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Getting things done - A narrative summary

A narrative chapter-by-chapter summary of David Allens Best selling book "Getting Things Done". Highlights the different models and workflows presented by Allen to generate stress free productivity

Getting things done - A narrative summary

  1. 1. GETTING THINGS DONE By David Allen A Narrative Summary
  2. 2. PRESENTED BY Abhinav Aditya Arun Dipak Niharika
  3. 3. WHY IS STRESS LEVEL RISING? 1. Work no longer has any clear boundaries 2. Our lives and our jobs are constantly changing 3. Old time management techniques do not accommodate the rigors of the modern day workplace 4. Too many day-to-day, hour-to-hour commitments distract us from the primary focus
  4. 4. What must this system do? • Couple big picture thinking with the smallest of open details • Manage multiple tiers of priorities • Maintain control over hundreds of new inputs daily • Save more time than time spent in maintenance The system should make it easier to “GET THINGS DONE”
  5. 5. You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend. Bruce Lee
  6. 6. Basics for managing commitments • Capture all open loops in a system outside your mind • Clarify your commitment and what tasks you must do • Keep reminders and review each task in a trustworthy system
  7. 7. TWO BASIC COMPONENTS OF GTD Defining what “DONE” is -THE OUTCOME- Defining what “DOING” is -THE ACTION- #1 #2
  8. 8. HENCE A BOTTOM-UP APPROACH IS MORE EFFECTIVE
  9. 9. Your mind is a focusing tool, not a storage space
  10. 10. 5 stages of Getting Something Done • CAPTURE what has our attention • CLARIFY what each item means • ORGANIZE the results • REFLECT on our options • ENGAGE with the best suitable option
  11. 11. 5 stages of handling a messy kitchen • Identify the stuff that doesn’t belong where it is • Determine what to keep and what to throw away • Put things where they need to go • Check your recipe book, along with ingredients and utensils • Select a recipe and start cooking
  12. 12. The biggest reason people are unable to stay organized is that they try to attempt all the 5 stages at once
  13. 13. Physical In-Tray Writing Paper and Pads Digital and Voice Note taking E-mail and Texting Technology integration Tools for capture
  14. 14. Get it all out of your head Minimize Capture locations Empty Capture tools regularly Capturing incompletes
  15. 15. For actionable items…. • List all your projects • Collect and categorize reference material • Enter calendar reminders for things happening on a specific day • Prepare a “Next Actions” list for all deferred items
  16. 16. …then group the non-actionable ones • Get rid of the “trash” • Incubated items fall into two categories: 1. Someday/Maybe- Projects not to be done now but later 2. Tickler system – Projects that need to be done at a specific point in future • File reference material categorically
  17. 17. 1. Calendar 2. Next Action Lists 3. Projects Lists 4. Waiting for lists 5. Someday/Maybe Lists Priority of pending tasks
  18. 18. Process all your “stuff” Review your systems Update your lists Get clear, current and complete Review your lists
  19. 19. THE FOUR CRITERIA MODEL • Identify the context in which the task must be done • Calculate the time available to you • Calculate the energy available to you • Engage with tasks on priority basis This model helps you choose actions in the moment
  20. 20. THE THREEFOLD MODEL • Doing pre-defined work • Doing work as it shows up • Defining your work This model helps identify daily tasks
  21. 21. SIX LEVEL MODEL • Ground level : Current actions • Horizon 1: Current projects • Horizon 2: Areas of focus and accountabilities • Horizon 3: Goals • Horizon 4: Vision • Horizon 5: Purpose and Principles This model helps you determine priorities
  22. 22. Key ingredients of relaxed control • Clearly defined outcomes and the next actions required to move them towards closure • Reminders placed in a trusted system reviewed regularly This is known as horizontal focus
  23. 23. Sometimes, you need greater rigor and focus to get a project or situation under control, to identify a solution or to ensure that all the right steps have been determined. This is where vertical focus comes into play
  24. 24. THE NATURAL PLANNING MODEL 1. Defining your purpose and principles 2. Outcome visioning 3. Brainstorming 4. Organizing 5. Identifying next actions
  25. 25. The unnatural planning model This is attempting to come up with a good idea before defining your purpose, creating a vision and collecting lots of initial bad ideas This is likely to lead to creative constipation
  26. 26. The Reactive Planning model This is resisting planning meetings, presentations and strategic operations till the last minute As MBA students…we are all too familiar with this
  27. 27. Let us delve a little deeper into the five phases of the natural planning model
  28. 28. 01 Defining purpose & principles Purpose provides the juice and the direction while principles define the parameters of action and the criteria for excellence of conduct
  29. 29. 02 Outcome Visioning When we focus on something it generates ideas and thought patterns that were otherwise not possible Something extraordinary happens in our minds when we create and focus a clear picture of what we want
  30. 30. 03 Brainstorming Always write down or capture these ideas in an external way. This helps boost productive output and thinking External brainstorming not only helps capture original ideas but helps generate new ones as well
