stress level. 

4. Process: Most people think that they face time management issues but in reality, there’s a need to manage actions instead of time and priorities.

Management of your work: 

1. Capture: Make a habit of capturing everything that has your attention. Don’t forget to add them to your bucket. Do whatever you want either you write or record but collect your thoughts. 

2. Clarify: After you collect your information, clarify whether they are actionable or not. 

3. Organize: Whenever you schedule or place your thoughts/ideas/work, make sure you put reminders.

4. Review: Reviewing your list will keep you on track and you can regain your control and focus on it. 

5. Engage: Make sure your actions for your decisions must be clear and follow them with confidence.

Plan projects by: 

1. Purpose and principle: Before you start to work on any plan or idea make sure you ask yourself why is it necessary, define its success, standardize its decision and rethink all the resources you could get. This is a standard way to address your projects, says David Allen.

2. Visioning outcomes: A vision of what will be the result and what does the success of this project could be. 

3. Brainstorming: While working on your project, it’s natural to get ideas so make sure you capture them as well with mind mapping. Well, this is called a graphical representation of your ideas. 

4. Organizing: After everything that you have till now, make sure you arrange your priorities in the project, sequence as well as actions to get better results. Whenever you do this, you find out about all the small details, categories that exist or occur while working, and all the connections.

5. Identify next action: While using all the resources you could think of, what are the other actions for your project that must be planned. 

Getting started:

While working on getting things done methods, you get all the three important resources when you put your focus on the right thing at the right time. 

1. Time: you can dedicate your time that is undisturbed and focused whenever you are working on this system. You need to have plenty of time to put everything in this system. A weekend must a good chance for you to plan your work.

2. Space: You must have a calm space whenever you are working on this system. You can also use your workspace as it’s all dedicated to the work done process. 

3. Tools: Now there are three basic tools to work on this process. First – Anything like paper, sticky notes, paper clips. Second – anything that helps you to create and manage your work. Third – files. Make sure you store your list according to your convenience but make sure you make it all different. For example- for work, projects, homework, etc.  

Getting Things Done explained in 5 golden steps: 

Everything given above is all about these 5 golden steps that are mentioned below. There are two examples given already on how you could manage them by choosing a simple road. So let’s just get the whole idea in detail.

1. Capture: Notice everything that captures your attention. That might be email, idea, thought, word, project, or anything. Just capture. Usually, a successful capturing is done when you capture anything that is not done or when it’s not in its right place. Most things that are not done pulls our attention at maximum so note it down. Well, these actions could be your activities, projects, thinking, development, large projects, etc. 

2. Clarify: Whenever you collect a thought as yourself whether it’s actionable or not. When it’s actionable then divide it into two categories – one which requires very little time and the second that requires more time. Do all the things that require less time and schedule the one that requires more time. On the other hand, when it’s not actionable, then categorize it. First – throw everything in the trash that is not required or has no use at all, second – save it as a reference, third – save that information for the future.

3. Organize: What do you mean when you say I prioritize things. Think again. Follow this pattern till the second step of processing and here your task begins. You need to prioritize. This system is actually to reduce your load and let you work on your highest productivity. Track everything active in your list. That can be your project or anything. When it comes to a folder, then keep it as your reference for your ongoing projects.

  1. Calendar actions: birthday dates, meeting dates, etc.
  2. Waiting list.
  3. List of next action.
  4. Support material or reference material for your projects.
  5. Project list.
  6. Reference materials.
  7. The list that has no urgency: anything you might consider in the future.

4. Review: There are chances that things get slipped from your mind even when you are working on a GTD system so this is an important step to follow. Review your lists daily so that you never lose your focus from your to-do lists and get things done efficiently. But, in your daily reviews add calendar and your list of next actions. 

Whenever you view weekly reviews, remember you have clear ideas on your lists, view your ongoing lists, and add a new list by following the GTD system. Check whether everything is going according to plan and look for your work progress.

5. Engage: Now, this is where you need to roll up your sleeves. Keep track so you must contain all your tasks that are needed to be done today. 

Work on this:

Context: We often get confused about what to work on, so sort your list properly by location and tools that are available.

Priority: Prioritize everything by understanding your role on your responsibilities, goals, relationships, values, etc.

Energy: Perform those tasks first that require fewer mental efforts.

Time: Here calendar plays a great role. Keep track of your work while having your watch on the periods.

Flowchart of Getting Things Done explained here:

Notice your thoughts and notice what motivated you to do things. It can be your dream, work, household work, or anything. After that note everything that motivates you. Some can be time-specific or they can be context-based like calls, office works, emails, etc. 

Collect all the stuff and ask yourself whether it is actionable or not? If not, then you simply need to decide whether to eliminate it and throw that idea into the trash or keep it in the file or store it for future reference, or just incubate it for trying/doing it for next time. Categorize all the non-actionable thoughts, ideas plans in these three types to make things easy and organized.

If it’s actionable then you need to schedule all the work into a project list. Then you might think what’s the next action so, tasks that can be done in 2 minutes should be done right now! Work on this principle and the maximum of your workload is eliminated. Schedule rest all the tasks that require time according to your urgency.

After you schedule your work, you need to delegate all the tasks and split the work that someone else has to do. Request someone for doing something that needs his/her actions. After that, some time and date-specific actions are supposed to be done on time so don’t forget to mention those in your calendars and reminders. Every morning you must schedule your tasks and do all the critical work in no time. Here, you can also have schedule time for your context-based tasks like phone calls, replying or sending emails, etc.  

Daily review of your work can prevent you from forgetting the work and keep you motivated to follow your plan. Reviews are needed to be done daily for daily tasks, weekly and monthly for your long-term tasks so that you won’t miss anything out of your list.

Our Views:

I will surely recommend “Getting Things Done” book to anyone who is frustrated for simple reasons like work not done, time management issues, and many more. There are many books available on the market but this is pure gold and it will change your life when you make efforts on working on this system. Believe in the process and you have nothing to worry about. You can click here to buy the book.

So I hope this book review was helpful and you got the answers you were looking for. To read more book summaries click here. Also let us know in the comments down below what other book summaries would you like to read. Your suggestions would be highly appreciated.


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