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Getting Things Done?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the implementing-David-Allen dept.

Books 87

machinder asks: "In reading Cory Doctorow's notes for the Life Hacks presentation at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, I saw reference to David Allen's book Getting Things Done. Casting about for it a bit, I see a lot of developers have touted the thing in their blogs. I'm sold, and am starting to implement this system, but I'm wondering if any other Slashdot readers have used the system, and if they have any advice?"

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Works great. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638844)

I used the philosophy to get this cold frosty pist!

~~~

Yeesh! (-1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638891)

Here I am, making first post, and the site is getting hammered ALREADY. What a world.

Re:Yeesh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9638957)

No, you aren't making first post. You're six minutes too late for that.

And yeah, the site was inaccessible before the story even hit the front page. I wasn't even able to get to it when it was still queued for the front page.

Lame.

PlannerMode (4, Informative)

sachachua (246293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638972)

I maintain planner.el [free.net.ph] , an organizer for Emacs. Although it was originally written to support the Franklin-Covey method and other ways of planning, some of my users have looked into using Planner to support the Getting Things Done method. Because planner.el stores all of its information in plain text files with a little markup, it's been easy to adapt to people's particular styles.

Our mailing list has around 80 people from around the world. I love trying to get planner.el to fit people's working styles instead of forcing a particular method on them. =)

Alternative clicky link (-1, Troll)

djcapelis (587616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9638984)

Amazon [amazon.com]

Re:Alternative clicky link (2, Informative)

angryLNX (679691) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639087)

ermm... if i'm not mistaken, you should mod parent down. this is an amazon affiliate link. this is like karma whoring except with money instead of karma points :)

Re:Alternative clicky link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646694)

this is an amazon affiliate link

Indeed it is. Good try, shahicomomar.

"thing", "the system"? (0, Redundant)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639019)

Could someone please provide a summary describing what the hell the story is about?

Re:"thing", "the system"? (3, Funny)

CAR912 (788234) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639074)

I had no idea what they were talking about either, but from what I skimmed over (the amazon.com link above), it appears to be a system where you write down everything you need to remember, and keep that list somewhere. Then you go through the list and do everything you can whenever you have the time. Please elaborate or correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:"thing", "the system"? (4, Funny)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639118)

Sounds like the definition of being organised. I wonder if Amazon has patented it yet.

Re:"thing", "the system"? (0, Offtopic)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639246)

heh

love the .sig too

Getting Things Done (4, Informative)

sachachua (246293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639108)

Getting Things Done is a way of planning your life. You think of the major projects you want to do and write down the desired outcomes. Then you think of the very next thing you need to do in order to achieve that outcome: small steps toward your goal! When you accomplish that, you think of the next step, and the next step, and so on.

Some tasks have to be accomplished by a certain date, so you write those down in a special area. Some tasks can only be done in a certain location or context, so you note those as well.

Keeping your goals in front of you and thinking of the next step you need to accomplish makes even intimidating projects seem much easier. =)

Re:Getting Things Done (4, Informative)

AndyElf (23331) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639226)

Good summary, to add just a few notes:

- You don't assign priorities to tasks (at least not explicit ones): what needs to be done is determined by context, energy, available time.

- Forget about "doing a project" -- you never do. All you do is a bunch of little steps, one at a time, that bring you to sum-total that you call "done". Project is justa "finishing line", not the course.

GTD also has a nice workflow concept. You need to get *all* of the things (i.e. not only work-related, but *all* the things you do) organized into lists which you review, organize by contexts, push forward, little by little.

BTW, Sacha -- it is a post on your site that made me very interested in the system. Went to David's site and got me GTD Outlook plugin (trial). Liked it. Got me a book, still reading it. I do recomend it to others.

I think that one of the things that is probably very appealing to geeks in GTD is clear workflow: it is (relatively) easy to implement it algorithmically, and there is a lot less subjectivity of prioritising in it. Its empahisis of total and airtight coverage is also very good: gives you a Swiss Army knife for life management :)

Re:Getting Things Done (1)

neves (324086) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645173)

Are there any software for doing this in Linux?

Re:Getting Things Done (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9647740)

Sounds like the to-do list software I have for Palm, Life Balance. They have Mac and Windows versions too.

