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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  57,316 ratings  ·  2,544 reviews
In today's world, yesterday's methods just don't work. In Getting Things Done, veteran coach and management consultant David Allen shares the breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. Allen's premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our mi ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published 2001)
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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyThink and Grow Rich by Napoleon HillGood to Great by James C. CollinsGetting Things Done by David Allen
Best Business Books
5th out of 483 books — 795 voters
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. CoveyHow to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale CarnegieOh, The Places You'll Go! by Dr. SeussThe Alchemist by Paulo CoelhoGetting Things Done by David Allen
Motivational and Self-Improvement Books
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Ironically, looking in to the GTD (Getting Things Done) system has been bouncing around in the back of my head as something to do for quite some time now. This approach to maximizing productivity is popular among the nerdegalian, probably because of its minimum bullshit approach to actually processing, classifying, and executing what the author David Allen calls "stuff to do." This book discusses the GTD system in its entirety and, more importantly, teaches you how to put it in place.

What I real
I'm a big geek, and here's proof (if you needed it). I learned about GTD from Merlin Mann's 43 Folders site, and became an instant convert. Because I love folders, lists, diagrams, flow charts, of course, but most of all because with GTD, you have to have a labeller. I love my labeller. I love making labels for my files, and admiring them in their serried ranks, all neat and labelly.

And I do actually seem to be getting more done, even when I factor in all the time I spend labelling.
Jul 08, 2014 Jonatron rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: never-finished, own
I bought this book, and I read some of it. It sat on a shelf unfinished. I read some more. It sat in my car unfinished. I eventually made the decision to never finish it.

I think this is self-explanatory.


Now I'm reading 26 Reasons Not to Use GTD, and it does a good job of articulating the "ehhhh"ness that I felt while reading this.

[Even later...]

And if you think GTD's followers are a little cult-like, check this out: When David Allen says in the acknowledgments "deepest thanks go to my
With first-chapter allusions to martial arts, "flow,""mind like water," and other concepts borrowed from the East (and usually mangled), you'd almost think this self-helper from David Allen should have been called Zen and the Art of Schedule Maintenance./ Not quite. Yes, Getting Things Done offers a complete system for downloading all those free-floating gotta-do's clogging your brain into a sophisticated framework of files and action lists--all purportedly to free your mind to focus on whatever ...more
Jul 16, 2008 Hannah rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hannah by: professor from Leading and Managing Organizations class
I like reading about organizing my life and being more productive, but I think the major lessons of this book could have been condensed in a page or two. Here are the things I remember:

- 2 minute rule: if you remember to do something and it takes you less than two minutes to do it, just go ahead and do it
- write things down in lists so that they don't float around your head and nag at you all of the time
- check your lists frequently and often, actually doing the things on the list (or delegating
Saud Omar
بالنسبة لي, هذا الكتاب هو ثالث أفضل كتاب قرأته في مجال تطوير الذات, بعد العادات السبع, وإدارة الأولويات لستيفن كوفي.

في الحقيقة اني ترددت قبل كتابة هذه المراجعة, وسبب ذلك اني طبقت أفكار الكتاب لفترة ليست بالقصيرة ( وليست بالطويلة أيضاً ) وأود أن أشارك القراء الكثير من الارشادات والتنبيهات والحيل لتطبيق هذه الأفكار, وكتابة مراجعة في" قود ريدز" ربما لن تسمح بكل هذا .. لذلك قررت أن أكتب هنا عن هذا الكتاب باختصار, وان اضيف المراجعة المفصلة لا حقا في مدونتي.

في البداية دعوني أنبّه أن للكتاب ترجمة عربية
Jul 09, 2013 Bria rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Bria by: Michael Raimondi
If you find yourself turning a little moist and your pulse quickening with pleasure when you read words and phrases such as:

-High-performance workflow management
-Family commitments
-Priority factors
-The ability to be successful, relaxed, and in control during these fertile but turbulent times demands new ways of thinking and working
-key work tool
-assembly-line modality
-values thinking
-desired results
-ups the ante in the game
-deal effectively with the complexity of life in the twenty-fir
Jul 27, 2008 Josh rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I have not had much success applying strategies from productivity gurus. I am referring to books like "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Steven Covey, and other books which share use top-down strategies to order our lives. There are two reasons why these have not worked for me. The first is technical: day-to-day life happens on the level of "stuff". The myriad of small tasks of varying importance and in multiple contexts hampers the effectiveness of top-down approaches. The second ...more
Feb 05, 2009 Ruben rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
I'm really glad my wife and I read this book together. It's already been very helpful in getting us to look at the reason so many things never get done on time or sometimes not at all. The book is well written. The writing is very clear, with lots of examples, though it's a bit dry in the middle and a little flowery on the ends. (That sounds like a description of a scone or something.) We're still working on getting our system set up (I mean filing cabinets for reference material) so I might nee ...more
Apr 27, 2011 Tracy marked it as did-not-finish
I'm listening to this because I need to get a grip on my life.

