At a recent conference of digital project managers in Manchester one question I heard asked many times was “How do you organise yourself to get things done?
And the answer that came up again and again (from those that had an answer) was “Follow the principles in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done“.
What Is It?
This has to be one of the most comprehensive books on personal productivity that I have ever read. It doesn’t just focus on managing your workload but takes into account that the things you are trying to manage range from tasks you have to do NOW all the way up to life goals. While most of us who use it conceded that we didn’t use all the approaches he describes, we had all taken away something from it that made our life easier and stopped us becoming overwhelmed.
Our Favourite Things
The most widely used techniques among us were
- Get everything out of your head and written down. It doesn’t matter whether it is in paper or electronic form. Choose what works for you.
- Focus on identifying the step you need to take next for any of your goals or projects. This helps prevent you being overwhelmed by the magnitude of them.
- Inbox zero. Decide what to do with everything in your inbox every day, whether that is action it, delete, file or defer. And do it. (This principle doesn’t work for me personally, but others swear by it.)
- If something will take under 2 minutes, just do it.
If you struggle with getting things done then I thoroughly recommend reading Getting Things Done and trying some of the techniques. Let me know what your favourite parts are!