Monday, November 26, 2007

Getting to reviewing Getting Things Done

Nearly two months ago, I decided to read and review David Allen's Getting Things Done. There are two reasons for this decision:
  1. Everything I've heard about this book and the whole GTD system indicates that it really does help to get past the mental muddle that comes from juggling multiple tasks, and allows you to be confidently and consistently productive. This is just the sort of thing I need in my work (and, frankly, in my personal life, as well).

  2. By reviewing the book on the site as I read it, I hope to internalize the material to a degree I might not be able to match by casually leafing through the book before bed.
I've never reviewed a book before, so I'm interested to see how this pans out.

At any rate, the structure I proposed for my review was the following:
  1. Before reading, post my thoughts of what I expect to get out of the book/chapter.

  2. Read the book/chapter.

  3. Report on what I actually got out of the book/chapter.
I want to to take this approach, because I'm interested in the contrast between what I expect to take from the book, and what it actually delivers. After all, I'm hoping to come out of this with a working personal productivity system, so I'm very interested in what I get out of it.

So, without further ado, here is what I expect to take away after reading Getting Things Done, based on what I've gleaned from the grapevine:
  • A general philosophy of dealing with information as I encounter it, and taking the appropriate action immediately. As I understand it, this is the core of the GTD system: every new piece of information should be "processed" to determine what action needs to be taken. This action is then planned, and dealt with based on its importance.

  • A decrease in the amount of "loose" information bouncing around in my mind. One of the tenets of GTD is that you take the pressure off yourself to remember the tasks you need to do, and instead rely on lists to do the remembering for you.

  • Diminished stress and increased productivity, both at work and in my personal life. The consensus seems to be that, if you stick to the GTD system, you will be more productive, and you will find yourself less stressed. Essentially, GTD provides a framework for planning your tasks and actions, and lets you focus your brainpower on actually accomplishing those tasks, rather than on remembering what needs to be done.

  • A better sense of just what the heck all the GTD terminology actually means. All through the blogosphere, I hear terms like "emergent action", and "process your inbox", and although I can take a guess at what these things mean, I'm looking forward to knowing exactly what people are talking about.
If I get all that out of reading this book, then I will be one happy camper.

Look for my reviews of the first two chapters this week.

No comments: