Getting Things Done is an out-of-this-world book for busy people. I picked it up about a couple of years ago in an airport and it changed the way I view time. David Allen is a genius of time management. Of David’s many great concepts, the following radically altered my views. You have to get everything out of your head and into a system. Since reading the book, I have implemented his approach with great success. I also got to hear from David at Leadercast. Here are my top takeaways:
1. Appropriate Engagement
“You can only feel good about what you’re not doing when you know you are not doing it.” This is why you must have things in a system and not in your head only. When you systemize your planning, you know what you are not doing. Take the thinking out of thinking what you need to be doing.
2. It’s not about time, it’s about space.
You need room in your mind for appropriate mental energy. When you cook in a kitchen it is better to start with a clean kitchen, then make a mess. In the same way, you need a clean slate or freed thinking space to develop your best thoughts, i.e. make a mess. (That’s a great analogy for most of my thinking!)
3. Fight for flexibility, not perfection
We all want the perfect time management system and it probably does not exist. What we really need to fight for is the flexibility in our schedule that provides more control. The perfect day I suppose would end with nothing left to be done. For most of us, this is a ridiculous dream.