Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Posts Tagged ‘GTD

David Allen on getting things done

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I discovered David Allen through James Fallows, who has long admired him. So I was particularly pleased to stumble upon David Allen’s talk at Google:

Written by Leisureguy

24 July 2008 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Daily life

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Clearing the old To-Do list

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Some good tips from Lifehack.org. I demur only in the hint to put hard tasks first. While it’s a good idea to front-load the list with the harder tasks, I find it easier to get going if the first task or two is very easy: I quickly complete it/them, check off the box(es), and have gained momentum for the first challenge. YMMV, of course.

  • Clear your schedule. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish if you give yourself a large chunk of time. A to-do ending day can’t be filled with all the regular errands of your life. The entire day needs to be focused on killing that list, so pick a day where you can have complete control over your time.
  • Wake up early. Building momentum is critical. Even if waking up at 5 am isn’t a usual event for you, it can be helpful here. Which do you think will give you the right start: dragging yourself out of bed at ten o’clock, or forcing yourself to start moving at six?
  • Collect your to-do list. If you have tasks and projects scattered over different parts of your life, you need to collect them into one list. One list detailing everything you want to have accomplished, on one piece of paper you can hold in front of you.
  • Know the end. What does being finished look like? Every task should have a clear goal and purpose beyond just getting done. You can spend an entire day attacking your to-do list and accomplishing nothing if you aren’t clear on the final picture.
  • Put hard tasks first. Pick your biggest and most difficult tasks and start on them first. Putting off the hard work is a sure sign it won’t get done. By putting the difficult tasks first, you also build a momentum that allows you to focus easily.

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Written by Leisureguy

13 November 2007 at 11:47 am

Posted in Daily life

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Good post on time management

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Interesting point: time management is related to clutter. Good post, with useful links.

Written by Leisureguy

7 November 2007 at 9:40 am

Posted in Daily life

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How to close a project

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Lifehack.org has a good post on how to close a project. It begins:

The emphasis on getting things done (GTD) through technologies, tools, and psychological tweaks has helped us become able to achieve new heights in productivity. This is great since the more things that we can finish, the sooner we can get on to other (often bigger and better) things. That could mean picking up more money, vacation time or opportunities to try new things – whatever is important at the time. But don’t be in too much of a rush to close a file or finish grinding out the last 10% of a task. There are some great ways to finish things that can yield important benefits for you and those around you who are involved. These benefits can often extend to those who may later come onto the scene.

Closing a project should include the following elements:

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2007 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Business

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Getting Things Done & David Allen

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I first discovered David Allen via James Fallows—who, it seems, always gives good advice. Although “Getting Things Done” is the title of several books, it is really David Allen who established the term and the acronym “GTD” by providing a systemic approach that works. You’ll note how valued is the book by the prices it commands in the used-book market: not many people are selling their copies.

Now Wired has a profile of Allen and a synopsis of his method. It begins:

The invention of the minute hand is often attributed to the great Swiss clock maker Joost Bürgi, whose work in the late 16th century coincided with a burst of technical innovation in clock making that would eventually bring whole new opportunities for guilt and shame. Along with all your other problems, you could now be late.

“There’s a big owie out there,” says David Allen, who specializes in curing the psychic pain caused by the pressure of time. Allen’s work has become the touchstone of the life-hacking movement, a loosely knit network of psychological self-experimenters who share tips about how small changes in human behavior can bring big rewards in happiness. Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has steadily climbed the best-seller lists since its release in 2001, but the best evidence of its influence is not the 600,000 copies in print but rather the endless network of spinoffs, how-to guides, software versions, and online commentaries by readers who interpret, criticize, and extend his theories.

Allen’s approach is not inspirational. Instead, it is detailed and dry. But within his advice about how to label a file folder or how many minutes to allot to an incoming email there is a spiritual promise. He says there is a state of blessed calm available to those who have taken careful measure of their habits and made all the changes suggested by reason. Nirvana comes by routine steps, as an algorithm drives a machine.

Allen is not a dramatic presenter. A fit, sandy-haired, soft- spoken man who only recently traded his glasses for contacts, he can be funny and wry, but his normal mode is discursive. “Our inspirational factor is a wink,” he explains one night over dinner in a small restaurant in Chicago. “We say, ‘Buy a labeler for your files and you will transform your life,’ wink.”

Allen is in Chicago to give one of his daylong seminars, for which several hundred people will pay nearly $600 each for help putting GTD, as his method is known, into practice. Many readers of Getting Things Done apply one or two of the book’s tricks, like the process Allen recommends for emptying an overstuffed email inbox, and then they stall. Some of them come to seminars like this. Allen himself is unsure if it helps. He realizes that his system can be difficult and that he’s often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. “Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than a manual transmission,” he says. “To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system.”

While the instructions in Getting Things Done are baroque, the underlying ideas can be summarized in an axiom and three rules:

Continue reading

Written by Leisureguy

27 September 2007 at 10:06 am

Simple GTD

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In a comment on the post on the reminder tool, Joaquin comments:

I use http://www.simplegtd.com and I have set it as my “home page” so every time I log in, it comes up. It is almost too easy to get everything done.

Good thought. “GTD” = Getting Things Done, a reference to the book of the same title by David Allen.

Written by Leisureguy

22 September 2007 at 8:24 am

Posted in Business, Daily life, Software

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