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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Knowledge Worker's Trauma & Getting Things Done -GTD by David Allen

I am not too enthused with self-help books. The Jargon, The buzz-words , superlative associations to trivial things and make ordinary ideas look Great, and the weak analogies and examples often used, makes me uncomfortable - There are ofcourse exceptions, to this. But I’ve just succumbed and bought anothe of these - self-help book. I’d been hearing a lot of geek love for the book Getting Things Done (usually abbreviated to GTD) by David Allen.You know the drill. It's Monday morning. You arrive at work exhausted from a weekend spent entertaining the kids, paying bills, and running errands. You flick on your PC -- and 70 new emails greet you. Your phone's voice-mail light is already blinking, and before you can make it stop, another call comes in. With each ring, with each colleague who drops by your office uninvited, comes a new demand -- for attention, for a reaction, for a decision, for your time. By noon, when you take 10 minutes to gulp down a sandwich at your desk, you already feel overworked, overcommitted -- overwhelmed.According to David Allen, 54, one of the world's most influential thinkers on personal productivity, this is the "silent trauma" of knowledge workers everywhere.We inhabit a world, he says, in which there are "no edges to our jobs" and "no limit to the potential information that can help us do our jobs better." What's more, in a competitive environment that's continually being reshaped by the Web, we're tempted to rebalance our work on a monthly, weekly, even hourly basis. Unchecked, warns Allen, this frantic approach is a recipe for dissatisfaction and despair -- all-too-common emotions these days for far too many of us.Allen argues that the real challenge is not managing your time but maintaining your focus: "If you get too wrapped up in all of the stuff coming at you, you lose your ability to respond appropriately and effectively. Remember, you're the one who creates speed, because you're the one who allows stuff to enter your life." David suggests simple and repeatable steps for organising things - creating, classifying, prioritizing can make life easier for people.David has come up with a simplified
workflow diagram here. While the book itself would take some time to finish reading, a good summary is available here. The summary gives a step-by-step procedure to understand and implement the GTD framework.Long back, I read "You can do anything - but not everything." at Fastcompany - I revisited this, only to find how consistent that David has been all along. I shall also be publishing my experience of implementing GTD in the near future.
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