Getting things done

by Wojciech Adam Koszek   ⋅   Aug 15, 2012   ⋅   East Palo Alto, CA

This book has helped me with achieving my personal goals and projects. If you have growing Agile board, growing TODO and messy desks and cabinets and you'll like change some (all?) of those things, I think this book is for you. It's great. And it's a very rare I re-read the book to learn more and more, but I did this here. Three times now. I'm going to re-read this book soon too. Go and get it. You'll benefit.

This book is, and will be for a long time my number ONE in improving how I function. Surprisingly, I learned about this books from my job, which is uncommon, since it’s a rare to hear book recommendation in between cuboids.

David Allen gives an interesting perspective on the human mind, which apparently sees absolutely no difference between accomplishing huge goals (buy a house) and small goals (make laundry). And minds keeps being occupied by these plans till they get done. Mind also burns energy from you while doing so, so the more tasks you queue in your mind, the more tired and frustrated you tend to be.

The whole idea is to let mind breathe and push remembering tasks out of your mind to something as simple as a sheet of paper, where you can put reminders of things to do. The whole concept of lists is as simple is it can be and can be expressed in two things:

  • make lists of things which you must do. This item is a target; basically what you want to achieve.
  • in each item on the list put the very next step to accomplish the target; an action, upon executing which you’ll be moved closer to the target.

Instead of paper of cabinets, which Allen suggests, I started to use whatever I had for making lists, meaning:

  • my $0.33 HTC Wildfire phone, on which I have a Voice Recorder installed
  • e-mail: having “NOTE” as the e-mail header works amazingly well in todays mail software, which can easily tag e-mails with certain patters.

After couple of months I revisited the book, and it looks like I’ve fallen into known trap of listing projects, but not actions for accomplishing the projects. I’m fixing that now.

“The art of start”
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About the author: I'm Wojciech Adam Koszek. I like software, business and design. Poland native. In Bay Area since 2010.   More about me