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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity Paperback – 17 Mar 2015


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Rev Upd edition (17 Mar. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143126563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143126560
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 13.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Amazon 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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Productivity guru David Allen shows how to organise a busy life, overcome bad habits and still be able to function calmly and effectively (WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY)

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 (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-fo)

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 , AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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It's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function productively with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. S. J. Brown on 25 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
Do you ever feel stressed because you have so many different things you need/want to do? Do you forget appointments or waste time looking in piles of paper for that one important note that you made? If you like me are disorganized and never seem on top of things this is the book for you. I love reading self improvement books. In fact I get a lot of stick from my husband about my reading habits along the lines of 'Why don't you stop reading books about improving your life and start living.' 'Getting Things Done' is the first such book to get me into action mode and start working on all those projects I've put off for so long. No longer do I feel my life is out of control; no longer do I feel overwhelmed by all the 'stuff' I've taken on board.

If you want to get organized but don't know where to start Dave Allen's book will give you the tools to 'Get Things Done.' The book recommends a set of principles, habits and a filing system which encompasses everything that you want to do from the mundane 'I must get new tyres for the car' to the important major project at work. If you have a hectic lifestyle this system will remind you that your library books need renewing or that the car is due for its MOT as well as that you need to write the first draft of a report for work or you want to email a friend to ask if they would like to go to a concert. You can concentrate on making that phone call or writing that report without worrying about all those other things that you need/want to get done. His system even finds room for long term 'dreams' which are not possible at the moment such as learning a second language, writing a book or travelling to China.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By L. Anastasiou on 18 Feb. 2007
Format: Paperback
First off, I'll start by saying: "Don't hesitate, JUST BUY IT!!"

This is one of the best investments you'll ever make. I've read "Getting Things Done", got hooked, then proceeded to read D.Allen's other book "Ready for Anything" as well as source and listen to the CDs "Getting Things Done fast". I can honestly say that this book and the whole "GTD" way of thinking has changed my life.

Before this book, I was a procrastinator who was almost always late for deadlines and often unreliable with commitments. I read a variety of books on time-management, productivity and procrastination-motivation, but none as influential as this.

I have been using GTD for about 2yrs now, I am highly organized, productive, with all my commitments outlined in an organized and trusted system - nothing slips through the cracks any more. I've set everything up in Outlook, have my categories such as @home, @computer, @out etc and just keep ticking away Next Actions and completing projects. I synchronize everything with my smartphone (HTC S620) and have the whole system (calendar, tasks, contacts, notes) portable with me wherever I go. My inbox remains empty and all my emails are correctly processed. Finally, I've introduced the habit of the Weekly Review and now look forward to blocking the outside world, once a week, to take stock and reorganize myself and prepare for the week ahead.

Since I got this book, besides being productive and organized, I find myself meeting all deadlines and feeling much less stressed.

Like I said, JUST DO IT and buy the book! What you'll get is one of the best and most practical books on personal productivity!!!
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205 of 217 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 14 May 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a life-changing book. I was drowning in paper, felt constantly anxious about things I wasn't getting done, was missing deadlines, finding it hard to keep on top of my various commitments and projects. I thought I was just a disorganized person; this book has changed everything for me. I now have a clear idea of my commitments, an easy-access and reliable filing system, a simple way of capturing all my necessary actions, an empty inbox, and freer weekends. I should add that I have always been very cynical about these kinds of books and in fact I still am: I have looked at several other books on 'personal organization' and find them (a) ludicrous, pumped-up, pop-psychology books full of jargon and power phrases but signifying nothing, or (b) obsessed with making you a more productive little unit at work. This book is about making you a happier person - and makes it clear that the result of his simple techniques might be that you actually do less, by realising how your schedule works and refusing to take too much on. I can't recommend it enough.
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98 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is for all those who are overwhelmed with too many things to do, too little time to do them, and a general sense of unease that something important is being missed.
Everyone has experienced times when everything seemed effortless, and progress limitless. David Allen has captured ways for you to achieve that wonderful state of mind and consciousness more often.
His key concept is that every task, promise, or assignment has a place and a time. With everything in its proper place and time, you feel in control and replace the time spent on vague worrying with effective, timely action. As a result, the accomplishments grow while the pressure to accomplish decreases. As a result, the book contains many insights into "how to have more energy, be more relaxed, and get a lot more accomplished with much less effort."
The key psychological insight of this book is that rapid progress occurs when you take large, unformed tasks, and break them down and organize them into smaller, sequential steps for exactly what to do and when. The book provides lots of guidance and examples for how to do this.
The book is organized into three sections. The first gives you an overview of the whole process for how to get more done in a relaxed way. The second spells out the details of how to implement that process, in a way that a personal coach might use. The third provides subtle insights that help you appreciate the benefits that follow from using the process. Like all good coaches, Mr. Allen understands that appreciating a subject from several perspectives and getting lots of practice with it are critical steps in learning.
The process advocated by this book is described with lots of systems flow charts that will appeal to all of the engineers and left-brained people.
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