I can't even focus enough to listen about how to get my life together, much less do it.
Recall the last time you went on a significant vacation from work: before you left you cleared all your to-dos, emptied your inbox, tied all the loose ends, and organized the things you'd tackle when you came back. Felt pretty good to leave that last day, right?

David Allen teaches you how to live your life this way: take all your to-dos, projects, etc. then organize them out into Projects, Next Actions, Someday/Maybe projects, Read and Review, and more if you want. Take the Next Actions and eith
I'd heard about David Allen and his "Getting Things Done" system in the past, but I never paid it much attention. I decided to investigate further a little while back, and finally picked up the book two weeks ago. And now I've read it; and I expect I'll go back and re-read this book in a couple months. I may revise my rating at that time.

The things that irritate me in this book are exactly the things I expected might irritate me. There are plenty of the obligatory breezy anecdotes about the clie
David Allen's smirking white male face on the cover of this book may convince that he's successful...but the man should reserve his smirk for one on one business dealings. The biggest issue with this book is, I couldn't get it done. Getting Things Done is written for a non-existent audience: a procrastinator with enough motivation to actually plow through Allen's dry instruction manual. ...more
Michelle Powers
Tried the print and the audio and just couldn't grasp the system which would enable me to get lots and lots of stuff done in an easy manner without struggle. I guess once you get through the book, nothing else seems like as much of a struggle.

I should have known it wasn’t for me, when the author said “stop making to-do lists.” I mean, really, what would I do with all the cute sticky note pads I have?

Sarah Heffern
May 16, 2007 Sarah Heffern rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: disorganized people with too much free time
This book should have been a 3,000-word article. It was full of useless details (e.g. listing the types of materials out of which an inbox might be made), redundant to the point of making me crazy, and overflowing with multi-step systems for this, that, and the other (seriously, keeping the 3- or 4- or 6-step filters straight would require flashcards).

While it had some useful tips, I can't imagine anyone having the free time to implement the system fully. Clearly, though, I am wrong in this, jus
Nov 23, 2014 K rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People seeking ways to get organized at work
Shelves: professionallit
A colleague recommended this book to me because I was seeing an adult client with ADHD. He also shared that he used the principles in this book to run a skills-teaching group for teens with ADHD, and that he uses this system himself. This recommendation came at a time when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and overloaded at work, so I figured I would try to see if there was anything here that I could adopt so as to better inform my client about how it works while engaging in my own self-imp ...more
Before I justify the five-star rating, there are a couple of qualifications:

1. This book is written toward a certain audience: well-to-do people, mostly business executives, mostly men, mostly older. The large majority of examples mentioned are male corporate leaders. There is the occasional nod to a housewife using the system to get her chores done (I kid you not), and a single reference that I can remember to someone whose work is purely creative. I feel that if you know this coming in, it wil
Since the age of 14 I’ve been obsessed with how to make the most of each day, how to use my time to the greatest effect. So I’ve read a fair number of books on this topic and gleaned principles along the way. This is the best book of its kind I have read so far. Maybe I feel this way because David Allen takes a similar approach to my own in getting things done. He confirm that some of my intuitive time-management practices are sound and effective. Allen also taught me how to refine those process ...more
I went through parts of this book/lecture series when I was an undergrad, but am revisiting the audiobook now. It provides some very helpful ways to look at life and how you do the things you do.

There are some key points in this book that can really change how you conduct your life. For me, a few of the big things are:

(1) if you keep everything you worry about doing in your mind, you'll have more anxiety. Instead you should write everything down that you have to do in some sort of trusted system
James Rye
I bought this book because I had been excited by using the free productivity software IQTELL which links emails, calendars, and to do lists, and has been built around the principles of Getting Things Done (GTD). Having found the software useful, I bought the book.

