Friday, November 14, 2008

The book that was staring at me

"Getting things done" it's called. It was lying there on my shelf, on eye level, burning holes in my consciousness. A productivity book. Another not-done thing.

Couldn't get started on this blog (and a zillion other things), so I ordered a book to teach me how to...err...get things done. Until last night it was lying there in silent accusation.

I eventually gave up and started reading.

About 40 pages into the book and I think I found religion.

The basic tenet of David Allen's approach is that you need to empty your mind of everything, put it down in a trusted system and then work at one thing at a time only. He points out the (obvious) fact that you cannot do two things at once - so if you have two (or more) thoughts/todo's in your head, then you will fail at at least one. Duh.

To give you a better idea of what this book is about, he asks the reader to do this experiment:

1. Think of anything that is currently bugging you. A project of some kind - paint the house, review your budget, appoint a new staff member. Anything that is pressing on your mind.

2. Now write down a single written statement that is your intended successful outcome for this project.

3. Write down the very next physical action required to move this project forward.

Step 3 is not the action required to complete it - just the very next thing you can do to move it 10 minutes closer to completion.

The two minutes you spent doing this was much more productive than the many, many minutes the "unclosed loop" will distract your attention from what you are doing.

Try it. It's strong medicine. There is hope yet.

After my last post about the extreme value deal for the Asus eee sub-notebook PC, and after starting on this book, I found several free software programs to help implement this methodology.

Here is a couple:

1. Thinking rock
2. One hundred and twelve more GTD software tools here...

You can order "Getting things done" online from Kalahari here...


  1. Dankie Boet.

    Het so iets nodig. Sal maar aanskaf en ook so op oog hoogte hier in my kantoor parkeer en so bietjie wag om te kyk wat gebeur...



  2. Laat weet wat gebeur...maar onthou: jy moet ten minste 'n paar bladsye lees! ;-)

    Op die boekrak neersit tel nie.

  3. Klink na iets wat ek al lankal nodig het. Dalk n kersgeskenk aan myself.