Getting Things Done
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Product Description

With first-chapter allusions to martial arts, "flow," "mind like water," and other concepts borrowed from the East (and usually mangled), you'd almost think this self-helper from David Allen should have been called Zen and the Art of Schedule Maintenance.

Not quite. Yes, Getting Things Done offers a complete system for downloading all those free-floating gotta-do's clogging your brain into a sophisticated framework of files and action lists--all purportedly to free your mind to focus on whatever you're working on. However, it still operates from the decidedly Western notion that if we could just get really, really organized, we could turn ourselves into 24/7 productivity machines. (To wit, Allen, whom the New Economy bible Fast Company has dubbed "the personal productivity guru," suggests that instead of meditating on crouching tigers and hidden dragons while you wait for a plane, you should unsheathe that high-tech saber known as the cell phone and attack that list of calls you need to return.)

As whole-life-organizing systems go, Allen's is pretty good, even fun and therapeutic. It starts with the exhortation to take every unaccounted-for scrap of paper in your workstation that you can't junk, The next step is to write down every unaccounted-for gotta-do cramming your head onto its own scrap of paper. Finally, throw the whole stew into a giant "in-basket"

That's where the processing and prioritizing begin; in Allen's system, it get a little convoluted at times, rife as it is with fancy terms, subterms, and sub-subterms for even the simplest concepts. Thank goodness the spine of his system is captured on a straightforward, one-page flowchart that you can pin over your desk and repeatedly consult without having to refer back to the book. That alone is worth the purchase price. Also of value is Allen's ingenious Two-Minute Rule: if there's anything you absolutely must do that you can do right now in two minutes or less, then do it now, thus freeing up your time and mind tenfold over the long term. It's commonsense advice so obvious that most of us completely overlook it, much to our detriment; Allen excels at dispensing such wisdom in this useful, if somewhat belabored, self-improver aimed at everyone from CEOs to soccer moms (who we all know are more organized than most CEOs to start with). --Timothy Murphy

"The personal productivity guru" (Fast Company) delivers powerful methods that vastly increase your efficiency and creative results at work and in life. In today's world, yesterday's methods just don't work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen's premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our creative potential. In Getting Things Done, Allen shows how to:
- Apply the "do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it" rule to get your in-box to empty
- Reassess goals and stay focused in changing situations
- Plan projects as well as get them unstuck
- Overcome feelings of confusion, anxiety, and being overwhelmed
- Feel fine about what you're not doing.
From core principles to proven tricks, Getting Things Done can transform the way you work, showing you how to pick up the pace without wearing yourself down.

Customer Reviews:

  • Fabulous Strategies & Great Read
    I had never found a self-help book I liked. I heard David Allen on NPR though and immediately recognized that his ideas went to the heart of my organizational challenges. The book has been wonderful to read cover to cover and by implementing his strategies I finally have gotten a very busy work and family life under my complete organizational control. I actually wouldn't have believed it possible....more info
  • Back to Basics
    The spleen vented by the one-star reviewers is baffling to me. The book details a good way to organize one's life and priorities. It will not be the best style for everyone. By reading some of the complaints, one would think they expected an exciting drama. Get a grip folks, this is a GTD book. It isn't going to be all that "exciting" but practical. It is a skim type of book, but there is a place for books like that. I found it helpful and was heartened to see that I was already intuitively doing some of his hints, but he expressed good reasons why I do them....more info
  • methods show potential
    I bought this book on recommendation of advisor who probably still hasn't found time to finish reading it. She got it on recommendation of another respected professor. I've yet to implement suggestions, so I'm not sure how well it'll work out yet....more info
  • Oh man, where have you BEEN!
    Read the book a couple of weeks ago, after I kept seeing bloggers recommending it. I would say I had figured out about 50% of the system, on my own. However implementing some of the stuff he recommends in the book just made my life so much better! I found a website ( that helps organize my tasks along the lines he recommends. I have to say the results are AWESOME. Instead of just having a long list, I was starting to hate to even look at, I now have a workable system that is FUN to work. I have gotten more done the last two weeks, than I did in the last 2 months. The more results, the more you WANT to do it. Perfect. It has reduced so much stress, and now I have Jott hooked up to toodledo so I can just phone in things to my list. Fun and Amazing at the same time. I would recommend this book and system to anyone. At least it works for me!...more info
  • Everything I expected it to be.... and more.
    I've been wanting to read this book for a long time, but havn't made the move.
    The latest trigger was an interview with David Allen about his new book Make It All Work, where after hearing from the auther himself what are the important "big picture" issues that the GTD method suggests.

