Despite reading many books on organization, time-management, etc., I had yet to find a methodology that really worked for a scatterbrain like myself. Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits was overbearing, and required too much “stuff.” The concept that I had to plan my day down to the minute was crazy, and have not met anyone who does this effectively. Other books, such as Time Management for Dummies, First Things First, and The Four Hour Workweek all required simultaneous habit changes in order to be effective. Being a scatterbrain, requiring more than one habit change at a time was simply asking way too much — it was downright absurd. Furthermore, some of the suggestions made in these books were wishful thinking, as in the case of The Four Hour Workweek which advised hiring a secretary in India to do most of your work for you (HA! Do they do homework too?). Even more implausible, the author suggested starting an online business to automate revenue, which sounds good in theory; too bad his example was selling french style striped T-shirts.
I had given up on these self-help books years ago, and rightly so IMHO. Then things started happening which forced me analyze how I manage my to-do lists (or rather, did not manage it). School was getting harder, chores were neglected, phone calls were missed, and I was always exhausted. To boot, we’re looking to move out of the country, sell our house and everything in it, planning a going away party, planning trips to see family, and I’m trying to study for the MCATs. So, I broke down and bought Getting Things Done by David Allen.
Finally I discovered a book which not only “get’s it,” but also understands how to, no pun intended, get things done! Instead of fighting my habits, this book is showing me how to benefit from them. GTD doesn’t require anyone to change their entire life in order to become more organized like so many other books — which claim anyone can be more organized by simply changing everything about themselves. GTD is not full of the same suggestions over and over, such as breaking bigger projects into smaller pieces (duh), or incentivizing (when you finish this task, you can have a whole gallon of ice cream!). Rather, GTD outlines a method which is completely compatible for those of us who really need a book on organization, time-management, and completing the items on an ever growing to-do list. Unlike other books, GTD understands it’s readership and offers valuable tips and tricks which, almost magically, make someone more organized. As the author puts it, “we trick ourselves everyday, like putting important documents next to the door the night before we need to take them with us.” The strategies suggested in this book are so simple, even I can do them (which is saying a lot).
Suffice to say, GTD is the best book on organization I have ever read (and I’ve read a lot of these types of books!). It’s easy to read, easy to implement, and does not make you feel bad about yourself. A great find, a great book, and a great addition to my library. Highly recommended!
Check out the book here, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.