Re:Getting Things Done (1, Offtopic)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639993)

Ahhh... reminds me of the GTA: Vice City radio commercial for the book series `Think your way to success':
Don't just do it! Think about it!
There even might be something in it. Here I am, reading Slashdot, joking about stuff noone cares about, when I should be thinking about my dissertation.

Re:Getting Things Done (1)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640868)

Keeping your goals in front of you and thinking of the next step you need to accomplish makes even intimidating projects seem much easier.

Except when you end up in a situation like me: I have to organise the things I'm doing on parallel priority stacks where each entry in the stack is a task or subtask which may itself contain one or more queues representing tasks required to achieve that task. The top level stacks are arranged in groups of three - primary and secondary stacks which I can jump between when I hit a block on the other and a tertiary holding stack for anything that gets pushed off the bottom of the primary or secondary into an on-hold state. I have multiple banks of these parallel stacks - usually two or three bands of three stacks, I have had five before now - each one for a different place or project stream (so I have a couple for work, one for home). The sheer amount I have on those stacks tends to scare people, let alone what some of it actually is.

It may not surprise you to learn that I haven't had a holiday since Christmas and I won't have one until October...

Re:Getting Things Done (4, Interesting)

sachachua (246293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640973)

You might be interested in Llamagraphics' LifeBalance [llamagraphics.com] method, then. It think it lets you do hierarchical tasks with changing priority levels. Haven't tried it (as mentioned, I maintain a much simpler organizer), but it sounds like the way you work.

Re:Getting Things Done (2, Funny)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646893)

So this guy wrote a book about the todo list and he's some sort of visionary? Hell I write down what I have to do all the time, mainly because I usually forget, but if I had known I could make money off of a book about it, I would have added that too. I could use the money and I don't care if it comes from a bunch of saps.

Re:Getting Things Done (1)

baruz (211342) | more than 10 years ago | (#9650650)

Finally! Now I see that ? = Write a book about it!

Recapitulating:

1. Collect x, where x in {underpants, to do lists, ...}
2. Write a book about it.
3. Profit!

Sorry. Had to be done.

Now, ObRelevantMaterial: Getting Things Done iTunes Audiobook [apple.com]

Sounds like mind mapping (2, Interesting)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#9665706)

http://freemind.sourceforge.net/

also for a commercial application.

http://www.mindjet.com/

And the originator:

http://www.buzancentre.com/TBuzan.html

Faster Writing (5, Interesting)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639073)

Handywrite is a shorthand system based on the gregg system, but is unambiguously readable. This lets you use it for general notetaking without later transcription to english words. Recommended. It can be learned quite quickly.

http://www.alysion.org/handy/handywrite.htm

Re:Faster Writing (5, Insightful)

John Meacham (1112) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639903)

Note that one of the stepping stones in pursuing GTD is to be able to commit ideas to paper or computer or some other nonvolatile store as soon as they occur to you. wherever you are. Get ideas out of your head.

If you, like me, don't like speaking out loud into voice recorders in random places or don't always have your PDA with you, being able to take notes quickly is a very useful skill. Using handywrite, you can write orders of magnitude faster, without interrupting your thought proccesses trying to remember how to spell words or waiting for your hand to catch up to your mind.

Not for everyone, but if you want a way to record your thoughts anywhere and have been searching for a better way, it is a very useful skill.

Sorry if the conection to 'getting things done' was unclear from my previous post.

Re:Faster Writing (-1, Offtopic)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639951)

Sorry if the conection to 'getting things done' was unclear from my previous post.

Apologise not, for the moderators are often slow-witted.

Re:Faster Writing (2, Insightful)

droid_rage (535157) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643412)

This looks like a very interesting and efficient method for recording ideas. Thank you. I'd heard of shorthand before, but I never really knew how it worked.

Needed: Tech-compatible cursive script (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9654064)

What techies need is a fast handwriting script that handles the weird capitalization that is all too common in tech matters.

Cursive writing is a bit faster than printing, but Camel case (setIntegerValue), acronyms (XSLT), etc really aren't very compatible with cursive. Cursive assumes that capital letters will be the first character in a word, so their strokes don't connect with the prior letter. Something like 'aKeyCode' would be discontinuous between 'a' and 'K', and between 'y' and 'C', which discards the continuity that makes cursive writing faster in the first place.

