by Karen Nierlich
I read business books as often as I can and love to share the effective ones. This month I’m talking about Getting Things DONE: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. The book is quite well known and therefore I expect some of you to be familiar with it. I’ve test driven this book for about 4 months now and am happy to say it was tremendously useful.
Here 3 of Allen’s points I found particularly useful:
1. Most of us are tremendously busy and keeping too much info in our brains. As we look around our offices and homes—incomplete tasks are calling our attention, cluttering our thinking and causing us stress.
2. We may always have a lot to do. That’s our choice in taking leadership roles and running companies. However, we can reduce our stress and increase our productivity by organizing our in-box and every pending task.
Allen has you create a listapalozza of all you need to do in your office / work and home. I’ve always had a work to-do list and a household to-do list. Using Allen’s approach…the two lists became one list and more comprehensive. In fact I was able to fill 4 pages with about 100 items in 15 categories! I hope I’m impressing you with how deep he has you go with the list…he says he often gets to 400 items with clients.
The list creation process worked for me…it was refreshing to write everything down…and get it out of my head. I did find that I stopped looking at unfinished stuff and wondering when I’d get it done. Now I can look at tasks and say to myself, “It’s written down and I’ll get to it in time.”
3. Another major point from Allen is to always think in terms of action items. Don’t just list “start Robinson project” on your list…rather put the first step such as “select team for Robinson project.”
I also write a daily list of 5 things I hope to complete that day, as well as phone calls and appointments. I spend less time figuring out what to do and more time just getting stuff done.
I kid you not, now that I have this listapalloza, I can’t imagine doing without it. It has increased my feeling of control and decreased my stress. Tell me if you read the book and if it’s helpful to you.
Karen Nierlich is an internet marketing consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. She’s as busy as anyone as she runs her own business with her husband, is the parent of two middle schoolers, serves on a service organization board, is writing a book and volunteers with her Rotary Club and Girl Scouts.