I am basically finished reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. I read an article on Wired about the book and the productivity gains that it has helped some readers with. I have never thought that I have productivity problems, but for ~$10 I figured you couldn’t really go wrong. If it can provide a productivity boost, then it is ~$10 well spent.
I am not going to say a lot about it because there are a lot of other reviews out there. But basically, my take on it is that if you are not very organized in your day to day work routine, this might be able to help. The book provides you with a simple process for managing your work without commiting everything to memory. If you have never developed some type of process, then you probably feel unorganized, and this can probably help.
I already had a pretty decent work process. But, I picked up a few things from the book. Namely, I organized my e-mail into @actionable, @review and various project reference folders. If you put the @ in front of the folder name in Outlook it will move the folder to the top of the stack. In my case, the @actionable folder is the top one. Now when I receive an e-mail that I have to act on, but can’t right now, I drop it in the @actionable folder and forget about it until I can get to it.
I think that I have mentioned several times in previous posts that I use instiki a lot. Another idea I picked up from the book was to put names/headings on the lists that I already had in my wiki. It does help to organize/clarify things. Now instead of the weekly lists I already had (basically a big list of bulleted items), I now have some headings such as “Next Actions”, “Calls”, “Waiting For” and then all of my projects lists seperated by hr tags. The author advocates a low tech (pencil and paper lists organized in portable folders) approach for beginners. I think that is cool (Engineering Rule #1, KISS), but I am pretty attached to my wiki.
So, if you need a process to manage your work, I think this is a good one. And for ~$10, I think it is a really a good deal. If you have questions, leave a comment.