It's easier to just use print instead of cursive, or to revert to print for terms that contain weird capitalization. I, at least, tend to end up with a mixture of scripts that looks like ass.

Any typeface artists in the audience could garner some fame (or at least famous-for-slashdot fame) by designing a good, fast, readable handwriting script that is compatible with technical capitalization.

Re:Faster Writing (1)

Guru2Newbie (536637) | more than 10 years ago | (#9667163)

"if u cn rd ths u cn gt gd jb as a sctry."
(Ad in Popular Mechanics, many years ago)

Now either they're saying you can get a good job as a secretary or a sex toy--I'm not sure which.

first you stop reading slashdot... (5, Funny)

HughsOnFirst (174255) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639403)

People who are interested in getting things done seem to be drawn from a different group that the people who post to slashdot.

Re:first you stop reading slashdot... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9642341)

i got alot of things done today, i read the daily comics, read slashdot a few times, read some newsgroups, read slashdot, read my email, read slashdot, skimmed my spam, flagged a spam as a false positive, read slashdot. and next i plan on posting to slashdot. (which will be done after i hit submit.)

you too can be productive, you just need to call reading slashdot a productive thing.

Bo-Ring (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643721)


Yes, indeed.

I'm surprised the advertisements on Slashdot don't target the demographic more effectively with, say, appeals for "new, more challenging job"

Another fad (2, Insightful)

nandu_prahlad (706343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639534)

Hurrah! Another passing fad comes along. I can't wait to know what the next "big thing" in self improvement will be called. How bout "common sense"?

Re:Another fad (4, Funny)

cei (107343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639655)

The next "big thing?" Extreme Getting Things Done!!! You'll get all your things done faster if two people are doing them at the same time!

Re:Another fad (1)

QueenOfSwords (179856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639974)

In fact there are certain activities that REQUIRE two people at the same time... many Slashdotters will have forgotten what they are though.

Re:Another fad (1)

cei (107343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640005)

Indeed, but then the goal wouldn't necessarily be to get them done "faster"...

Re:Another fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9640345)

Indeed, but then the goal wouldn't necessarily be to get them done "faster"

Why wouldn't you want to clear a level faster in CounterStrike?

Re:Another fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9643043)

The next "big thing?" Extreme Getting Things Done!!! You'll get all your things done faster if two people are doing them at the same time!

Isn't that what marriage is for?

(ducks)

Re:Another fad (3, Funny)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640016)

I can't wait to know what the next "big thing" in self improvement will be called. How bout "common sense"?
That's just so 18th century. We dropped common sense when Hegel was accepted at Tübingen, mate!

Re:Another fad (2, Funny)

Associate (317603) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640022)

Could be worse. Someone could 'Move your cheese'.

Re:Another fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9646372)

Could be worse. Someone could 'Move your cheese'.
Who?

Re:Another fad (3, Insightful)

machinder (527464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640898)

You're absolutely right: what Allen suggests doing is common sense. However glib dismissals like "that's just common sense" are not helpful for two reasons. The first being that what's common sense to one person may not be to another. (That's why people still drink and drive, I believe). The other reason is that there is value in creating a structured system around common sense. I took a budgeting/home economics class in highschool. The contents should be common sense ... don't spend more money than you've got, and know where its going. But there are record numbers of people declaring bankruptcy.

The fact that a book lays out a common sense system and provides some rigidity really doesn't mean that it has no value.

Re:Another fad (1)

chrisatslashdot (221127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643362)

The GTD method is really common sense. But it takes alot of common sense ideas and builds a system that is comprehensive.

It is a lot like Dave Ramsey's financial advice. There is nothing magical or complex about it yet it has helped thousands of people live a better life.

Elvis (2, Funny)

jspoon (585173) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639710)

The King prefers TCB. Takin' Care of Business. Seems way catchier than GTD.

Ecco Pro and Shadow Plan (4, Informative)

Will Sargent (2751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639862)

There's a mailing list, GtD_Palm [yahoo.com] . It looks at different ways to implement GTD.

There's also an Outlook plugin available [davidco.com] .

I like using Ecco Pro and Shadow Plan. Details here [tersesystems.com] and here [tersesystems.com] .

