On Getting Things Done

I was prob­a­bly the sin­gle last per­son to get a copy of David Allen’s Get­ting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. I had ordered a copy sim­ply because it did seem so pop­u­lar. I usu­al­ly steer clear of the self-help and busi­ness pro­duc­tiv­i­ty sec­tions of the book­store. How­ev­er, the peo­ple who were talk­ing about Allen’s book seemed even keeled enough that I fig­ured it would­n’t be some sort of primer into buy­ing a bunch of stuff ‘required’ to use this method. It turns out that is exact­ly the case and prob­a­bly part of Allen’s suc­cess. That, com­bined with the fact that it’s real­ly sol­id stuff. I’m not going to bore you with any details on the infor­ma­tion in the book. All I will say is this: if you’re inter­est­ed in get­ting on top of what seems like an impos­si­ble list of things to do in your life (work or per­son­al), then GTD is real­ly worth look­ing into. You can get a cheap copy of the paper­back but I’d also rec­om­mend get­ting the audio­book ver­sion (CD or iTunes Store) just because I found it so easy to lis­ten to while driving.

Three weeks ago I went into my office on a Sat­ur­day and about five hours lat­er emerged with an emp­ty e‑mail inbox, a stack of about five tasks to do in my paper inbox, a very clean office, and an 18 inch tall stack of papers to be filed. This week­end, I’ve been work­ing on doing pret­ty much the same thing at the our home office. I’ve suc­cess­ful­ly got­ten my e‑mail inbox to emp­ty, along with my RSS feeds. Angela did a lot of grunt work on Fri­day before I could get to it (of her own accord, even though I had told her I was sched­ul­ing this week­end to go through a lot of stuff). That helped a lot, though, and allowed me to focus on get­ting down a lot of what I want to accom­plish. Of course, it’s not a one time thing and I have to do my best to keep things reviewed and record­ed from here on.

Now, to the point of this post (it’s real­ly not just to cel­e­brate my emp­ty e‑mail inbox, although that is a pret­ty cool thing to behold). There is a very good chance that some of you may have com­ment­ed here, sent an e‑mail, of left a voice mes­sage that nev­er got a response. First of all, I am tru­ly sor­ry if that hap­pened and I made you feel that I did­n’t real­ly care about what you had to ask or tell me. I like­ly marked that to deal with lat­er, but since I did­n’t have any real­ly sound method of every insur­ing I’d get back to it, it sim­ply got buried in the pile. I can­not make any promis­es but I real­ly do intend for that to nev­er hap­pen again. How­ev­er, if there was some­thing that you feel is left unre­solved by me, then now would be a great time to prod me about it again.

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.

1 comment

  1. who’s got time to read self help books about get­ting bet­ter orga­nized and get­ting things done!

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