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Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life
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Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  2,824 ratings  ·  238 reviews
The long-awaited follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Getting Things Done.

David Allen’s Getting Things Done hit a nerve and ignited a movement with businesses, students, soccer moms, and techies all the way from Silicon Valley to Europe and Asia. Now, David Allen leads the world on a new path to achieve focus, control, and perspective. Throw out everything you know a
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published December 30th 2008 by Viking Adult (first published 2003)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  2,824 ratings  ·  238 reviews

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Jul 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Let me start out by saying I loved Mr. Allen's first book "Getting Thing's Done" and have put the practices in to place, have sent employees to his seminar, and have generally been a cheerleader.

This book falls flat. This is what it felt like Mr. Allen was saying to me.

1. You DIDN'T understand what I was trying to say in my first two books.
2. You CAN'T understand what it was I was trying to say in my first two books.
3. Let me make this more academic and less understandable so I can write anothe
Jun 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is billed as a sequel to Allen's Getting Things Done, and as a sequel, it may disappoint those who've already read the first book cover-to-cover, and are desperate for new material. However, as a revision of the original GTD system, it's exactly what I was looking for. Getting Things Done contained a lot of useful information, but was deeply lacking in some places: the horizons of focus, for one, were mentioned, but not really expanded on, and I was left with the feeling I was supposed to b ...more
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listening to this again after a number of years, I realize that David Allen's advice has been very valuable. For example, a "next action" at the end of every meeting has made me and those I work with qualitatively more effective. This seems obvious now, but I had not seen it modeled in meetings I went to. I just used the "Control/Perspective" model this past week again to help with a management issue. Allen's advice is what you might call "life hacks" for the current environment of decision-over ...more
Feb 19, 2009 rated it liked it
For those who have read and/or familiar with Allen's Getting Things Done, this is a great follow-up. If you like Allen's strategies for organization and general productivity, but occasionally find yourself "falling off the wagon," this book will help.

The book elucidates the major mindsets crucial to GTD, but sometimes gets too wrapped up in its philosophical approach. The "horizons of focus" will cloud your system if you worry about implementing them as actual components, rather than a way to en
May 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utilitas, 01
I strongly recommend this book if you read the first and have been working at applying GTD for a year or more. I first tried to read this about a year after I had read the first GTD book, and put it down in disappointment. I was caught up in the fussiness of realising GTD through software (Org-Mode in this case): an easy mistake to make, given how much is written on the web from this point of view, and also just how much wrangling with messy and incomplete commitments I encountered. Coming back ...more
Daniel Dent
Mar 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: audible
This book feels influenced by critics of Getting Things Done. Much of it feels like he's saying, "yes this is common sense, yes it could be simplified, yes it could be more complicated, etc BUT." So parts are essay about those BUT's to critics. This book does not stand on its own. You really must have read Getting Things Done. Because it was fresh in my mind, I liked a lot in here. Just wish there was something new and thought provoking. It's always good to refresh yourself, but I was hoping for ...more
Joe Devon
It was alright. It's a sequel. Add a few things. Repeat a few things. Make a few more bucks on GTD. Overall GTD changed my life, in the sense that I'm much more organized. This wasn't a mind blowing addition but a good one. Start with GTD first though.
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, effectiveness
This book is truly the book I needed at this time. Having accumulated more and more responsibilities and areas of focus in my career over the last three years, I have found it difficult to ‘keep up’ with all the things that need to be done. I have heard of GTD before, but haven’t read the book. I think this may have made it a little harder to take everything in as I read, but I still feel like this was the best book for giving me clarity in the possibility of making it all work.

The Control/Persp
Jeff Yoak
Making It All Work is a great sequel to Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. GTD really changed my life and helped me to get control of the things that I'm doing. This book came along just in time to help me broaden my scope of attention and planning just when having control was starting to make me yearn for a bit more direction. I would recommend this book to anyone, but personally I do think it should follow GTD. If I had encountered this book first, I think I would have be ...more
Abhi Yerra
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Marking It All Work is a continuation of the GTD work that Allen has done continuing on the theme of how to make life and work more productive. I am not a strict adherent to GTD but maybe do 60% of the tasks that Allen recommends and even just doing that has been great to focus me into what I am trying to achieve and create.

The main things I took out of the book:

- Have a place where you write everything. This one has helped me the most as it empties out my head of all the ideas good and bad.
Mike Mann
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good information and relevant anecdotes. A good way to revisit the principles and philosophy behind Getting Things Done in greater depth. Some other reviewers feel this is unnecessary, that the original GTD book has everything you need, and it should be easy to decide for yourself which camp you're in.

My only major criticism is it feels like David Allen wants you to know how smart he is by beating you over the head with his vocabulary. It's not that the words are inappropriate or used incorrectl
Christopher Okolo
Jul 21, 2017 rated it liked it
So the basic is that write what you think on paper and organise your self. simple
Alain Burrese
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Making It All Work: Winning At The Game Of Work And The Business Of Life" by David Allen is a follow up and companion book to his widely popular "Getting Things Done." If you have read the first book, and want a little extra on the same principles, with some further guidance in them, you may enjoy this book. If you are looking for something completely different, or expanded on, you may be disappointed.

