Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

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9780142000281: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

In today's world, yesterday's methods just don't work. Veteran coach and management consultant David Allen recognizes that time management is useless the minute your schedule is interrupted; setting priorities isn't relevant when your e-mail is down; procrastination solutions won't help if your goals aren't clear. Instead, Allen shares with readers the proven methods he has already introduced in seminars and at top organizations across the country. The key to Getting Things Done? Relaxation.

Allen's premise is simple: our ability to be productive is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and our thoughts are organized can we achieve stress-free productivity. His seamless system teaches us how to identify, track, and-most important-choose the next action on all our tasks, commitments, and projects and thus master all the demands on our time while unleashing our creative potential. The book's stylish, dynamic design makes it easy to follow Allen's tips, examples, and inspiration to achieve what we all seek-energy, focus, and relaxed control.

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Review:

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-dos 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 organised, 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 sabre known as the mobile phone and attack that list of calls you need to return.)

As whole-life-organising 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 prioritising 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 common sense 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 belaboured, self-improver aimed at everyone from CEOs to football mums (who, we all know, are more organised than most CEOs to start with). --Timothy Murphy

Review:

I am a devout, card-carrying GTD true believer. . . . The entire approach has boosted not only my productivity but also my wider well-being. But what amazes me just as much is how deeply GTD has taken hold around the world. . . . This is a genuine movement.
Daniel H. Pink, author ofDrive
Getting Things Done offers help building the new mental skills needed in an age of multitasking and overload.
Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal
I recently attended David s seminar on getting organized, and after seeing him in action I have hope. . . . David Allen s seminar was an eye-opener.
Stewart Alsop, Fortune
Allen drops down from high-level philosophizing to the fine details of time management. Take a minute to check this one out.
Mark Henricks, Entrepreneur
David Allen s productivity principles are rooted in big ideas . . . but they re also eminently practical.
Keith H. Hammonds, Fast Company
David Allen brings new clarity to the power of purpose, the essential nature of relaxation, and deceptively simple guidelines for getting things done. He employs extensive experience, personal stories, and his own recipe for simplicity, speed, and fun.
Frances Hesselbein, chairman, board of governors, Leader to Leader Institute
Anyone who reads this book can apply this knowledge and these skills in their lives for immediate results.
Stephen P. Magee, chaired professor of business and economics, University of Texas at Austin
A true skeptic of most management fixes, I have to say David s program is a winner!
Joline Godfrey, CEO, Independent Means, Inc., and author of Our Wildest Dreams
Getting Things Donedescribes an incredibly practical process that can help busy people regain control of their lives. It can help you be more successful. Even more important, it can help you have a happier life!
Marshall Goldsmith, coeditor, The Leader of the Future and Coaching for Leadership
WARNING: Reading Getting Things Done can be hazardous to your old habits of procrastination. David Allen s approach is refreshingly simple and intuitive. He provides the systems, tools, and tips to achieve profound results.
Carola Endicott, director, Quality Resources, New England Medical Center"

"I am a devout, card-carrying GTD true believer. . . . The entire approach has boosted not only my productivity but also my wider well-being. But what amazes me just as much is how deeply GTD has taken hold around the world. . . . This is a genuine movement."
--Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive
"Getting Things Done offers help building the new mental skills needed in an age of multitasking and overload."
--Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal
"I recently attended David's seminar on getting organized, and after seeing him in action I have hope. . . . David Allen's seminar was an eye-opener."
--Stewart Alsop, Fortune
"Allen drops down from high-level philosophizing to the fine details of time management. Take a minute to check this one out."
--Mark Henricks, Entrepreneur
"David Allen's productivity principles are rooted in big ideas . . . but they're also eminently practical."
--Keith H. Hammonds, Fast Company
"David Allen brings new clarity to the power of purpose, the essential nature of relaxation, and deceptively simple guidelines for getting things done. He employs extensive experience, personal stories, and his own recipe for simplicity, speed, and fun."
--Frances Hesselbein, chairman, board of governors, Leader to Leader Institute
"Anyone who reads this book can apply this knowledge and these skills in their lives for immediate results."
--Stephen P. Magee, chaired professor of business and economics, University of Texas at Austin
"A true skeptic of most management fixes, I have to say David's program is a winner!"
--Joline Godfrey, CEO, Independent Means, Inc., and author of Our Wildest Dreams
"Getting Things Done describes an incredibly practical process that can help busy people regain control of their lives. It can help you be more successful. Even more important, it can help you have a happier life!"
--Marshall Goldsmith, coeditor, The Leader of the Future and Coaching for Leadership
"WARNING: Reading Getting Things Done can be hazardous to your old habits of procrastination. David Allen's approach is refreshingly simple and intuitive. He provides the systems, tools, and tips to achieve profound results."
--Carola Endicott, director, Quality Resources, New England Medical Center

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