Getting things done – David Allen 4



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Getting things done - David Allen

It has been a few years since I first read this book. Today, it is a reference book which I look up quite often. Getting things done by David Allen is a book aimed at the multi-tasker  who wants to get productive and efficient.  In today’s world, almost all of us fit the description.

Are you constantly doing multiple things which need to be tracked? Do you quite often forget things to be done? Do you use your daily planner diligently, but still feel the need for a better system? Does your mind feel clouded at times with the number of things on your to-do list? Then this book might have a solution for you.

From early childhood, I grew up watching my father have a small pocket notebook in which he noted various things in micro-handwriting (with that four-coloured pen of his). Talk about going for a trip, talk about a ticket to be booked, talk about a program in school, talk about anything to do, out came his pocket-book and pen.

It was probably due to his influence that I started using a small booklet in my pencil-box to list down ‘homework’ to be done, ‘assignments’ to be submitted, ‘jokes’ to be shared with friends, ‘fee’ to be paid and the myriad little things that crowd the mind of a ten-year old. That habit continued and I still think in lists (of course, that is the reason I list out the plus and minus on this site). In spite of this habit, there were times when I found it overwhelming to keep track of the innumerable to-do items, particularly when I had to juggle home, family, studies, career and social life.

It was at this point in life that I came across this book, when I was not particularly eager to read another book on productivity and to-do lists. To my surprise, I found that the author describes an elaborate system that suited my needs.

+ + +

  1. A fool-proof system that works remarkably well.
  2. What a flow-chart for workflow processing! I particularly like the Someday/Maybe category. This is a true need to have a ‘mind like water.’

– – –

  1. It is a pain to use this system with papers as suggested by the author. I am not sure if anyone has used it with paper and succeeded in it.

. . .

  1. I use the system with Trello and it works famously with this. I had to do some research to find the best alternatives to paper. Subscribing to the GTD newsletter might help in this regard.

For an organized and productive you!


Book Details:

Title Getting things done
Amazon Paperback
Amazon Kindle Edition
Flipkart Paperback
Flipkart eBook
Editor(s)/Author(s)/Illustrator(s)/Translator(s) David Allen
Publisher Penguin

About Menaka S

Menaka is a computational linguist by education, an optimist by attitude and a dreamer by how she spends her time. Being left-brained, she runs PlusMinus'n'More to indulge her right brain interests.


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4 thoughts on “Getting things done – David Allen

  • ravi

    Now I know how you are able to post two to three posts a week.:-).

    another good post, book selection from an unexpected angle.

    could have given some details about that system of trello, curious to know how it benefits you.

    your little intro is classic, well composed.

    Must have some lighter side/funny sentences in the post. It is having a military dicipline.

  • Mahesh

    Great review.

    I have seen one of the Architects in my team use the index cards to manage his work. He was so efficient at that & I tried using the same technique. I was so miserable in a couple of days – more often misplaced the card and loose track of what was to be done. Finally went back to Outlook tasks.

    I agree with you that it is very difficult to use paper to track & close our tasks.

    We used Trello for collaborating with our Agile team and it was really efficient. But I personally like Kanban flow (kanbanflow.com) for the sheer simplicity of the IDE. Not sure if Trello offers Pomodoro timer now but I like it in the Kanbanflow. It offers cool alerts and settings to change the way you want to use Pomodoro.

    I use it for official work – never thought of using this is @ home though I am talking my wife into getting Agile (at least use Kanban) at home. I will get my wife read this review 🙂

    Hey, Btw, why not, for a change, review the tools that you use.

    Keep going.. going.. going…

    • Menaka S Post author

      Thanks Mahesh.
      I haven’t tried Kanban though I tried a few other tools like RememberTheMilk. Remember that these are tools
      and only tools. Their efficiency depend on how we use them. What this book gives is a system to follow. What I have done is to
      implement this system using Trello. I could not get it to work with RTM. I shall try Kanbanflow as well.
      Yes, reviewing tools seems an interesting possibility.