Thursday, May 05, 2011

Book: Getting Things Done

"Getting Things Done", David Allen, 2001, 278 pages

The abundance of things to do and trying to hold all of them in our heads results in stress. The human mind cannot concentrate on more than a few things (usually one) at a given time. The issues that we are not currently dealing with disturbs our focus and saps away our energy. We need to analyze our to do items and break them down to actions. We also need a recording system which holds our to do items and reminds us at the appropriate time so that we can empty our brain (aka peace of mind).

p.15: Most often, the reason something is "on your mind" is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:
• you haven't clarified exactly what the intended outcome is;
• you haven't decided what the very next physical action step is;
• you haven't put reminders of the outcome and the action
required in a system you trust.

p.16: It's a waste of time and energy to keep thinking about something that you make no progress on. And it only adds to your anxieties about what you should be doing and aren't.

p.19: ...the real problem is a lack of clarity and definition about what a project really is, and what the associated next-action steps required are.

p.22: There is no reason ever to have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought

p.23: Most people have been in some version of this mental stress state so consistently, for so long, that they don't even know they're in it. Like gravity, it's ever-present...

p.30: Implementing standard tools for capturing ideas and input will become more and more critical as your life and work become more sophisticated.

p.34: The "next action" is the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.

p.66: Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior. -— Dee

p.72: Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have. -— Emile Chartier

p.79: The thinking must go to the specifics of the vision. Again, ask yourself, "What would the outcome look like?"

p.86: If I put on exercise gear, I'll start to feel like exercising; if I don't, I'm very likely to feel like doing something else.

p.131: The rationale for the two-minute rule is that that's more or less the point where it starts taking longer to store and track an item than to deal with it the first time it's in your hands

p.151: Most undermining of the effectiveness of many workflow systems I see is the fact that all the documents of one type (e.g., service requests) are kept in a single tray, even though different kinds of actions may be required on each one. One request needs a phone call, another needs data reviewed, and still another is waiting for someone to get back with some information—but they're all sorted together. This arrangement can cause a person's mind to go numb to the stack because of all the decisions that are still pending about the next-action level of doing.

p.153: Most people use their e-mail "in" for staging still-undecided actionable things and reference, a practice that rapidly numbs the mind: they know they've got to reassess everything everytime they glance at the screen.

p.155: In order to hang out with friends or take a long, aimless walk and truly have nothing on your mind, you've got to know where all your actionable items are located, what they are, and that they will wait. And you need to be able to do that in a few seconds, not days.

p.185: ...the Weekly Review is whatever you need to do to get your head empty again ...until you can honestly say, "I absolutely know right now everything I'm not doing but could be doing if I decided to."

p.187: I recommend that you block out two hours early every Friday afternoon for the review... It's great to clear your psychic decks so you can go into the weekend ready for refreshment and recreation, with nothing on your mind.

p.197: people are actually more comfortable dealing with surprises and crises than they are taking control of processing, organizing, reviewing, and assessing that part of their work that is not as self-evident.

p.198: The constant sacrifices of not doing the work you have defined on your lists can be tolerated only if you know what you're not doing. That requires regular processing of your in-basket (defining your work) and consistent review of complete lists of all your predetermined work.

p.200: must learn to dance among many tasks to keep a healthy balance of your workflow.

p.203: Trying to manage from the top down, when the bottom is out of control, may be the least effective approach.

p.204: Taking the inventory of your current work at all levels will automatically produce greater focus, alignment, and sense of priorities.

p.207: Getting Things Done is more about the art of implementation than about how to define goals and vision...

p.216: If you aren't writing anything down, it's extremely difficult to stay focused on anything for more than a few minutes, especially if you're by yourself. But when you utilize physical tools to keep your thinking anchored, you can stay engaged constructively for hours... Function often follows form. Give yourself a context for capturing thoughts, and thoughts will occur that you don't yet know you have.

p.225: When people with whom you interact notice that without fail you receive, process, and organize in an airtight manner the exchanges and agreements they have with you, they begin to trust you in a unique way.

p.227: The sense of anxiety and guilt doesn't come from having too much to do; it's the automatic result of breaking agreements with yourself.

p.228: Maintaining an objective inventory of your work makes it much easier to say no with integrity.

p.236: I envision a world in which no meeting or discussion will end, and no interaction cease, without a clear determination of whether or not some action is needed—and if it is, what it will be, or at least who has responsibility for it

p.237: It never fails to greatly improve both the productivity and the peace of mind of the user to determine what the next physical action is that will move something forward.

p.247: Is there too much complaining in your culture? The next time someone moans about something, try asking, "So what's the next action?"

p.248: When you start to make things happen, you really begin to believe that you can make things happen. And that makes things happen.

p.253: Being comfortable with challenging the purpose of anything you may be doing is healthy and mature.


Rahmi Lale said...

Beğendim: 'you must learn to dance among many tasks to keep a healthy balance of your workflow.' Kırıtmayı bilmek şart :P

Kafadaki bin bir akışı düzenlemek adına bir iki mind-mapping programı denedim lakin şu an için en kolayıma gelen ve sıklıka kullandığım Tomboy.

Umit said...

@ p.16:

Doktora öğrencisinin çilesi bitmiyor!!!

Samil Korkmaz said...

@Rahmi: Mind map'i bir ara denedim, sonra kaldı öyle. OneNote ile idare ediyorum. Bloğuna kendi mind map'lerinden birini koyup sana nasıl faydalı olduğunu yazsan güzel olurdu.

@Ümit: Our sympathies to all phd victims...