Getting Things Done: The Re-Read Edition

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?  



6 thoughts on “Getting Things Done: The Re-Read Edition

  1. The self-help book I'm infatuated with at the moment is Achieve Anything in Just One Year by Jason Harvey; as the title suggests, I've been reading (and loving it) all year long. And it's definitely helped me see my life choices with clearer eyes…and, hopefully, to start making better ones. 🙂

    And yay for re-reads! They're the best.

  2. I really like the idea of creating hyperlinks between word documents. I seem to use a lot of Word documents and Excel spreadsheets for various reasons relating to my personal life. I think that I will try this. It should either make me more efficient or complicate my life more 🙂

  3. Okay–
    I LOVE the shower crayons ideas. I always wish I could go through my whole day WHILE taking my shower–it seems like the only place where I ever have any coherent thoughts any more! You are not alone in this.

  4. Citizen — *Thank you!* When I asked my sister where a person buys those things (I knew about shower crayons because she'd bought them for her children), she was all, "No! You're supposed to *relax* in the shower!" and I was all, "Exactly! That's why I need to capture the thoughts that actually pop into my head while I'm in there!"

    When I found the crayons at Target, I texted her a photo. Cuz that's the kind of sister I am.

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