Getting things done summary will teach you how to be productive at work, school and life. Learn the 5 steps that guarantee a stress free productivity.
How to be more productive in life?
This is the book summary of Getting Things Done by David Allen, this book teaches a 5 step system for being more productive and less stressed with your work. Undoubtedly, everyone on this planet wants an answer to how to be more productive? The answer to this question is these five steps: Capture, Process, Organize, Review and Engaging.
The Five Steps of getting things done system
Getting things done summary
Imagine there is a person who is always stressed and anxious about his work (both professional and personal). In other words, he is too scared about how the pile of work will be completed. And even after he finishes them, one or two items are still left because he forgot to do it.
Now we all know this same thing has happened to us many times, we were supposed to forward an email, make 5 calls, meet two clients, purchase a dozen of items for home, preparing the presentation for tomorrow, attending a marriage on a given date, conformation of electricity bill payment, do a research for the car that you want to purchase etc. but we tend to forget to do two or more thing.
This happens because our mind cannot remember each and every thing all the time. And so it becomes stressed. We should do things add meaning to our life and thus live a chaos free life.
Capturing is the stage where we write down all the tasks that need to be done, no matter how big or small. We should write them because when things stay on our mind, they will occupy our mind and it becomes stressful and energy consuming, ultimately killing our productivity.
So how can we capture? To capture all the tasks, make a to-do list on any digital note or physical notebook, for instance, Color notes, Google keep etc. Write where it’s comfortable and easy to reach, you might not carry your notebook to everywhere you go but you definitely carry your phone with you.
Getting things done tools
Here I am sharing the getting things done software that can be helpful in capturing step so it becomes easy to write the tasks:
- Wrike – It helps in create their tasks and develop a schedule for the tasks and eventually get things done in a stress free way.
- GTD Todoist – This tool have additional features like creating filters so that people are not lost in your long list of tasks.
Moreover, to know what apps does David Allen use watch the video below.
Now that we have captured all the tasks in a device or a notebook. Next we need to process these tasks by asking questions that will help us clarify what’s important, for instance, like what task is it exactly? What will be its outcome, subsequently? Is the task actionable? If actionable, then what is the next action to be taken? Can the task be done in 2 minutes?
The purpose of doing this is to clarify what is important and also what is not important, what is urgent and what is not urgent. Furthermore, it will give a picture of how your tasks should be prioritized.
If task can be done in two minutes then do it then and there only. If the task can take time see whether it can be delegated or deferred. We will be talking about delegating and deferring in detail in the next step.
Let’s understand this step with an example. Previously, we talked about a list of task that we were supposed to do: we were supposed to forward an email, make 5 calls, meet two clients, purchase a dozen of items for home, preparing the presentation for tomorrow, attending a marriage on a given date, conformation of electricity bill payment, do a research for the car that you want to purchase.
So, here the questions we can ask ourselves are: What exactly are these tasks? I will understand who exactly I have to forward the mail, whom exactly do I have to make the calls to, what items I need to purchase?
The next question is, are there tasks that we can do in 2 minutes? Yes, we can forward the mails in about 2 minutes. And hence, with help of this step we get clarity of what the tasks exactly are.
Thirdly in the Getting Things Done system you have to organize the task. So in this step we will be categorizing the task under different categories. These categories are: DO, DELEGATE, DEFER, REFERENCE, TRASH.
‘Do’ category – All the list of items that can be done in two minutes will be categorized. Above all, these tasks should be done then and there.
“Delegate” category – All the tasks that can be delegated to someone else so you don’t have to do it and the task is also accomplished.
‘Reference‘ category – We put all the stuff that are useful in the future but not actionable.
‘Trash’ category – All the tasks that are left out are added.
So, after categorizing we need to ask ourselves that what will be our next possible action.
Continuing the example form the first and second step.
