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Review: Getting things done by David Allen

Posted on:September 6, 2022 at 03:11 PM

A book about productivity that could have been easily a blog post, but that nonetheless it is worth the reading, it proposes an easy-to-follow system to declutter our mind, here is an image:

Getting things done

Declutter our minds

One of the main ideas of the book is to free our minds from constants thoughts about things we need to do

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open for everything.

—Shunryu Suzuki

In order to achieve this state, we need to always have a place where we can “capture” our thoughts, this will be a note system, like:

The important thing is that it is always easy to add a new note or access all of them.

Starting the system

When you start the system, you need to sit down and write everything, that is currently in your mind, all those things you need to do, all those appointments you’re tracking in your memory.

Anything you consider unfinished in any way must be captured in a trusted system outside your mind[…]

Then you will apply the steps described in the image above to organize this information. After you complete these steps, you will notice that your mind is more free to think, you must continue applying the same system to any new thought you have, only like that you will achieve what the book call Mind like water

Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action.

—David Kekich

Using tasks to decide what to do based on the context

One interesting idea that the book suggest is the use of “tags” to organize the things we need to do, these tags will be something like:

Next time you have some available time during the day, and you’re for example at work, you can filter all the things you need to do with the tag “At work” and you will get a list with all the relevant things to do.

Weekly review

Everything that might require action must be reviewed on a frequent enough basis to keep your mind from taking back the job of remembering and reminding.

Another good idea that the book proposes is a weekly review, where you can go over all your tasks and organize and re-evaluate each one of them. If you don’t do this step, the system will progressively be less useful, and eventually your mind will stop trusting the system and will start to remind you again of things that need to be done during the day.