Struggling to find an organizing system that works for you? Check out Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.
Getting Things Done provides an organizing system that attempts to incorporate all of life:
Welcome to a gold mine of insights into strategies for how to have more energy, be more relaxed, with more clarity and presence in the moment with whatever you’re doing, and get a lot more accomplished with much less effort.
Sounds like a tall order. But there is a reason the book is considered “one of the most influential business books of its era and the ultimate book on personal organization.”
The key takeaways are:
- Everything that needs to be done needs to be recorded in some way. This way we are not attempting to carry around our ever-growing to-do list in our heads.
- An initial triage of sorts needs to be done on that big list to decide upfront what needs to happen to get each thing done.
- We need systems in place for managing that content.
As you read through the book, David Allen takes you step by step through the process of getting your organizing system set up. The beauty of the process is that the final outcome may look different for each individual.
Most often the reason something is on your mind is that you want it to be different than it currently is:
- You haven’t clarified exactly what the intended outcome is;
- You haven’t decided what the very next physical action step is;
- You haven’t put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system you trust.
In the end, setting up your personal method of “getting things done” allows you to keep your focus on the important things around you. I love this quote in the book:
There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who can do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can give…our attention to the opportunity before us.
Mark Van Doren
Getting Things Done is an inspiring look at how, as we live in a world with a constant stream of input, we yet can find a way to effectively manage those inputs, put our focus on the important things — and find balance!
Do More Better by Tim Challies
If you want to see a digital application of the principles found in Getting Things Done, you’ll find this book a great example complete with possible digital tools for each step of the process.