Key Points from Book: Getting Things Done

Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action -David Kekich

If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything -Shunryu Suzuki

Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does

Write down the project or situation that is most on your mind at this moment

Write down the very next physical action required to move the situation forward

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought -Henry Bergson

The constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy -Kerry Gleeson

We need to transform all the “stuff” we are trying to organize into actionable stuff we need to do

You can’t do a project, you can only do an action related to it

There is no reason ever to have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought

In order to eliminate “holes in the bucket” you need to collect and gather together placeholders for or representations of all the things you consider incomplete in your world

The collection stage:
Get it all out of your head
Minimize the number of collection buckets
Empty the buckets regularly

Organize the actions you will need to take based on the decisions you have made about what needs to be done

Projects do not need to be listed in any particular order, whether by size or priority. They just need to be on a master list so you can review them regularly enough to ensure that appropriate next actions have been defined for each of them

If you write something on a calendar, it must get done that day or not at all. The only rewriting should be for changed appointments

The most important thing to remember here is that reference should be exactly thay, information that can be easily referred to when required. It take two forms: topic and area specific storage, and general reference files

It’s a good habit, as soon as you conclude an action on your calendar, to check and see what else remain to be done

Review your list as often as you need to, to get them off your mind

The weekly review:
Gather and process all your stuff
Review your system
Update your lists
Get clean, clear, current, and complete

Every decision to act is intuitive one, the challenge is to migrate from hoping it’s the right choice to trusting it’s the right choice

Four criteria model for choosing actions in the moment:
Context (where you are now and what you can do there)
Time available
Energy available

You’ve got to think about the big things while doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction -Alvin Toffler

When people do more planning, more informally and naturally, they relieve a great deal of stress and obtain better results

5 steps to accomplish any task:
Defining the purpose and principles
Outcome visioning
Identifying next actions

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging -Will Rogers

Often the only way to make a hard decision is to come back to the purpose

You often need to make it up in your mind before you can make it happen in your life

I always wanted to be somebody. I should have been more specific -Lily Tomlin

Brainstorm and mind map every project to get the details

The great thing about external brainstorpming is that in addition to capturing your original ideas, it can help generate many new ones that might not have occured to you if you didn’t have a mechanism to hold your thoughts and continually reflect them back to you

Brainstorming keys:
Don’t judge, challenge, evaluate, criticize
Go for quantity, not quality
Put analysis and organization in the background

The habit of clarifying the next action on projects, no matter what the situation, is fundamental to you staying in relaxed control

If the next action is not yours, you must nevertheless clarify whose it is

If the project is still on your mind, there’s more planning to do

If the brainstorming session get bogged down with fuzzy thinking, the focus should shift back to the vision of the outcome, ensuring that the reticular filter in the brain will open up to deliver the best how-to thinking. If the outcome or vision is unclear, you must return to a clean analysis of why you are engaged in the situation in the first place

If your space is properly set up and streamlined. It can reduce your unconscious resistance to dealing with your stuff and even make it attractive for you to sit down and crank through your input and work

It is critical that you have your own work space. You want to use your system, not just think about them

Train yourself to notice and collect anything thst doesn’t belong where it is forever

Consider whether your collectible and nostalgia items are still meaningful to you

Until you know what the next physical action is, there’s more thinking reauired before anything can happen

You’ll be surprised how many two minute actions you can perform even on your most critical projects

The categories (do, delegate, defer) must be kept visually, physically, and psychologically separate

Think carefully about where and how you can and can’t do which actions, and organize your lists accordingly

Those who make the worst of their time are the first to complain of its shortness -Jean de La Bruysre

If material is purely for reference, the only issue is whether it is worth the time and space required to keep it

The best place fo succeed is where you are with what you have -Charles Schwab

One of the greatest blocks to organizational productivity is the lack of decision by a senior person about the necessity of a meeting, and with whom, to move an important issue forward

The sense of anxiety and guilt doesn’t come from having too much to do, it’s the automatic result of breaking agreements with yourself. Solution: Don’t make agreement, complete the agreement, renegotiatr the agreement

When a culture adopts “what’s the next action?” As a standard operating query, there’s an automatic increase in energy, productivity, clarity, and focus

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one -Mark Twain

There are only two problems in life: you know what you want, and you don’t know how to get it; you don’t know what you want -Steven Snyder

An idealist believes that the short run doesn’t count. A cynic believes fhe long run doesn’t matter. A realist believes that what is dones or left undone in the short run determines the long run -Sidney J. harris


About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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