Getting Things Done by David Allen
This October, I’ve been in re-read mode.
It’s actually pretty darn fun, to feel the freedom to re-read– so often, I feel pressured to read something new.
So today, we’re looking at my first re-read of the fall season.
Earlier this year, when I finished reading Getting Things Done, I put a reminder in my calendar (Google Calender is one of my key GTD tools) to revisit the book in the fall.
This time, I decided to listen to it. And that was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. David Allen, the author, narrates the book, and it’s one of those delightful instances where the author reads the book better than anyone else could. Dude has a soothing voice, and he speaks with quiet confidence. It was like a private coaching session.
And, just like he says in the book, the next time I read it, I gained new insights. And I was inspired to fine-tune my system. These changes sound small, but They Are Not.
Here’s what I did:
First, I improved my Capture systems.
In GTD lingo, “capture” refers to catching ideas when they arise, and saving them in a system you trust.
I did this:
- Placed small notebooks in 2 additional places where I often have ideas, so I can capture them
- Bought bathtub crayons so I can write my shower thoughts (anyone else do their best thinking in the shower?) right there on the wall
Next, I hacked my system to make myself more accountable to myself.
I did this:
- Created hyperlinks to connect related Word documents. This one works especially well in the Projects List doc, where I’ve added links to my various project pages. When I do my weekly review, I now actually look at each project page, because I’ve made it easy. And it’s paying off — I’ve already thought of some new ways to approach some of my projects. [small squeal of delight as I realize he ain’t kidding about the subtitle to the book: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity]
And finally, I kept myself honest.
Here’s where I was goofing up: Instead of making sure my Next Actions List contained only actual “next actions,” I allowed some of the items to be projects that needed to have “next actions” defined for them. So…
I did this:
- Reviewed my Next Actions list with a discerning eye, then turned vague
statements into concrete Next Actions. Again: immediate results. It was a
sudden kick-start to some projects that I’d allowed myself to glide
past, because they required thinking. Once the actual thinking is done and I decided what to actually do: super easy.
Anyone else completely infatuated with a self-improvement book? If so, which one?