The book does repeat the same concepts, so if you have not read the first book, you won't be l
I read and enjoyed Getting Things Done a few years ago, and implemented his system in my own way, unsuccessful in the end, but knowing. This is like a brand extension of his first book, adding a bit where things were not made clear in the original, and repeating some of the basics. Sort of a Double-Stuf Oreo of a book. Like the Double Stuf, I found this one not very necessary when you have the original, but there are circumstances where it has some value. For me, that was mostly for topics relat ...more
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reread-someday
I really liked the first chapter or two of this book and the chapters on perspective toward the end. He expands on the different levels of perspective in this book, something that was lacking somewhat in Getting Things Done. The appendices were really helpful as well - good to have some visual aids to the concepts in the book and it saved me all the notetaking I did with his first book!

David Allen always has something interesting to say, and it amazes me how he can expand so much and add value t
Alissa Thorne
This book went beyond the productivity and organizational system introduced in GTD, and focused on the higher levels of life management. It covered many of the things that I had big question marks around at the end of GTD--what about responsibilities, long term goals? How do I make sure I'm keeping track of the things that matter, and not getting mired in the day-to-day tasks?

While it addressed these questions, the tone of the book was both more self-helpey than GTD, and less refined. The "horiz
Mar 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book digs a little deeper into the principles Allen laid out in Getting Things Done, spending a bit more time on each of the steps in his process for dealing with what's on your mind, and on the varying levels of perspective we have on our life, from fundamental principles to that thing we've got to do right now. It's an inspiring system for gaining control and perspective over your life, enabling you to move forward with greater clarity.

I'm still learning to apply GTD consistently, but eve
Mike Gibbs
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listend-to, business
Fantastic discussion about how accomplishing your tasks and keeping your life organized is the REAL secret to work/life balance. We all know that feeling of being "in the zone" and that's the sort of feeling that David Allen wants people to experience as often as possible (he uses the phrase having a "mind like water" to describe it). Allen has a unique perspective that at the end of the day, you just have a list of things you feel like you need to do and you will feel stress and angst over thos ...more
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Making It All Work by David Allen, author of the influential productivity book Getting Things Done, is a study of the underlying philosophy of the ‘GTD’ productivity system that is his brain child.

Making It All Work does cover a full review of the GTD system, so you can read this title without having read Getting Things Done to learn about the mechanics of the system. However, what distinguishes this follow-up to Allen’s original book is that Making It All Work is primarily a study of why the GT
Shawn Camp
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2012, audiobooks

Now I've read Getting Things Done and implemented the GTD process. I though this book would help explain some things I may have not focused entirely on and help me reach the mind like water stage. Not only did it explain those areas, it helped me focus on every area I was weak in but didn't realize it. This book re-energized the entire process and I thought I was already excited for the process before that. thank you, thank you, thank you!
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Ehhh. I like David Allen's system, but this book was hard to get through. It tended to be redundant and wordy. He could have edited the book to highlight and explain his core principles and have added additional strategies. It would have been a more productive use of time to reread Getting Things Done.
Jan 05, 2015 added it
Update: I’ll take this one out of the reread cycle. It lacks any additional insight for me beyond the other two books, and it’s the longest. This time around felt like plain rehash rather than good reminders or fresh inspiration.

This one's 3.5 for me but I include it when I reread the series every few years.
Derek Neighbors
Nov 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Really good content, but a lot of rehashing from original GTD. If you haven't read GTD in a while or are on a GTD kick this is great supplemental material.

It is pretty dry so unless it's a topic you are really interested in you will have a hard time getting through it.
Jan 01, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2010
My productive advice for the day is to read Getting Things Done and call it done. There's nothing really wrong with the book, it just isn't necessary.
Colin MacDonald
Jul 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good follow-up to Getting Things Done. GTD is very tactical and detailed about setting up an organizational system. This talks about the same system, but it's much more meta—how to think about and engage with the process. It goes into much more depth about the goal-setting side of things.

If you haven't read GTD, read that first, or at least have it on hand. I don't think audiobooks of these would work as well: you'll want to pause to think and make notes, and there are a bunch o
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

And it actually heightened my fucking stress levels. I listened to his first book yesterday, which was complicated enough. This book not only repeated some of the things from the first book, but it added extra information, which was even more confusing. I am dissatisfied.

The key message in this book:

To be productive you must take control of your daily actions. Start capturing all your ideas and tasks on paper, and organize them into meaningful hierarchies acco
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a great read even the second or third time around. It helped me realize what I need to focus on to get my life re-organized and find ways to continue to move my life forward, no matter what chaos the universe may through my way. And does it like to!!! I also feel this would still be a good starter for someone not familiar with GTD as it shows the structure, skills, and processes needed to pick it up and utilize it in the most useful and efficient way possible! I love Getting Things Done ...more
Sherry Elswick
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
David Allen makes some valid points in his followup to his quintessential productivity hit Getting Things Done, which I've read twice. I swear by this method. However, the first ten chapters of Making It All Work are repeats of GTD but with less specificity. While I agree with his assertion that you need a way to control and manage the inputs to your brain (GTD) and that needs to be balanced against perspective, I thought this book was unnecessary. He could have included a few expanded chapters ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
Great follow-up to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. This was the perfect time for me to pick up this book, as I had implemented GTD for a number of years and I was in need of a refresher/more advanced solution to keep the system running.

This book introduced Horizons, the different levels of working ON the system, rather than IN the system. I have incorporated the tips and tricks here into my daily life for more than a year (bits and pieces at first, more as time goes), a
Holger Matthies
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was published in 2008 - halfway through the first and second edition of GTD. It is a good book, but not better than the second edition of GTD, and certainly necessary to read. I found the second edition covers more ground - and is more "future proof" than this book.

I was expecting to read more about the Focus Horizons - but although they make up the second half of the book, there wasn't new, unfortunately. They still seem like an unloved afterthought, a placeholder for a great unifying
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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

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