Known David for years, (4, Interesting)

trisweb (690296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9639923)

and let me tell you, he is one amazing person. I have been to his seminar (and one of his trainers' seminars) and it really makes you think about the way you do things. You start by extracting your brain into pages and pages of thoughts (called a brain dump), and then you practice moving each item into this process (the GTD process) whether you define it as a project, an action to complete a larger project, or just a "Someday Maybe" that is important only in the long term. There are a lot of details to the process, but you really need to read the book or go to one of his seminars to understand it fully, and even then you need a lot of practice and dedication beyond that. I highly reccomend both the seminar and the book.

One thing I have to say about GTD is the end result -- you end up with a process to control your life. I can't remember the quote David had -- but basically, his idea was that if you had all the "things" controlled, then you were free. Its honestly a sort of nirvana -- when you reach the point where you have everything you do into this system, and it becomes part of your life, then you don't have to think about the system anymore. So, whatever you had before -- oh, I have to do this and this and this today, but right now I'm doing this with this other thing on my mind but I really want to do this... becomes I am doing this. It's an amazing feeling. But there's more to it than that, so go to David's site [davidco.com] and get into it.

Re:Known David for years, (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9640258)

Yep nice advertisement, I think I'll stick to my Tony Robbins tapes if you don't mind. Got the edge bro?

you end up with a process to control your life

Depressing stuff. If you can't live your life and make it work, and you gotta go to some guy to get a 'process' to help you control it, then man, u gotta ask yourself honestly, 'why am I here?'. Just to go through life 'controlling' yourself, so you can please your boss? So you can keep buying chicken feed for your wife & your fattening kids? Shit man! THINK about what you're saying. Read your post again 10 years from now and I bet it will sound painful to you, painful.

Re:Known David for years, (3, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643078)

I agree. The "nirvana" the poster speak of shouldn't come from the feeling of control over the work, it should come from the very work itself. If you are work on something you truly believe in (and not because you need to suck your boss' or shareholders dick), everything will organize itself. The passion you have will be the force that moves you forward and helps you get things accomplished.


On the other hand, there is always some drudge work that's incidental to the primary task at hand, and it couldn't hurt to establish a methodology to help you slog through it.

Re:Known David for years, (1)

trisweb (690296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645647)

If you are work on something you truly believe in (and not because you need to suck your boss' or shareholders dick), everything will organize itself.

I'm sorry, but if you had an ideal workload that you love every bit of, and an ideal life back at home, and an ideal mind that never forgets, then no one would need systems like this now would they?

Listen, it's just a system. It's not meant for everyone, but it works for most people. And I just noticed your second paragraph, which is basically it. The truth is, most people have a thousand things on their mind at once, and for many people, the ability to focus on one of them while the rest sit waiting and managed in the system is very helpful. It's useful especially when you're doing something you love, because you don't want to think about anything else, and you don't have to.

A quote from David: "You don't make the lists of actions and projects just to get them all done and do nothing else in your life. You process the things you have attention on so you can really do what you feel like doing. And really do it with 100% of your focus and creative energy, with abandon."

Re:Known David for years, (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9665356)

Quoting stuff said by a guy who isn't dead yet is not healthy, OK?

Re:Known David for years, (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 10 years ago | (#9678659)

If you are work on something you truly believe in (and not because you need to suck your boss' or shareholders dick), everything will organize itself. The passion you have will be the force that moves you forward and helps you get things accomplished.

You do realize you're addressing an audience of people at work reading slashdot. Right?

Re:Known David for years, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659582)

you end up with a process to control your life

Or Does the process control you?

Perhaps it satisfies some need to have things more structured in life, some controlling factor. Similar to religion? I'm not calling this a religion, simply drawing similarities.

Re:Known David for years, (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9644850)

Why am I not surprised to hear glowing reports of this system from someone who paid money to attend his "trainer's seminars"...? Why am I not surprised to hear that the system only works best if you take a paid seminar from a trained seminar provider.. like the guy who wrote that message?

This whole thing reminds me of my old boss who used to lecture me about "goal displacement." Instead of working towards your goal, you get into irrelevant but seemingly important tasks. It's like the writer who can't get started until he sharpens all his pencils. This system is just another huge goal displacement activity for people who have no idea what their goals are. To replace real goals with rigid to-do-list methodology is substituting activity for achievement.