In the ‘do’ category all the tasks that can be done within two minutes are to be added, so here that task is forwarding the mail. So we forward the mail right now without delaying it further more. Preparation of presentation can be delegated to a subordinate, it will also motivate him to do it and your task will be accomplished.
In ‘Defer’ category, the tasks that are to be done on a future date can be added for instance, here that task is attending the marriage on the certain date.
In ‘reference’ category, electricity bill has to be added so that on a later date you can refer to the bill as an address proof.
The information gathered about the car that you need to purchase can also be added to reference category or someday else category as it can be used at the time of actual purchase of the car.
Subsequently, the electricity bill payment receipt can be added to trash as it might not be useful. So our next possible actions here are finding the mail address of the person whom we have to forward, finding whom to delegate the work, marking the date of marriage on the calendar etc.
Fourthly, you have to review your list on a regular basis. The author says that a person should review the list weekly or monthly. So to review the list and the tasks you can ask yourself questions, for example, what are my short term goals? How close I am to my goals? Do I need to make some corrections? In short the list should be updated.
By reviewing we will understand where we stand, how far we have reached. Reviewing helps your mind to be clear and current. You can use you reference list at the time of review or you can use your someday list to do the task you earlier thought you would do someday, well today is the day.
Continuing our previous example, in the review stage our short term goal is to purchase a new car, here we can ask question that am I saving the money required to purchase the car, have there been a change in any features of the car. Likewise another short term goal is to attend the marriage, so we need to review how many days are left.
As I saved the electricity bill, so do I need to show it as an address proof for any event or transaction, if not, we can move it to trash or use it as an address proof wherever required.
The last step of the GTD system is the actually implementation and completing the tasks. Now that we are stress-free as we have removed the pile of work from my memory to a digital storage or a notebook, it’s time for us to do the task and accomplish our goals. Following these steps leads to effectiveness and efficiency in whatever we do thus making you productive individual.
Enjoyed getting things done summary? Also check out How to stop worrying and start living.
BEFORE AND AFTER APPLYING GETTING THINGS DONE METHOD
|CAPTURE||Before capturing, you might know your tasks but it would be piled up. Leading to stress and less productivity. If you don’t have a list of task that you have to do, you might forget to work on one or two tasks.||After capturing, you will have a list of tasks that are needed to be done. Obviously you would be stress-free as these tasks are removed from your memory and will help in increasing productivity.|
|PROCESS||Before processing, you might not have a list of the next actions to be taken to accomplish the tasks.||After processing, you will have a list of your I immediate next action and what tasks are actionable or not.|
|ORGANIZE||Before organizing, you might not know what tasks falls in what category or how important and urgent they are. So, without organizing your path to accomplishing tasks is not structured. And eventually leads to stress.||After categorising the tasks you can know which tasks to keep for someday later, which one to move to trash, which one to do and which one to delegate.|
|REVIEW||Before reviewing, you might not know what your short term goals are and might not have a track of progress.||After reviewing, you will be having track of your progress and understanding of short term goals, outcomes, plans etc.|
|ENGAGING||Before engaging, might not be able to accomplish all the tasks.||Lastly you need to engage.|
After engaging, in other words, after taking action you will be able to accomplish all the tasks without stress.
In conclusion we can say that implementing these key ideas from Getting Things Done by David Allen will help an individual in stress-free accomplishment of tasks. Being productive is something everyone wants to be. But the things are easier said than done, it might be difficult to do at first but as you practice it gets better and better. After all, repetition becomes a habit.
So who would have imagined that simple 5 steps can lead to stress-free productivity? I hope you learned the system after reading getting things done summary and only learning is not enough you should also apply it from now on. You are free to comment below to give your suggestions, recommendations and feedback.
David Allen, he is a productivity consultant who is best known as the creator of the time management method known as “Getting Things Done”.
The book explains a process to for handling a pile of tasks and stuff in a systematic manner, to eventually gain stress free productivity.
I am currently pursuing MBA in Marketing and Sales specialization (2018-2020) from Amity Business School, Noida.