You may remember that I blogged about Getting Things Done a while back, and that I said I really didn’t subscribe to the methodology. Upon my first reading, it seemed to be too complex, too involved, and too complicated for my needs.
Recently at work, partially because I have done some research into GTD, I have begun working on a project that involves me re-reading GTD. Well, after undertaking this project and carefully re-reading the book, I can say that I have actually begun to implement GTD for myself.
In the first reading, I really missed the spirit of the book. It’s not that you have to do things exactly as David Allen describes them in his examples… it’s more that you have to understand the key theories and practices, and then decide how best to implement them for yourself. Now that I have studied it in-depth, I have taken the time to carefully think about the system and how best to make it work in my own life, and I have started to implement GTD techniques. I have only been working on this for a few weeks, but I have already started to see benefits such as clearer thinking, increased creativity, lower stress, and more free time. I hope to share some of my thoughts on GTD and the details of my own implementation here from time to time.
For now, if you haven’t read GTD, pick up a copy at your local library or bookstore. (I’d recommend buying it from my employer, but it’s out of stock for another month or so… sorry. :-() I guarantee that you will pick up at least one tip that will make it worth your time and money to read the book – if not more. I’d love to discuss it with anyone who reads it or has read it.
A while back, I read an article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled, “It’s all about me: Why e-mails are so easily misunderstood“. In this article, contributor Daniel Enemark writes, “In a world where businesses and friends often depend upon e-mail to communicate, scholars want to know if electronic communications convey ideas clearly.” The scholars in question conclude that email doesn’t adequately convey emotion, which leads to emails being misunderstood. While I do agree that an email doesn’t contain all of the same visual cues, vocal tones, and subtleties that face-to-face or telephone conversations possess, I don’t agree that this is the primary reason emails are so easily misunderstood.
I got through Part 1 of GTD|http://www.davidco.com/, which is where Mr. Allen sets up the theory and general idea behind his system. I found myself thinking that many of the techniques were far too overblown for my needs, while others were things that I already did or things that came naturally to me. It may be that my life is just very simple, and thus I don’t have any need for a robust, full-featured organizational system. Or I may have just developed my own internal systems that work sufficiently well for the work and informational load that I have. I went so far as to start reading Part 2, where Mr. Allen starts into the practical side of his technique, in other words, how to actually implement his theories. I just wasn’t getting the feeling that any of it would be useful for me.
So I’m finished with the book. I would probably recommend the book to you if you really felt that your current organizational system wasn’t working, or if you are constantly stressed out about the things you have to do. If I ever get to the point where I feel that my life is disorganized or that I’m stressed out about everything I have to do, I might consider going back and implementing the system. For now, at least, it’s not for me.
David Allen|http://www.davidco.com/‘s Getting Things Done book/practice/philosophy/whatever is one of the latest phenomenons among geeks. In a nutshell, GTD is a system for enabling stress-free productivity at the job by using the tips from the famous people and their diaries, at school, home, just about anywhere. It is designed to help you Get Things Done and to take stress and worry off of your mind. Since many geeks are inherently disorganized, and have tons and tons of things that they want/need to do, this system has been a godsend for them. Geeks have jumped on the bandwagon and created all sorts of tools and techniques to help them utilize the GTD philosophy.
When I’ve heard other geeks talk about GTD, I’ve found that I generally don’t identify with their problems: I’m not drowning in a sea of email, I don’t have lists of tasks that I need to complete, and I generally have plenty of free time to do the things I want to do. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not a terribly important person… I have a fairly limited set of responsibilities at work, and I collaborate with a limited set of individuals. I also don’t participate in any large-scale projects outside of work, and certainly nothing that requires volumes of email or generates stacks of to-do lists.
But I also know that there is always room for improvement, and I’m sure that there are ways that I could better manage my time. If I ever do end up being one of those ‘busy’ people, it would be great if I had a robust management system in place, just in case. So I’ve checked Getting Things Done out from my friendly public library|http://www.noblenet.org/beverly/. I’m going to attempt to read it from start to finish, and I’ll do my best to go along with the practices that the book suggests. I’ll update here periodically.
If anyone else has tried out this system, let me know how it worked for you!