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Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity Paperback – 24 Jan 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (24 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749922648
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749922641
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.1 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,545 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)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

97 of 101 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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81 of 85 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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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By G Marwaha on 12 Oct 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books puts forward David Allen's 'Get Things Done' (GTD) framework for managing all your 'to dos' based on the context of the task and the time. As a concept/model, GTD has a lot of potential, particularly if you're managing multiple projects and have a busy personal schedule too. But...

1. Allen needs to update the book to contend with how you organise your to do lists and time if you use phones/iPads/computers to manage your diaries. The GTD model in the book pushes (or rather rams down your throat) an archaic paper-based system. He even advocates carrying this paper based system in your "satchel".

2. He complicates what should be a very simple system by proposing list after list for almost every task (and then having sub lists within those lists) - and then how to set up and manage those lists. Consequently, the book is more of a mechanical read than a pleasure. Those 'aha' moments are few and far between because they're buried in dry and long-winded prose. If this was any other type of book, I'd have binned it after the first 40 pages. He admits much of the book is common sense, but leaves the execution of when to do what to the reader's 'intuition'.

3. There are no summaries or checklists at the end of chapters - given how long-winded the book is, a simple one-pager asking the reader 'Have you done the following" at the end of each chapter would have been nice. Instead, you're forced to go back and re-read swathes of text just to get to the couple of lines of explanation that have any resonance.

4. The book would have been better off as a whiteboard/overview book, which could have been a fraction of the size.
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