If you’re having dilemma on how to increase your productivity and achieve success, the answer is simple: Let go of stress. David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity explains it all.
Stress is the main hindrance in reaching your goals. The best way to reduce, if not totally eliminate, stress is to get things done. In simpler terms, organize. Getting Things Done provides information and tactics on determining the right steps to take.
What’s good about this book is that the author included not only his suggested methods and processes, but also details on how to apply them. He has also elucidated the effectiveness of his methods and other benefits.
According to Allen, a person is at the peak of productivity when his mind is clear of the so-called “open loops”. These are the things that are supposedly done in a period of time but you failed to do so because your mind keeps on thinking that you can never finish them. Allen utilized computer’s RAM (random access memory) in explaining it further. Just like RAM, if you fill your short-term memory with too much stuff, it will blow up. He emphasized that the conscious mind is a tool for focusing on necessary things and not a storage room.
A vital part of the book is the part where David Allen explained the 5 Stages of Mastering Workflow. These are:
You need to collect all uncompleted items and put them in collection tools, such as note-taking gadgets or instruments, e-mail, voice recorder, or the physical in-basket. There are three factors that must be considered for the success of the collection stage: a. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head; b. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with; and c. You must empty them regularly.
To understand this stage, the author created outlines and flowchart. The process stage encourages the person to review on each of the tasks that are remained to be done and decide on whether you must do it, delegate it, or defer it.
You must have the necessary tools for you to have a sense of organization. This part typically suggests that you can have a calendar or a planner. However, Allen strictly emphasized in the book that “to file” and “to read” folders must be avoided because they won’t work. Have your “Next Actions” list.
Frequently check your calendar. Every time you finished something, mark it on your calendar and check what’s left to do. Then look at your “Next Actions” list.
After all the organizing and such, you’re left with a load of your “Next Actions” list. In this stage, Allen gave tips to help you decide which action to take first. You can simply apply his four criteria: context, time available, energy available, and priority.
The detailed methods written on Getting Things Done made it a better guide. Allen’s system is simple yet considered to be effective. Nonetheless you must be committed to change in addition to adhering with the book’s strategies to achieve positive outcome.