Re:Known David for years, (1)

trisweb (690296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9645124)

Well I certainly understand where you're coming from here, but the fact is, I'm just a college student, I've never paid money to attend any of David's seminars (he's a family friend for god's sake, and you'll give me even more flac for that), and all I know is that this stuff just works. It's all just a system, that's all it is, and all you require to "Get things done" is a system, whatever it may be. But the lack of a system to manage my work has caused me so much trouble in the past that I adopted this one, which has been well documented, well practiced, and it works for me. Placing your goals into a rigid and stable system is not replacing them with a system. Look, most of this stuff is common sense. I've heard David say himself that if you already have your own way of getting things done that works for you, then you don't need his. All I'm saying is that this one works for me.

Re:Known David for years, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9650299)

even more flac for that

Yeah baby! [sf.net]

"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9656580)

But the lack of a system to manage my work has caused me so much trouble in the past

Why not just *do* your work instead? All work management systems never have actually answered this point, for me.

When I want to get something done, I do it, and then it's done. It's really pretty damn simple here. I mean, if you have a lot of work to do, then wasting your time by writing down lists of what it is that you have to do seems pretty pointless.

I don't know.. Maybe it's just me, but I've got a frickin' ton of work, and the way I manage it all is that I do it and then I don't have it anymore. I never have had any problems with this method. Maybe I should write a book called "Getting Off Your Fat Ass and Doing the Shit You Need To Do" and make a fortune or something. I could steal Nike's slogan: "Just Do It."

In any case, I have everything I really want because when I want to do something, I do it, and then I'm done and I don't waste my time enumerating the various things I do in my life. Writing down everything you want to do is great, but totally useless unless you actually go and do them. All it does is make you feel like you accomplished something because it's just busy work. And if you do end up actually doing those things, then writing down what you were going to do was a waste of time, because you could have just gone and done them in the first place, no?

Now, to be fair, enumerating what it is you need to do may give you the kick in the ass you need to actually go and do it, and in that sense, it may be worthwhile for you. However, I don't need that kind of motivation. If I want to do a thing, I do it. What more motivation than "I want to do this" should a person need to actually go and do that thing? I don't understand it, that's all. GTD and similar method all seem useless, for me and my life and the way I do things. If they work for you, then more power to you.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

booch (4157) | more than 10 years ago | (#9658891)

I'm not sure if I should feel happy or sad for you. All I know is that I find it remarkable that you can accomlish everything you need/want in a short enough time that you can remember it all. I expect you must get bored not having many goals. Or perhaps you feel good for always accomplishing your goals.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (0, Flamebait)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9659128)

in a short enough time that you can remember it all.

Have you had a wallop to the head? I mean, do you have no long term memory or something?

I have plenty of goals. And I remember them for as long as it takes. So I guess I'm missing your point here. I guess if you're not capable of remembering things, this sort of seminar advice might be more useful.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

booch (4157) | more than 10 years ago | (#9668529)

Can you remember everything you need to buy at the grocery store? If you can, then I suspect that your memory is better than 99% of the people out there. It's this level of detail/importance that people have trouble remembering. Remembering that they have to go to the grocery store and the cleaners is what they generally remember.

And, yes, this is something I regularly keep on my TODO list.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9672041)

Okay then. I guess I simply can't grasp going through life without being able to remember everything I need to remember. I mean, you remember it, and that's it. It's not a particularly hard thing to do like lifting weights or something. Doesn't take any effort. I just can't understand how anybody could forget something that they wanted to remember, especially something that they wanted to actually do. Simply doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Sorry for asking.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

trisweb (690296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9662745)

"What more motivation than 'I want to do this' should a person need to actually go and do that thing?"

That actually works fine if you have the liberty of only needing to focus on one thing, or one thing that you deem important. It helps me (I can only speak for myself) to have a system when I have many things to do. So, when it's "I want to do this and this and this and this" etc, then it's a method for focusing on one thing while being able to take your mind off the rest, and I (and many others) find that helpful. That's all.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9672064)

That actually works fine if you have the liberty of only needing to focus on one thing, or one thing that you deem important. It helps me (I can only speak for myself) to have a system when I have many things to do. So, when it's "I want to do this and this and this and this" etc, then it's a method for focusing on one thing while being able to take your mind off the rest, and I (and many others) find that helpful. That's all.