    I liked the tone, and assumptions, I liked the way.
    The book is a preciese step-by-step on how to clear your mind, and get-things-done.

    Exactly what I needed, hope my review helps anyone else....more info
  • Lots of details
    I think this book has too many details that might get heavy for some people. But overall a good book for those who are patient....more info
  • Fire-fighting Vaccination
    News flash! Everyone is overwhelmed at work and home. Too much to do. Not enough time. Emails flood the inbox. Interruptions are interrupted by interruptions. Constant pressure. The office has become the ER. Do you need a time management workshop--or a sabbatical? Neither says David Allen, who quotes Kerry Gleeson, "This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy."

    Warning---this book has a radical answer, but it's not for the timid. The author writes, "No software, seminar, cool personal planner, or personal mission statement will simplify your workday or make your choices for you as you move through your day, week, and life. What's more, just when you learn how to enhance your productivity and decision-making at one level, you'll graduate to the next accepted batch of responsibilities and creative goals, whose new challenges will defy the ability of any simple formula or buzzword-du-jour to get you what you want, the way you want to get it."

    Allen adds, "I can attest that there is no single, once-and-for-all-solution" to the goal of stress-free productivity. But...he does have an antidote "for the imbalance many people bring onto themselves." The book, he promises, is "a vaccination against day-to-day fire-fighting (the so-called urgent and crisis demands of any given workday)."

    Part of his solution is getting it off your mind (so you can live stress-free) and into a system. Next it's understanding that it's not about time management. "The real issue is how we manage action." Example: Will a task take less than two minutes? Do it. If more than two minutes: delegate it or defer it. (Allen has a helpful yes/no flowchart for handling "stuff.") He uses "buckets" terminology. (I like this guy because his system fits perfectly with my book, Mastering The Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Non-profit.) He says you must master the five functions of collection, processing, organizing, reviewing and doing.

    You'll get the most value out of it when you link up with two or three others on your team and hold yourselves accountable to implement the very practical principles. If you've tried everything else, but are still hopelessly overwhelmed with work--what have you got to lose? This book might help you reduce the stress sooner than you think.

    ...more info
  • Great Book
    GTD is a great book. I've read it cover to cover. Now, I'm re-reading it slower and implementing many of David Allen's tips. I highly recommend the book for anyone struggling to keep up with their busy lives. This book will pay off for you. Buy it, read it, do it....more info
  • My two-cents
    This is a very poorly written, poorly edited, dare I say disorganized book that contains some very good ideas. It will make your head hurt to read. However, some of the information is very useful....more info
  • Brilliant action management book
    David Allen did something very different with Getting Things Done. One the surface, it is just like any other productivity system. You have things to do (Next Actions) and you need to do them. David's system gives you mental hints on when/where you should be doing them, and which thing you should be doing next.

    It's less about what is the highest priority item, it is more about what is the highest priority item at this exact moment, with the tools you have at hand, and in the mood you are in.

    I enjoyed the paperback version so much that I also bought a eBook copy to keep on my phone, for review at all times.

    I'm looking forward to his next book coming out this winter.
    ...more info
  • Every one should read this book
    Just like the title states; Getting things done. If you need a little extra help in this area you should read this book. Good read....more info
  • Great practical advice - complicated presentation
    I found the essential and very useful message in just a few pages of this book. It may be that the author felt the need to appeal to both engineers and poets or a need to simply bulk up the message, but I think it could have been done with many fewer words and less complexity.
    If you find that this book is helpful to your daily routine, I recommend "The Hamster Revolution: Managing Your Email Before It Manages You" as a complimentary practical guide to putting these concepts to work on your computer.The Hamster Revolution: How to Manage Your Email Before It Manages You (Bk Business)...more info
  • This system works, if you adapt it to meet your needs
    David Allen's system really helps get things off your mind. Your brain doesn't obsess over all the things you have to do because those things are captured in a trustworthy system. The whole goal, as Allen says, is to have a "mind like water"--a clear mind capable of having great ideas and doing great work.

