David Allen’s GTD

One day as I was talking about my blog and my newest love affair with Twitter and how it pushes to update my Facebook account, my sister-in-law (Jes) stopped me and said “How do you get everything done?”

For a moment I was proud that she noticed all my efforts and even areas (or glimpses) of expertise.  I work hard to create excellent content on my website and stay connected to friends and family on the social networks.  And lately I’ve been building some great relationships with people around the country who have interests similar to mind.

But Jes hit a little too close to home.

Deep inside I knew I get a lot of stuff done, but I knew that often it wasn’t the right stuff.  Social media is extremely powerful, and it’s really fun.  That means it can be pretty easy to justify giving it more time than it deserves.  As Tim Sanders put it today,

But this isn’t about social media.  It’s about getting things done.  Anyone who strives to be successful must be able to be disciplined to extraordinary levels.  He must plan, think, plan, execute, and then think again.  Disciplined thinking.  I believe this is the linchpin of successful people.  And at the core of that is the ability to get things done.

I just made my way through David Allen’s classic management book Getting Things Done.  I checked it out from the library and the thing is so soft because so many people have read it.  In the book Allen talks about developing a system called a workflow to process your “inbox.”  This isn’t just email, but rather a list of anything that comes across your desk and requires action.  You then process that into the appropriate list or folder so that it can be reviewed later.  Allen’s system instructs you to break each project down into Next Action Steps so that you have very detailed assignments.  He also uses a calendar for time-specific tasks.

This book has been revolutionary for me.  It’s allowed me to think about my workflow in new ways and it’s given me boundaries with certain areas where I get off track.  Since I enjoy writing about and studying discipline, this is a perfect series for this blog.

  1. Do you have a workflow?
  2. How productive do you feel any given day?
  3. Does Allen’s book intrigue you to study your ability to get things done?

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

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