Frankly, I was disappointed, for two reasons. First, the version I read was an ancient one and give the impression that people had only just started to use computers, so it talked a lot about making lists on bits of paper. Secondly, alt
How To Get Things Done has help me immensely in "getting organised". It was quite hard work to read, perhaps because I only wanted to read it as fast as I was putting things into practice -- and so it has taken me about 3 years to read it all the way through!! The key ideas have been a) collecting and recording every single input into a trusted system of lists etc b) the 2 minute rule (deal with it immediately if it takes less than 2 minutes) c) the "Next Action": never record somthing in vague ...more
Since it might take less than two minutes to write this review, I'll just do it now... The two-minute rule is one of the only things I remember from this book (which I read more than five years ago). I generally like the rule, but have found it problematic when something else also comes to mind, and I forget what that was within two minutes =)

By the time I came to read this, I had already learned many productivity strategies from other books and programs. Perhaps I might have walked away with m
The main idea of this book is awesome & it really works. On the other hand, the details are not that important.
Rather than a book, the whole idea can be delivered in a long blog-post.
If you find a good summary of the book, no need to read it.
Chad Warner
Mar 14, 2015 Chad Warner rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: productivity nuts, Type A, entrepreneurs
This is my go-to productivity book. Since reading it a few years ago, I’ve followed GTD in much of my professional and personal life. I highly recommended it to those who want to regain control of their time and become efficiently productive.

It teaches how to be “maximally efficient and relaxed” by avoiding “the so-called urgent and crisis demands of any given workday.” Allen says that “if we planned more about our projects and lives, we’d relieve a lot of pressure on our psyches and produce eno
Michael Jones
Jan 04, 2013 Michael Jones rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Michael by: Travis
I really liked this book a lot. I didn't like it as much for its detailed descriptions of physically how to organize things (some of those are way over the top... thirty-one folders, one for each day of the month? Really? And then twelve more for the next twelve months? You've got to be kidding me!) as for the basics of how to think about the stuff you have to do. Maybe it was easier for me to see the point because I was already well on my way to creating my own similar system; I had put most of ...more
Scott Dinsmore
Why You Should Read It: Time is the only real scarce resource. We are all battling for more of it. The only way to have more is to spend it wisely.


I just finished Getting Things Done. I know. I’m a little late to the game. It was a quick read and I loved the premise. There were no doubt some clear productivity “ah-ha’s” as I read. I have spent a lot of time learning and developing my own productivity system over the years and I’m excited to implement a few more of Allan’s nuggets. Most of
Taken in the right spirit, this book can change your life. Don't get stuck in the weeds. Take away the things you need and leave the rest. In particular there are many apps and pieces of software (Omnifocus is one of the best, but ther eare others) that can do the work that Allen used to do with folders, papers, index cards.

Here's my takeaway, based on some thinking from Merlin Mann and other productivity experts/writers:

1) Sit down every week and write down all the stuff you need to do. In ever
This is one of those optimistic books in which YOU THE READER can gain control by your own unaided (well almost unaided, you are meant to delegate) efforts and which doesn't take account of that your workflow might very well be determined by things entirely outside of your control.

Not to mention if your working space isn't under your control at all (for example with hot desking) or is very limited (if you are in a drone-zone) then physically some of the ideas here will be impossible. And of cour
Vladimir Silchenko
I really liked main ideas: keeping mind free of thoughts, actions based planning etc.
What I didn't like was the format. Firstly - David Allen is not the greatest narrator, to say the least. He's voice is monotonous, not-involving. It's easy to float away from the book and start paying attention at a road while you're driving (which might not be a bad thing after all :) ). Secondly and worst of all - common David, it's 2012 ! I know that the book was written in 2002 (at least the latest revision
Neeraj Sachdeva
Complete Review Available Here

Is this book worth reading?

Short Answer: An emphatic YES (Scroll to the bottom for breakdown)

Long Answer (Brace yourself):

The book delivers what it promises, the art of getting things done.

The book is succinctly divided into 3 different parts, each explaining the concept, practical implications (how to) and further explanation. It breaks down each and every task – from shopping for toilet paper to leading a conference – into a list of actions that can streamline you
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"Getting Things Done" Versus "Order from Chaos" 9 212 Apr 26, 2014 12:35AM  
Discuss GTD 18 101 Aug 11, 2013 07:24PM  
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David Allen is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the Getting Things Done time management method.

He is the founder of the David Allen Company, which is focused on productivity, action management and executive coaching. His Getting Things Done method is part of his coaching efforts. He was also one of the founders of Actioneer, Inc., a company specializing in productivity
More about David Allen...
Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life Getting Things Done...Fast!: The Ultimate Stress-Free Productivity System How To Get Things Done GTD Life with David Allen

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“If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” 69 likes
“Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it's not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.” 22 likes
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