Book Impression: Getting Things Done

LENGTH: 288 pages
READING LEVEL: 3 (easy to read, straightforward, will inspire you to act right away)

Bright purple and gold wallpaper lines the walls of a nicely sized cubicle. Light from an architect's lamp illuminates a spot on the beautiful mahogany U-shaped desk. A stapler, 2 hole punch, tape dispenser, pen cup, and Post-It note holder line one side of the desk, deliberately placed in order of use. Certifications, inspiring quotes and family pictures are framed and arranged along the walls and on the desk. A green plant sits in the corner of the desk to bring abundance, its leaves reaching for the overhead fluorescent lights. It's a wonderful place for a young administrative assistant to get her work done.

BEFORE READING GTD: The desk is soon covered with papers, stacks of notepads with random notes, and clipboards containing a menagerie of forms and other (sometimes unrelated) paperwork. The large computer monitor is flooded with reminders; I close the window and ignore them. I scribble to-do lists on Post-It notes for the next day, but can't even look at them half the time. I forget to do important things and can't prioritize my work. 

AFTER READING GTD: Immediately inspired to action, my first step is to dump all the things in my brain out onto paper. I am surprised at how many projects and deadlines I tried to keep organized in my mind, and am empowered as I realize that anyone would have been overwhelmed. 

Having dumped it all out, I go through each task one by one assigning an action to it. I either complete it right away, delegate it to someone else, or defer it. I am able to complete 30% of the small tasks weighing on my mind, delegate some others, and comfortably put off the rest for a better time. For the first time in years, I feel in control of my work. 

A few days later, I clean out a drawer and institute the "tickler" system. I am now able to store notes and important documents required for each task on the day I want to complete it - and forget about it until then. Every morning I come into the office, dump the contents of that day's folder, and see my progress and upcoming tasks at a glance. I can then defer again, complete, or delegate whatever is there. It's magnificent.

my tickler, in case ya'll think I'm lying or something

I've had this system in place for a few months now, and I understand why so many people swear by this book. My to-do lists are now much shorter and more focused since I don't have to squeeze everything on them. I have eliminated stress by knocking out small, quick to complete tasks I would have otherwise put aside for later. I'm able to do more critical thinking now, too. The new function of my desk perfectly complements the professional design.  

If you're feeling overwhelmed by tasks and need help, you can sample or buy the book here: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Has Getting Things Done worked for you? Do you have any other task management systems that have worked for you? Sound off in the comments!

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