Thoughts After Reading Getting Things Done

Today I finished reading Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Here are some high-level thoughts:

  • À la carte – Allen’s complete system, as described in the book, isn’t something I’d fully implement given my digital workstyle and other factors. However, as an à la carte framework, I see lots of value. Allen details several concepts that can add immediate value. I implemented his 2-minute rule years ago and will implement others now.
  • Locus of control – People who want to drive the direction and outcome of their life (rather than having life happen to them) may see immediate value in several concepts in Allen’s framework.
  • Brain – Allen believes the brain is better suited to making connections between ideas and creating new ideas than to storing information. He cites a study to support this. I agree. I’m more creative and insightful when I’m not worrying about everything I’m managing. Allen’s framework is good for generating more ideas and insights.
  • Wisdom – Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge in a manner that aligns with the desired outcome. Wisdom means changed behavior and improved decision-making—knowing what to do and when to do it. President Hoover once said, “Wisdom consists not so much in knowing what to do in the ultimate as knowing what to do next.” Allen’s ideas around continuously and quickly identifying next actions can be powerful and accelerate the acquisition of wisdom.

I’m glad I revisited this book. I’m looking forward to testing ideas it triggered.

This book contains ideas that are useful for anyone looking to be highly productive and approach work in a disciplined way.

For founders looking for a better way to manage the inevitable chaos of company building, wanting more creative or strategic time, or wanting to be more in the driver’s seat of their life, the ideas in this book are a great starting point, and many are worth cloning.