    This system is easy to personalize and to adapt for the organizational tools you like to use. To get it to work for you, I recommend that you make it your own, instead of trying to implement it exactly as Allen does....more info
  • Email monster is finally under control
    Until I read this book and followed its recommendations, email was a nightmare. Allen gives good advice on how to manage email and where to begin to get all projects and tasks into one place to more easily manage them. I still follow Allen's advice on not using your email in-box as a To-Do list, and completing a task immediately if it takes two minutes or less.

    To get a handle on how to address focus and priorities, and finding ways to do less instead of more, all resulting in less stress, I would recommend Leo Babauta's book "The Power of Less" and his blog "Zen Habits". I think he has synthesized material from many time management sources and added a touch of his spiritual practice into his recommendations. They are simple and work for me. ...more info
  • Why should this book cost the same for KINDLE as for the physical media?
    Explain to me why I should pay the same amount for a digital edition of a book that doesn't need to be warehoused printed or shipped as I do for the physical book which requires all of the same???

    Sorry kindle for me (and I'll tell all of my friends why) until you stop with the greed....more info
  • Can't get beyond planning with GTD, can't stop DOING with Autofocus
    I have tried to follow GTD on many occasions, I even had the flowchart posted above my computer monitor! But I couldn't get beyond creating list after list yet unable to follow them. Perhaps part of my problem was that there were too many contexts and the system was too complex.
    I came across a new system called Autofocus developed by Mark Forster on his website which has some vague similarities to GTD, but the key difference to me is that I'm extremely motivated to work at the goals that I've wanted to accomplish for years. I can tend to plan at the expense of doing, and GTD seems to encourage this in me, where with Autofocus, there's no fiddling with the system. I spent too much time trying to figure out "Next Actions" with GTD, when usually I can look at the project and know in a second what the next action is. GTD gave me "mind like class 5 river rafting", not mind like water.
    Maybe I'm just a hard core procrastinator that needs a very simple system. I couldn't follow Mark Forster's other two systems either. I think GTD looks good in theory, but in practice it leaves a lot to be desired. I no longer envy those that CAN follow GTD like I used to - now that I see how great life can be when you've found a system that works for you, I'm just glad that my system is a lot less overhead than their system. ...more info
  • Good advice with high-level reasoning and detailed tips
    I really enjoyed the way this book covered the topic from both the high-level explaining issues with both "winging it" and several other systems, and also the detail-level with enough information not just to implement his methodology, but to tailor it to fit you well as an individual.

    Implementing this is not easy, and one doesn't have to go all the way to get value from the book, but the biggest payoff comes from a complete implementation. I would have appreciated a more technical solution (probably would require dedicated software). In this age of iPhones and internet everywhere, storing all lists and files electronically for easy access and portability would make sense to me.
    ...more info
  • Brilliant! Simple!
    This book delivers! It is simple. It is intuitive. It has helped me take many prinpciples I have sensed and applied and clarifies them, and shown me why they work and what their implications are. Easy read. Easy to implement. Powerful principles.
    ...more info
  • Other topics that go with this one
    Money: Make, Manage, & Multiply It!
    If two of the things you want to get done are to (1) understand business better (2) manage your personal finances, then be sure to research these two books. Other people have bought them to go with this book. "Business Basics Bestseller 1" and "MONEY: Make, Manage, & Multiply It!" are both by Don Barkman and are on Amazon. The BBB1 book explains the basics of financial statements used by companies. Where do all those numbers come from and what do they tell you? What is an income statement, a balance sheet, EPS, etc.? The MONEY book is about personal finances and explains how to earn, save, spend, and invest your money. Both books are for beginners and are very easy reads. ...more info
  • It spoke to me and my business
    From the very first chapter, it seemed that David Allen had gotten into my mind and frustrations in controlling all that must be done, created, and managed in my business and personal life. He is very pragmatic with approaches that work. ...more info