I grant you that if it works for you then it works for you, I'm simply trying to understand why it's necessary for you... If it helps you to focus, that's good, but the emphasis seemed to be more on memory, and the memory aspect I don't understand. I might forget my own phone number (I never call it, so why would I need to remember it? ;) ), but my goals? The things I'm planning to do later that day/week/year/lifetime? I just can't see that happening, really, and I'm trying to understand it, sort of thing.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (1)

trisweb (690296) | more than 10 years ago | (#9683489)

It's not so much about "necessary" -- it's helpful; a tool -- is your computer necessary to do your work? No, it may not be, but it sure as heck helps you get it done faster so you can focus on more important stuff. And it's not necessarily "goals" either... think of it as a time management system and it makes a little more sense. It's a method (tool) for looking at all the little "things" you have to do and saying, okay, how am I going to get all these done?

So no, I don't need this. I could do work just fine on my own. And even then, I'd have other methods to "get things done" all in my head or whatever. This way is just a useful tool. It's not about "forgetting" to do things, either. One simple list will take care of that. This method uses lists in interesting ways in order to streamline your workflow. It's like using a hammer to drive a nail, instead of a rock. The rock works, but the hammer works better.

Re:"Manage my work"?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9670040)

Grow up!

"I'm so much better than everyone! Let me count that ways!"

You're such a fool! "When I want to get something done, I do it, and then it's done." So you like, do your homework?! How lame?! So you don't have a job, any responsibilities, no long term projects whatsoever?! You live in the now of "I'm gonna go put someone down... YAY!"

loser

Homework? (1)

Otto (17870) | more than 10 years ago | (#9672051)

Sorry pal, but I haven't had any "homework" for over 10 years. I have a job, I make big phat cash, and I have a lot of responsibilities. But thanks for the assumption, however I'm not a kid anymore and my days are not carefree. However, when you finish up your script-kiddie ways, and want to actually have a conversation without having to hide behind the AC moniker, let me know, yeah?

I've been using it (2, Interesting)

Craig Maloney (1104) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640255)

I've been using GTD for many years, and it is truly a transformational system. It takes the mass of coulds, woulds, and shoulds and transforms them into something that you can do. The reason people are so exuberant about it is that it is life changing, and it does work. I've implemented a system using the Palm and Outlook, and it works well for me.

Re:I've been using it (1)

kevtiller (76193) | more than 10 years ago | (#9641064)

I have read the book and like the ideas, although I not even close to being a "black belt".

I have a full time hjob, run a largish website (another full time job) and have 3 kids (currently looking after them by myself, another full time job). Its a messy life and I am crap at organisation. Always missing commitments, being late, being chased and hassled. depressing.

Writing shit down, working out which are the important ones makes it easier.

Sorting thru my inbox and deleting stuff, or putting them into piles so at least I know what's there (even if I haven't done it yet) lifts all that mental angst from my shoulders and I feel better about it.

Its a personal productivity system, not a religion. At the end of the day you need to be organised or learn to be organised to make it work, every day, as there is no silver bullet or pretty pill that will make it work. That's "all" its about. hmmm interesting ..

Confessions of a former self help junkie (5, Insightful)

nandu_prahlad (706343) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640434)

During high school, I used to read a lot of self help books. Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, Tony Robbins, Covey etc were my gurus. Now I don't read them anymore. I have become apathetic to them.

The buzz lasts only for a week or two before you realize that you are low on inspiration and go buy another book... get another fix.
As the years went by, I found just two principles that work for me.
1)Prioritize. Some tasks are more important than the others. Concentrate on them more.
2)Recognize that some info is more important than others. If you know few key things, it is enough. There is no point in learning/knowing other useless stuff.

The 1st one is just basic common sense. Except that the authors use fancy methods like "mind maps", "brain dumps", GTD software etc to help you prioritize stuff. Understand the underlying principle. It doesn't matter if you use paper computer or pda in order to achieve it.

The 2nd point, is important as it reduces info overload. Some wiseman once said "Yes. The learning curve for Unix is certainly steep, compared to other OSes. But you only have to climb it once". The value of having system administration knowledge in Win NT is much lesser than Unix sysadmin skills. Why? Because you will have to relearn it when they change the layout and placement of the buttons in Win 2k, Win XP, Win 2003. But your Unix knowledge from years ago is worth it's weight in gold, as it is still applicable now.
