Getting Things Done Book Summary - Getting Things Done Book explained in key points

Getting Things Done summary

David Allen

The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

4.6 (965 ratings)
22 mins

Brief summary

Getting Things Done by David Allen is a productivity book that helps us to clear our mind, stay focused and organized. With practical techniques to manage tasks and projects, it guides us to achieve efficiency with a stress-free mind.

Table of Contents

    Getting Things Done
    Summary of 13 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 13

    Your brain is great at thinking but terrible at remembering things.

    These days, work can be hectic. A typical morning might look something like this: You’re in the middle of writing a document when an email comes in telling you to update your antivirus software. Then, just as you’re about to do this, your aunt Sheila calls to say you should RSVP to her wedding, and, as you hang up, your boss marches in demanding you start working on a new document.

    Now, what were you doing again?

    Knowledge workers in particular spend their days juggling dozens of tasks and projects at once, while being constantly bombarded by still more. To survive this onslaught, most people cram everything into their heads, trying to keep important information, appointments and upcoming tasks “on their mind.”

    Unfortunately, this approach squanders the brain’s wonderful capacity to think by cluttering it up with a jumble of information.

    What’s more, trying to remember everything eventually leads to an inability to concentrate fully on the work at hand, because your brain will still try to work out all the unsolved problems and undone tasks that you’ve stored in it.

    These are open loops – they haven’t been brought to closure – and your brain will constantly remind you about them, whether you want it to or not. This is distracting; you can’t possible focus properly when thoughts like “Remember to pay this month’s electricity bill” keep interrupting your flow.

    So what can you do to master the modern workplace’s web of tasks, meetings and information so that you can truly focus on what you’re doing?

    This is where GTD comes in.

    Through a specific and powerful five-stage workflow, you can get back in control of everything on your plate:

    1. Capture your thoughts. Instead of keeping all those ideas, to-dos, decisions and so forth in your head, you need to capture them in some external platform, whether on paper or digitally.
    2. Clarify what each item is and what you can do with it.
    3. Organize the outcomes into a structure of lists.
    4. Reflect on what is important to you and review the items in your system.
    5. Engage your tasks. Pick which action you wish to undertake at this time and do it.

    It’s as simple as that. GTD enables you to feel a greater sense of control over your work, which produces a sense of relaxed control, better decisions and more flexibility when faced with changing circumstances. But before diving into the details of each step in the GTD process, let’s get your workspace and tools set up.

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    What is Getting Things Done about?

    In Getting Things Done (2001), David Allen introduces his famous system for stress-free productivity. With this system, you can face an overwhelming amount of things to do, but still be productive, creative and relaxed as you tackle them.

    Why you should care: Learn to do more and stress less.

    Getting Things Done Review

    Getting Things Done (2001) by David Allen is a practical guide to managing our time, tasks, and responsibilities efficiently. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a straightforward system for organizing and prioritizing tasks, allowing us to achieve more with less stress.
    • Through real-life examples and practical strategies, the book helps us overcome overwhelm and increase productivity.
    • The book's emphasis on clearing mental clutter and focusing on one task at a time keeps it engaging and ensures that we stay motivated to implement the techniques.

    Who should read Getting Things Done?

    • Anyone who feels stressed or overworked
    • Anyone who wants to be productive in their work and personal lives
    • Anyone curious about the widely acclaimed Getting Things Done method

    About the Author

    David Allen is an American writer, businessman and consultant. His coaching company trains executives in the Getting Things Done method. He has written many books and articles on self-management and productivity, and is considered one of the most influential thinkers in the world in these fields.

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    Getting Things Done FAQs 

    What is the main message of Getting Things Done?

    The main message of Getting Things Done is to help readers increase productivity and reduce stress by effectively managing their tasks and commitments.

    How long does it take to read Getting Things Done?

    The estimated reading time for Getting Things Done is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Getting Things Done a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Getting Things Done is a valuable read for anyone looking to improve their productivity and organization. It provides practical strategies to help you stay focused and accomplish more.

    Who is the author of Getting Things Done?

    David Allen is the author of Getting Things Done.

    What to read after Getting Things Done?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Getting Things Done, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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    • The Upside of Your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener
    • See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar
    • Make Your Mark by Jocelyn K. Glei
    • Walmart by Natalie Berg and Bryan Roberts
    • The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer