Thursday, June 9, 2011

Getting Things Done

I love to read but I don't often mention them in my posts. However, this book is different and is worth its own post!

Whether you check it out at the library or purchase it, I highly recommend getting this book. Getting Things Done (The Art of Stress-Free Productivity) by David Allen

This book is written with the professional in mind but I think it's just as easily adapted to anyone in any situation (even mine- homemaker, homeschooler, home based business owner).

It's hard to describe exactly what the book says, for that you should just read it yourself, but I will attempt to tell you what I came away from it with.

The author begins the book by describing how our world is different then in eras past where work and home and life were clearly defined and divided and how what worked then doesn't work now. Obviously, in my situation, my roles criss-cross each other multiple times a day. I am not 'mom' from 8am to noon, school teacher from X to Z, or business owner during such and such hours. I am all, all the time. (Umm, forgot to mention I'm also a wife… that's important too!)

The author then takes you though a high-light of how his method works and why it works. Further on in the book he tells you how it works and how to achieve 'getting things done'.

One thing that I found the most important was his suggestion of getting an 'IN' box. Not just getting one but using it. Instead of letting thoughts float around in my head (such as: I need to change the light bulb in the bathroom), I write it down on a note pad & put the note into 'in'. I go through it daily during my quiet time (processing). If an item on my note would take me less then 2 minutes to complete then I do it right then and there if it takes more time then I need to decide what to do with it. I can either make an appointment on my calendar for a specific day/time to complete the task (do it), ask someone else to do it (delegate it), or put it in a wait file/list (defer it). The author calls this 'action steps'. What would be my next action in getting this completed?

The author walks you through specifically how to get set up and how to begin. This works with all the physical stuff you have to do, such as fixing that thing, or all the stuff floating around in your head. The author calls it a 'mental mind sweep'. Get your head empty so your mind doesn't have to waste valuable energy re-thinking the same thing over & over again (why haven't you changed that light bulb yet?)

The last thing I've found extremely helpful are all my Master Lists. The author has you sit down and write them up. My longest one is, of course, my sewing list. I have on there all the projects that I'm working on, want to work on, or am planning for. This is not a to-do list but a comprehensive master project list. I review my lists weekly to decide what to work on for the following week and I build my to-do list then. My to-do lists are basically action steps which will eventually enable me to cross off that project from my master list (and leaving me feeling totally accomplished and in control).

I've left out a lot of the nitty-gritty to this book as it's just way too much to describe. This book will be on my permanent rotation list so I can re-read it again to see if I missed anything the first time.

Get it. Read it. You won't regret it!

You can also visit David Allen's website HERE.

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