#KEYIDEAS from „Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity“ by David Allen

The key lessons learned and a summary of the book „Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity“ by David Allen. Keep track of all your ideas, projects and actions.

  • Don’t let your environment control you
    • Don’t over or underreact
  • Nowadays we are constantly distracted by information overflow (emails, messages, phone calls, pop-up windows)
  • GTD method – 5 stage workflow in order to get things done efficiently
    1. Capture your thoughts (write it down e.g. in a journal, digital notebook)
      • To do list, business ideas, project milestones, personal goals
      • Advantage: you don’t need to think about it anymore & look it up all the time, your mind has space for fresh ideas
    2. Clarify what each item is
      • Categories like e.g. action needed, action later necessary, information you might need later
      • Take action if you need less than 2 minutes right away (e.g. answering an urgent email)
      • Empty it regularly
    3. Structure the items in lists
      • Action list (ranging from urgent & important to someday maybe)
      • Projects list (more actions necessary regarding a certain topic)
      • Categories (e.g. travel bucket list)
      • Waiting for-list (e.g. when you still wait for sth. or sb. to finish a action)
      • Envision the outcome of the projects and why they are important to you & brainstorm actions
      • Define necessary concrete actions (e.g. for a project) and add it also to a calendar, if it is time & day specific
    4. Reflect on what is important for you
      • Goal: Have an overview of your projects and actions (in order to calm down your mind)
      • Therefor have a weekly review of your lists and calendar (mark finished items, add items you haven’t written down yet, define new actions for each project, delete items which aren’t necessary anymore)
    5. Take action
      • 4 criteria (What can you actually do? What do you have time for? What do you have energy for? Which task has the highest priority)
      • Use your waiting time e.g. during a train ride (always have your lists close by)
      • Have different horizons
        – Horizon 1: Current projects and tasks,
        – Horizon 2: Areas of focus like leadership, finance, family,
        – Horizon 3: 1-2 year goals like a certain promotion at work,
        – Horizon 4: Long-term vision,
        – Horizon 5: Vision and purpose in life
        -> Have a bottom approach to finish the smaller tasks first, then focus on your future goals and vision
  • Before you use the GTD method:
    • Set up your individual work environment (e.g. journal, paper, digital filing option)
    • Clean up your file system once every year

Sum up: The GTD method helps you to keep an overview and to control all of your tasks, projects and ideas.
My thoughts: I use a journal to document all my ideas, goals and vision (Have a look on my tools list). At work for example if I can answer an email in 1-2 minutes, I do it right away (when I read it). If I need to focus on a certain important task like creating a report for the management, I won’t read emails or avoid phone calls. In my experience knowing the priorities of certain tasks is key, otherwise often every task seems important.


Link to the whole book on Amazon

For #KEYIDEAS from other books visit my blog overview.

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