Recognize, this fact and you wont waste your time learning/studying/reading something that has no value.

The above are guidelines that have served me well. I don't claim ownership of these ideas, or affix a fancy name for them. Because they are just common sense.

I have many friends who swear by self-help stuff now. It is interesting to hear them speak at length on the virtues of "mind-maps", on being "in the zone", and what not. I am glad that I completed my self help phase early on in life.

If you feel that you really could use the inspiration from these schemes, go right ahead. Otherwise you may just discover that you can actually get by pretty well in life, without paying attention to them at all.

Re:Confessions of a former self help junkie (1)

DrCode (95839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643834)

I really agree with your second point and your comments about Unix. It reminds me of the fact that I learned the basics of Emacs in the early 80's (using "Mince"), and it's served me well on every platform since then, even a 386 running DOS and an AtariST.

Addiction to epiphanies (1)

yndrd (529288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9646096)

I have come to believe (partly from my own experience, alas) that these books are so appealing because they offer a quick jolt of mastery and competence (maybe even with a chemical burst, too).

I think we're wired to enjoy realizations, and these books are like canned realizations you don't really have to work for.

Re:Addiction to epiphanies (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9650168)

I tend to agree, 'Junk food for the mind' I've heard this type of info called. Slashdot articles and comments fall into the same quick fix category.

Reading a book or webpage is just so much easier than executing an action that requires the long term application of physical and mental effort, and the willingness to take on a risk that means there's a chance you would be better off having done nothing at all.

Frank Tibolt Quote (1)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653395)

"We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action."

Why is this okay ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9640665)

... but the Scientology policy letters on DEV-T (which are also about this particular subject) get completely ignored?

I don't see much difference, personally. In fact, it seems like "Getting Things Done" is in many ways derived from the Dev-T series ...

I guess people just don't like the idea that Scientology make actually work, and that all this bullshit harping about it being 'an evil cult' really is just a major distraction from the one fact that would make everyone seem a fool: Scientology Works.

Re:Why is this okay ... (0, Troll)

computersareevil (244846) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640905)

Clearly Scientology doesn't work. If it did, you would be proudly posting under your own identity, rather than hiding as an Anonymous Coward.

Re:Why is this okay ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9659081)

Although there's a cult-like quality to the fans of GTD, the main difference between this post and Scientology is that I've seen no sign of the GTD people trying to separate new fans from their loved ones. And I haven't heard of GTD fans dressing up in sailor suits.

And I don't think any GTD people have been killed by other devotees; 'Getting Things Done' doesn't have a case like that of Lisa McPherson.

Outlook whitepaper? (1)

machinder (527464) | more than 10 years ago | (#9640799)

Has anyone dropped the $30 for the Outlook GTD whitepaper? Is it worth it?

A+++++++ Would read again (2, Interesting)

chrisatslashdot (221127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643324)

GTD is an excellent book. I wish I had read it right out of high school so that I could have used the GTD method at college.
<p>
After reading the book and implementing the GTD method I feel much more in control. I now feel sorry for the people I see at work not using the GTD method. Its like a conversion experience that needs to be shared.
<p>
I have used the method about 4 months now. I wonder how this method works long term. Anyone been using David's methods for years?

Re:A+++++++ Would read again (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9652558)

A+++++++ Would read again

Do you use eBay by any chance? ;-)

Re:A+++++++ Would read again (1)

chrisatslashdot (221127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9655551)

No I don't use ebay. This was an attempt at humor. As a degreeded engineer I should have known better than to attempt being funny.

Re:A+++++++ Would read again (1)

Gudlyf (544445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653487)

<p>
After reading the book and implementing the GTD method I feel much more in control.

Apparently not enough to select "HTML Formated", though. ;-)

David Cole's palm setup (1)

chrisatslashdot (221127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9643428)

David uses plain PalmOS [davidco.com] , not some fancy GTD software:

Basecamp (2, Informative)

phildog (650210) | more than 10 years ago | (#9644198)

I have no idea if basecamp has anything to do with the Getting Things Done method, but basecamp [basecamphq.com] is an amazing productivity tool for a team or an individual. It is basically a web-based project management tool that creates an intranet.

