Getting Things Done for Dummies (like me)

So that “Getting Things Done” system I’ve been harping on? I’ve finally done it. I just blazed through four chapters of the book and took two and a half days to put everything into place.

My final result:

A clear head and a sense of control. I’m continually free to have ideas instead of hold them: my brain is free to creatively develop projects instead of continually remind me that they exist.

Sounds nice, yeah? Well, at the risk of sounding like an infomercial salesguy (and I’m a terrible salesman), here’s how you too can revamp your to-do list and gain control over every single thing you have to do, from the right-nows to the someday-maybes to the total surprises:

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The Natural Planning Method: simple, effective, and free for helping you get things done

MRI brain scan

The Natural Planning Model is something you’ve been doing your whole life without realizing it. Recently, I’ve been learning to consciously apply it to everything I do — and it’s been a huge relief. In a word, it’s given me a trusted process for dealing with just about anything I need or want to do. Now, instead of dozens of projects flying into my brain at random to tug my attention away from what I’m doing, I can focus on the present, because I know that everything on my to-do list is set to be taken care of. This isn’t anything quasi-mystical, and I’m not going to ask you to buy anything. (more…)

TED: “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” A recommendation and response.

When I hear the words “productivity guru,” I picture a bald, fit, bespectacled man with a goatee and a flashy suit giving a jargon-heavy presentation to a group of executives (who are pretending to understand what he’s saying) on the subject of how to cram 100 hours of work into a mere 50-hour work week — and, more importantly, how to get their employees to do the same. His constant calendar-checking, emailing, and texting do nothing to interrupt his flow of sophisticated corp-speak.

I definitely do not picture a guy like David Allen speaking intelligibly about concepts I can understand and that get me excited about learning to get things done. The fact that my expectations were utterly confounded is the reason I recommend this video.

David Allen TED Talk

What I appreciate most about this talk–and the reason I think it’ll work for me or anyone else who applies it–is that he deals not in rules but in principles, which presuppose no conditions in your life and can be individually applied to any set of circumstances.

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