Beginning a Career in Public Relations

Monday, August 01, 2005

Are You 'Getting Things Done'? - The book that has changed my life

I'm dedicating this post to my boss, Ed Schipul of Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, for sharing the book Getting Things Done by David Allen with all of our staff. I read this book a few months ago and am re-reading parts of it. I've applied many of the techniques in the book and my stress level is MUCH lower. (Click here to read more and order the book!)

Allen presents the four D's to getting things done - those are Do it, Delegate it, Defer it or Drop it.

The place where this system has helped me the most is my email inbox! My boss has a rule that our inboxes can not hold more than 30 items at a time - and after reading this book, I freak out if there are ANY items in my inbox! That may sound insane, but here's what you do:

As soon as you receive an email, make a decision. Is it something that you can answer or find an answer in less than two minutes? If so, DO IT.

If it's not something YOU can address, DELEGATE IT to the appropriate person - co-worker, teammate, etc. (but hold THEM accountable to complete the task)

If it's something that is not going to be done today or even this week, DEFER IT to your task list (better known as your "next actions" list.)

And if it's something you know can't be done, or at least not this year, DROP IT - but not completely, if you don't want to. Allen suggests everyone create a "someday-maybe" list for those things we'd like to do in this lifetime - like parasail or swim across the Atlantic.

His point is that if we don't write things down, they circle in our minds (his "open loop" concept) and just cause more clutter and stress.

So, make your lists and each time you get a project - identify the NEXT ACTION associated with that project - for example, "get oil changed" is not a good list item if first you must call the garage and make an appointment or look up the address for the closest oil change location. So, the item on your list is actually "look up number for oil change location."

There's so much more - and email is just one example - so I encourage everyone to read this book and put it into action and Get Things Done!

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