Getting Things Done

Posted: January 12, 2010 in AudioBook Summaries

-David Allen

He mentions 2 basic questions: what’s the successful outcome? What’s the next action?
He also states that there are 5 phases of work:

  1. Collect all the stuff (notes) that has work embedded in it.
  2. Process those notes, go through and pick out the relevant parts.
  3. Organise the results (categorize, keep lists, folders, digital organisers etc).
  4. Keep it current, don’t leave it too long; take time to read through, debrief, and get it done.
  5. How do you decide, how do you make your choices; plan effectively.

Work is an art. It is also a martial art, because you have to deal effectively, and deal with surprise.
Your strongest areas of growth are not in the good times.
How fast can you think of an outcome to a new situation, sit down and think how you will get it done.
Power is in keeping calm.
If you think “where did the time go” It means you’ve have a productive day.
Changing direction when you’re balanced in easier than changing direction when you’re not balanced, which I guess means if you’re doing one thing, it’s best to get balanced with that before you start doing another thing.

If you are truly focusing on only one thing, your mind is practically empty, because your only objective is to get that thing done. Neat and organised are not the same thing.
The only 4 things that belong in your life permanently: supplies, reference material, decoration and equipment.
How much can you hold in your short term memory? Like a computers RAM, if you’re trying to remember many things at once, you will overload.
Get everything you need to do down on paper. There is always more to do than you can do

Have an in-basket, at home and at work, so notes and appointments etc are not lost.
Use small note papers because they’re easier to carry and use.
Process the notes, so collection is clean.

Email people sitting right next to you, instead of talking directly to them. So you do not distract them from their workflow, and they can check the email when they’re ready.

Keyboard shortcuts are 4 times faster than using the mouse.
Typing at 50wpm will speed up your work.
Put day specific things on your calendar, to show that it cannot be done tomorrow. Under to-do space, not time specific.

There are only two problems in life:

  1. You know what you want, but you don’t know how to get it.
    –  Make it up
  2. You  don’t know what u want.
    – Make it happen

If you think of something you need to remember, but can’t write it down, instead of trying to remember the thing, just think of somewhere, and associate that place to the thing you need to remember, so when you’re in that place you’ll feel like there’s something you needed to remember, and you’ll think of it.

It’s not about the data not being available, it’s about you not being available to the data.


  1. Mark Smith says:

    This is well designed page, nice balance, When you get a chance this coming week please show we how you have implemented GTD.

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