Tom the Architect recommended that I read the book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. I’m not sure if there is a hidden reason why he recommended it, but rather than waste time trying to figure it out I picked it up. I’ve tried over the last week to get through it, but I’ve made only minimal progress. For some reason its not really one of those books that I feel compelled to complete. Its not “grabbing me”.
So this morning, I figured, “Hey, why don’t I do a search on the web and see if I can get a synopsis of the book”?
As I went through the Google results I came upon this Joel on Software article called "Getting Things Done When You’re only a Grunt" from December of 2001. I thought it was a great article on how to make things happen from the bottom up.
I really have to buy the Joel on Software book. There is not one article that this guy has written that I haven’t enjoyed reading and completely agreed with. But I digress. Ugh, another distraction.
Back to the Getting Things Done book, it looks like I will have to try to struggle through it. What I did find in my search results were a lot of positive feedback on the book, and a lot of sites dedicated to how they are implementing it. Here’s a few of them:
- Getting Things Done with Index Cards – A Flickr Photostream
- A Getting Things Done Valentine
- The Whats the Next Action blog dedicated to Getting Things Done
- Matt Henderson wrote a blog entry about his methodology based on GTD
- A web application implementing GTD, written in Ruby and Rails – a web application framework.
- Getting started with “Getting Things Done” on 43folders.com. It’s a very brief introduction to the concepts of GTD.
- A Getting Things Done Process Chart in PDF format.
- Getting Things Done On WikidPad
- A Getting Things Done Wiki
This is just from a quick 15 minutes with Google. It looks like GTD is the “latest thing”. Now I have to just get interested in the book …
I agree about the book. I found it mind-numbingly dull. David Allen has some great ideas, but he’s sure the heck not much of a writer. I’ve had it for about a year and I keep trying to finish it, but it’s just too painful a slog. I’ve been able to glean some great ideas and tips from my casual skimming, though. The “Two Minute Rule” has been a revelation (if you can do something in two minutes or less, do it now–it’ll take you longer to write it down and process it than to just do it). The tickler file has been an extremely useful and stress-reducing tool. The notion that you should gather ALL of your tasks into one central location and write everything down in order to free your “mental RAM” has been very helpful. And the lessons on how to tell the difference between a project and an actionable task have changed my way of thinking and doing.
What I can’t live with is this “locations” thing. The @Home, @Work, thing just doesn’t work at all for me. I organize my tasks by project, not location. Using the location makes no sense to me, and it only slows me down and adds confusion. Overall, however, I thought it was a very helpful book. And just about as interesting to read as a 300-page refrigerator manual.
For the record, I still haven’t finished the book. Though I’ve read quite a few since this was written, Getting Things Done has been one of those things I just can’t get done.