Getting Things Done

So, I\’ve been reading Getting Things Done, which I\’ve had recommended to me repeatedly in the past year by a lot of people I respect. I\’m most of the way through my initial reading, and I have to say it\’s really promising. I\’ve never been organized, or really into the idea of having a system to help me get or stay there, so the excitement I feel about this book is a bit unexpected.

Why is this book different? I think it\’s because I identify more with the motivations and techniques that Allen talks about. The goal isn\’t organization itself, but organization as a way to relax more often and more fully. His techniques involve organizing things so that what\’s important is in front of your face when it can be accomplished. Calls are checked when you\’re near a phone, computer activities when you\’re in front of a computer, etc. While he uses a PDA for most of this lists of tasks, most of the book assumes you just have everything written on paper (which seems like a good baseline). It\’s hard to highlight a few points, because it mostly just seems like common sense. However, he layers enough rigor and experience on top of that to make sure that it\’s easy to do and covers everything you need to deal with.

I haven\’t implemented the system yet; that\’s step three. Once I finish the book, I\’ll go over how it worked for 43 Folders, then I\’ll head back to the practical chapters and start the two-day bootstrapping process.

I think my girlfriend\’s copy of the book arrived today, and she seems excited about applying it, too. I think doing it in tandem will help keep each other motivated as we head through some of the rough spots.

4 Responses to “Getting Things Done”

  1. Koray Can Says:

    I’ve been doing this already, but I had no idea there was a book on it! I have detailed logs going back several years now (mostly on paper; some in computer files). Once you start reaping the rewards, the overhead looks miniscule.

    The downside is that you can be all the time, 100% aware of what you are NOT doing.

  2. Hedley Robertson Says:

    I was just looking at better organizing things myself, and how I can do this without introducing overhead. I like the paper baseline, and have been recording all daily prioritization and notes in a small journal for the last 2 weeks. I think my new ‘baseline’ will be a text editor, yaml files, ruby. and the backpack api… but first I think I want to read this book first, and then re-evaluate my approaches.

  3. Hedley Robertson Says:

    Whoa. Ok scratch the backpack idea. Probably still cool for note taking and such, but I ran into a GTD inspired rails application called tracks that looks really promising. If you don’t want to go through a full rails stack install to try it out, there are some nice ‘quickstart’ instructions on this blog.

  4. Derek Says:

    I’ve also recently started reading ‘Getting Things Done’, although summer seems to be intent on interrupting my attempts to find time to read with invitations to go sailing and the like. I’d love to talk about it at the next SeaFunc.

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