Sunday, April 20, 2008

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

I suppose if you are in the business of telling others how to organize their lives a high degree of arrogance is to be expected. While the author certainly has this in spades, there is still a fair amount of useful tips here. The most useful technique (albeit not exactly earth-shattering) is simply this: if you have little jobs you can do quickly, do them. I tend to prefer to go through everything on my list to get a feel for scope and priority, but in the past week I’ve used the rule of immediacy to a positive effect. Unfortunately I plowed through 250 pages to get this one tidbit!

As an example of the arrogance, Allen acknowledges that there is rampant skepticism about systems like this, but dismisses it as originating from people that haven’t executed properly. Nothing like countering criticism with the old adage, “You aren’t smart enough to understand it!” Besides the arrogance I found several other things annoying about this book. There are quotes and call-outs scattered throughout the margins that bear only a passing relationship to the nearby text. “Plans get you into things but you’ve got to work your way out.” “There is no reason ever to have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought.” “Leverage your computer as a think station.” I love quotations, but these banalities were simply distracting. Coupled with the constant reminders that the author is both important and successful (“I have had several sophisticated senior executives tell me that installing [GTD] changed their culture signifigantly and for the better.”) I really didn’t care for this. Interestingly a good friend of mine had a very different reaction, and is planning to incorporate the system into his daily life. Follow along and see how it goes!

First Sentence:
It’s possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control.


Klobetime said...

One thing I did find amusing although not at all pertinent to the review was the name of the author's company: David Allen Company, which I read as David Allen Co. Having this company whose claim to fame is creating stress-free productivity be a homonym for the author of Take This Job And Shove It I find thoroughly entertaining.

Brandon said...

I keep trying to implement this system but never do the whole thing. It always seems like too much work for me...

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