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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  96,642 Ratings  ·  4,083 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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Mar 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
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 (see, for instance, the comments on this review), check this out: When David Allen say
Jul 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Saud Omar
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Heffern
Apr 18, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: disorganized people with too much free time
Shelves: self-help
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
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Michael Finocchiaro
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Probably the best self-help book I ever read - in any case the one I most adapted to the organization of my life. It does not have an annoying religious aura to it like 7 Habits or the selfish haberdashery spirit of How to Win Friends and Influence People, but is down to earth and highly practical. I was able to get to Inbox Zero and have held on to that principal for years now. If folks are interested, I can repost here my own adaptation of the techniques. Still for me a reference!
Apr 11, 2011 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.
Emma Sea
2.65 stars.
I've used a mutated version of this for years, but thought I'd try the original text. I was disappointed. I felt it gave equal weight to parts of GTD that are a cakewalk (emptying your mind onto a page) with parts that sound easy but are complex (deciding on next actions).

Also I thought the weekly/quarterly review needed more focus. Allen talks about the 20,000/50,000 foot view, but without enough detail on how to accomplish these.

I'd recommend reading through a summary instead of the
Dec 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
da AL
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
nicely done & read - wish he'd bring out an updated edition ...
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 cou
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Douglas Wilson
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A bit too detailed for my taste, but there are some magnificent principles involved here. I learned a lot.
Jun 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Michelle Powers
Jan 30, 2009 rated it did not like it
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?

Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Five stars for the content, two or three for the way it was delivered. But I suspect the purpose of this book wasn't to write beautiful prose, so I'll cut it a break.

Since this is a book about an organizational system I'll talk a little bit about what I've tried to incorporate and how mine works. Hopefully doing so will help me to become more conscious of how I can improve it.
In a former life - a stupider one, I tried to capture everything in my head. This had results ranging from moderate succ
Chad Warner
Nov 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 05, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Amy by: Author was quoted on the back of another book I was reading so I thought I'd check it out.
Shelves: business, non-fiction
Oy, this guy.

If you are a disorganized mess, his book does not have enough step-by-step to help you. If you have a hint of what you're doing, he is quite vague with no actual hands-on tips.

Here are his main ideas:
-- Your mind is always keeping a running to-do list in the background while you're doing other things. This noise distracts you from what you're doing and makes you feel worried that you should be doing something on that list. Shut out the running to-do list and you can focus on one thi
Saeed Ramazany
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
خیلی خوشم اومد. از اون کتابایی بود که میگفتم کاش زودتر میخوندم.
ایدهی کتاب رو چند روزیاه شروع کردم به پیادهسازی و واقعا دنیا شفافتر(: و سادهتر شده. ذهنم راحتتر شده و سریعتر کارها رو انجام میدم.

البته ایدهی کتاب خیلی فضایی و جادویی نیست. صرفا میگه که همه چیزها رو بنویسیم. همه کارهایی که قراره بکنیم، همه اونایی که قرار بوده انجام بدیم و ندادیم(حتی مثلا ۱۰ ساله هی بعضا میاد تو ذهنمون که انجام بدیم) و همه اون کارایی که شاید یه روزی انجام بدیم.
همهی اینا باید تو سیستمی باشه که مطمئن باشیم بهش سر میزنیم
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: librarybook
If posting your colonoscopy video on social media was a thing, I could really prove to you how much I got done by reading this book. (view spoiler) Instead, I will just say that I have made some progress in processing through some really stale piles of guilt and I am embracing the "next action".

This is a good system for dealing with all the minutiae that make up all that we
May 14, 2007 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I need all the help I can get!
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
I'm sure this would work for many but it is not something that would work for me.
Jun 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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Time management 1 15 Jan 11, 2018 03:49AM  
New version - Worth It? 2 43 Dec 21, 2017 04:54AM  
IT Professional D...: What is your take-away? 1 1 Feb 24, 2017 10:48PM  
y12 : February 2017 2 8 Feb 02, 2017 07:02PM  
How it’s different but I will say 1 14 Oct 28, 2015 11:17AM  
DATC Book Club: Getting Things Done 2 14 Nov 12, 2014 12:23AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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
More about David Allen
“If you don't pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” 112 likes
“You don't actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it "done.” 44 likes
More quotes…