  31. 31. Look I’m going to give you as many ideas as you feel you can effectively use. If you are not collecting them in some trusted way, I wont give you that many. But if you are actually doing something with the ideas- even if it’s just recording them for later evaluation- then here, have a bunch! And oh wow! That reminds me of another one and another… Sincerely Your Brain
  32. 32. 04 Organizing • Identify significant pieces • Sort by sequences/priorities • Detail to the required degree
  33. 33. 05 Identifying next actions • Decide on the next actions for each of the “moving parts” • Decide on the next action in the planning process (if any)
  34. 34. If you need more clarity at any stage, shift your thinking up the scale If more action is needed at any stage, move down the model Navigating the model
  35. 35. Time
  36. 36. Space • Set up space at workplace, home and in transit that are identical • Don’t share your space • Eg:- Use cloud computing
  37. 37. Tools  3 paper holding trays  Stack of letter size paper  Pen/Pencil  Paper clips  Binder clips  Stapler  Staples  Scotch tape  Rubber bands  Automatic labeler  File folders  Calendar  Wastebasket  Recycling bin  A-Z filing system
  38. 38. Collection: Corralling your Stuff • Gather all things before ‘processing’ and ‘organizing’ • Paperwork, business cards, notes … • Mental ‘mind sweep’ to detect anything in ‘psychic RAM’ • Don’t worry and focus on quantity • Don’t leave items in the in box’ for too long • Move on to the next step
  39. 39. Focus on the Next Action required to move forward Big projects have many steps. Just focus on the very next physical action you need to do to move the project forward The key is not to focus on everything that has to be done (that’s a great way to freak yourself out)
  40. 40. It may be looking up a piece of information, making a phone call, or accomplishing the smallest of the task. Whatever it is, it’ll move you closer to completing the project. Focus only on what you can do right now.
  41. 41. After collecting everything, you need to process it. You should: • Trash what you don’t need. • Complete any less-than 2 minute actions. • Delegate stuff you can’t complete to others. • Sort into your own organizing system reminders for actions that will take more than two minutes. • Identify any larger commitments, or projects, that you have. • Identify things to save for later and use as reference material only.
  42. 42. How to do it ?? Here are the rules of processing: • Process one item at a time • If it takes less than two minutes, do it now • Never put anything back into 'in'
  43. 43. For every item, one of the following must be done: Identify the next action to be done The action must be the absolute next physical thing to do No next action? Then: trash, incubate or file it in your 'reference system'
  44. 44. Once the action has been decided, do one of the following Do it (if requires less than 2 minutes) Delegate it Defer it (do it later, schedule when & put it in a trusted calendar system)
  45. 45. The Reference System Having a good reference system is crucial Need to be within arm's reach Needs to be quick to file an item (<< 60 seconds) and to find an item
  46. 46. Incubate Put into a calendar that will remind to do the item when appropriate. Can also use a 'someday/maybe' list if there is no specific time to start the task Misc Tips • Learn to touch type • Learn keyboard shortcuts to your programs
  47. 47. Incubate Put into a calendar that will remind to do the item when appropriate. Can also use a 'someday/maybe' list if there is no specific time to start the task Misc Tips • Learn to touch type • Learn keyboard shortcuts to your programs
  48. 48. Allen identifies 7 basic categories of things you have processed and will want to keep track of: A projects list Project support material Calendared actions Next actions A “waiting for” list Reference materials Someday/Maybe list
  49. 49. The obvious danger in setting a lot of separate buckets is not review them often enough (which obviously needs to be done in order for the system to work)
  50. 50. Project List List of the ongoing projects. Unlike other lists, it may be OK to review only once a week. When concrete steps need to be taken in order to progress, the steps should be copied to the 'next actions list'. The projects can be organized in different sections (ex: personal, professional).
  51. 51. Project Support Materials Resources to support project's actions. Do not use as reminders (use 'next actions', calendar or 'waiting for' instead).
  52. 52. Calendar Things to be reminded of in the future (such as events, deadlines and periodic reminders) Putting an item in the calendar does not mean it has to be done; It is just that attention must be brought on the item at a specific time.
  53. 53. Next Actions List Organized by context (at home, at work, errands, in person meeting, with boss) Keep a 'read/review' list, need to have useful things to read at hand whenever there is a little bit of free time
  54. 54. Waiting For Next actions that are waiting for a trigger (ex: waiting for someone else to complete something). If there is a known date put in calendar instead.
  55. 55. Reference Material Items that have no action required If an action is required, it belongs in an 'action' list that will be reviewed frequently. It means that it contain important information.
  56. 56. Someday/Maybes Items that do not need to be done now, They do not have a specific deadline in the future (if they do, they belong on the Calendar) but would be nice to get around to do at some point.

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