Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityI am a huge fan of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. I’ve been an efficiency expert most of my life and highly adept at getting more done faster. Yet, until David came out with his book, most of the “organizing” books I’ve read (probably over 100) were all variations on a theme. David finally codified what I and others had been thinking for sometime but often unable to put into words.

It amazes me to find grown adults, well-entrenched into their careers, who seem paralyzed by large amounts of work and work volume. In fact, the last place I worked, all three of my supervisors had their desks covered with piles and piles of paper. Their credenzas, too. The floor as well. Their offices had that teenage ruggedness, I suppose. But, as I got to know them, I found them to be utterly incompetent when it came to strategizing and coordinating their own workload. One of three was actually highly competent in her knowledge of the work we did, but didn’t seem to have a clue how to make the slightest dent. My more immediate supervisor was incompetent on a number of levels and seemed aghast that my desk was nearly always clean and organized. She spent most of her time sticking her nose into everyone else’s business to give her a sense of forward progress. She would even often brag “I’ve cleaned off a whole stack of paper today!” She basically didn’t get it at all.

The office we worked in was pretty much immune from outside scrutiny from clients, so they were allowed to wallow in this slovenly mire. It should make us all want to visit the office of anyone who handles our financial or legal matters. We need to see how these people keep their desks.

I’d recommend that everyone in business read David’s book, but I’m a realist - some people simply don’t care. The guilt they feel about their lack of organization is only from outward pressures; they have no internal alarm about it. Like the hobo from the train, he’ll clean himself up to get a buck, but he’s perfectly comfortable with the tent in the woods.

Technorati : GTD, efficiency, getting things done, productivity

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