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The Book That Started It All: Getting Things Done

It was life-changing for me really. That day I confided with a mentor of mine how overwhelmed I was changed how I do productivity. There I was as a college sophomore with a double-major, a part-time job, a volunteer organizer for various projects, and in love. What do you get when you combine the absent-minded professor with a whirlpool of unfinished projects? A nightmare. I was living a nightmare.

My bed didn’t give me a shred of relief because I just couldn’t sleep. I’d toss and turn from the stress dreams. It seems silly, but one of the never-ending dreams was me working at Chick Fil-A. I couldn’t get the orders out fast enough, and the whole kitchen space began to flood with waffle fries and chicken sandwiches.

So I poured my heart to this man I respected so much. He said he had a book for me that was just what I needed and said to come back the next day. When I returned, I was holding a book that changed everything for me: Getting Things Done by David Allen. I had never read a book on productivity in my life, so I had no idea that this was considered the holy grail by task-managing experts.

The One-Stop Hub

I had lists everywhere: my phone, desk, computer desktop, notebooks, and backpacks. GTD taught me how to create a simple system for capturing all of “stuff” I need to get done and putting it in a single place. It even taught me how to process all the “stuff” in a manageable way. This kept me from getting overwhelmed because I didn’t see EVERYTHING I had to do, just the things I needed to do in the moment.

The Weekly Review

My stomach had so many pits because forgotten tasks would catch me by surprise. And my relationships were damaged because I forgot the commitments I was making. David Allen taught me how to pause once a week and process those pesky to-do’s that liked to hide. Suddenly I was no longer a firefighter extinguishing the flames of forgotten tasks. I was able to get a handle on my commitments and actually make progress!

The 3 D’s for Task Management

Getting Things Done is all about what you do with a task, and you have three options: do it, defer it, or delegate it. If it takes 2 minutes or less, you should just do it right away. But if there is someone else who could do the job, you should delegate it. If it doesn’t need to be done right away, then defer it for a later date.

There is a whole wealth of information I can’t cover here. If you’re new to productivity, I highly recommend the book. You can purchase it here off of Amazon. Even in the digital age, I re-read this book and find myself becoming more masterful in the art of task management.

What’s a resource that forever changed your productivity? Share it in the comments!

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