I have used it to organize my plans and set milestones for some of the websites I work on and have been very pleased with the results. Free trails are available, so there is no reason not to try this if you want to be more productive.

I'd be curious if any users here have tried both GTD and basecamp and do they prefer one over the other, or are they complementary, etc.

People get very emotional about tools that help them get things done. Read some of the posts here or the feedback on the basecamp website and you'll see what I mean :-)

Re:Basecamp (1)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9661010)

Yeah, I love the look of Basecamp, but I'm not into the monthly pricing model. Perhaps I should develop something similar in my spare time, but I just can't seem to organize my time ;-)

Just got it (1)

asyncster (532683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648607)

I downloaded an electronic copy of this book, and I'm in the middle of the first chapter. So far, it has made some pretty interesting arguments, especially how people can only manage their 'actions', not their time or priorities. It also states that you need to have a clear mind to truly be productive, and that anxiety is caused by uncertainty about what to do next. The idea is to make goals and think about the first action you can do to work on the goals.

Very interesting.

Re:Just got it (1)

xluap (652530) | more than 10 years ago | (#9666075)

Could you give a link where i can download it?

Thanks.

Yet Another Convert (2, Interesting)

lww (323019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9648916)

I'm not going to argue with the naysayers about the pro's and con's of GTD as JustAnotherSeminarScam. I will say that it has been an extremely effective system for me personally and that I tend to recommend it to my peers and co-workers who either ask about organizational/productivity systems, or who lament their overwhelmed disorganized mess of a job/life/hobbies, etc. In the last eighteen months I know I've turned at least six other people into GTD'ers. Some alpha geek GTD tools/tips:
  • Dont throw away your TODO file, think of it as your "Stuff" inbox. If you read /., your probably need an online inbox a lot more than a physical one
  • Create a stuff folder on your desktop to drag/drop cut/paste files, links etc. Keep your TODO (or a symlink/shortcut to it) in here
  • GTD recommends a central filing system - I didn't/don't need a physical filing/reference system, but I created an online one with hierarchical topic directories and it's radically changed how I keep/use the tons of docs/info I get weekly. Especially since I dump reference emails in there now too. A nice search engine like X! or Lucene go a long way towards making this work well

I'm a believer (1)

mrjefft (795372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9651691)

I've been using David's model since 1994, when I worked with him on a piece of software which sort of automated the system. If you get a chance to attend one of David's seminars that's when it will truly make sense. Not to be too mystical or anything, but I've gotten anything I've wanted (be careful what you ask for)as a result of using this system. It's really easy once you get a feel for it. Read it, try it and keep refining your system and you'll be amazed at the results. jeff

In college I learned BA (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9653942)

I got a BA in college, that's for Bustin' Ass, and that's how I GTD.

"After that, you can change your name from Kickin' Wing to Kickin' Ass! I would!" -- Joe Dirt

My Take (GTD as a methodology) (3, Interesting)

cmpalmer (234347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9685852)

After reading this thread the other day, I went out at lunch and bought the book. I read it skeptically, but really liked many of the ideas, so I decided to give it a try. Went out the next day and bought office supplies.

I'm finished with my office at work and I'm going to tackle my house probably over the weekend. Cleaned and sorted 1000+ e-mails, dumped my filing cabinet and started over, did a lot of brainstorming and planning. If I don't do anything else, I've actually accomplished quite a bit.

While I understand the criticisms of (a) management fads, (b) self-help seminar sales, and (c) silver-bullet, one size fits all plans, what I don't understand is why people fail to look at this the same way they look at, e.g., software development methodologies.

Sure, (a), (b), and (c) above all apply to software methodologies (waterfall, extreme programming, etc.), but you don't hear as many people saying you don't need to read or follow any of these, it's just common sense. Or, just do it.

I'm looking at GTD as the equivalent to a software engineering methodology for processing all of the tasks and information that I have to deal with. I don't expect it to be perfect. I don't expect to have the discipline to follow it religiously. I do hope to keep it up for a while and follow the principles.

The thing that impresses me the most is that it attempts to be streamlined. The reason I need some help is the fact that I am undisciplined, so following a few habits that are designed to be quick and easy and don't require double-entry bookkeeping or writing down every single thing that I do seems to be a good idea. So far, so good -- I hope I keep it up.

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