Monday, May 02, 2005

Book review: Getting Things Done, David Allen

I spent a few minutes before I started writing digging for the link. Doesn't it seem like anyone who makes a living as a consultant should have a blog? What a great way to get your personality across, and consultants are nothing without personality.

There was a book that came out a while ago about using Outlook as your primary organizing tool. I went to Amazon to read the reviews. Someone said that it was nothing more than "Getting Things Done" with a few tool-specific tricks. I thought at that point I should go read the original rather than the copy. I wasn't disappointed.

I wasn't knocked out of my socks either. It was a good book, and the principals seem straightforward, although to keep using the system sounds like a lot of work. For example, David recommends getting your workstation set up properly with file cabinets and in-boxes; I kept thinking to myself, yep, just as soon as I get a bigger house. But there was some useful stuff. He recommends an indirection from your Inbox, which is where everyone at my company lives, so I tried clearing out the whole Inbox to some alternate folders: "Action Items", "Read and Review", and a few others. I'm not sure how much the system will really help me, but I'm willing to give it a whirl for a while. I suppose I went into the book looking for a tie-in to XP - I figured I'd have my inbox on a set of 3x5 cards that I'd carry around with me. It does seem like you need to have some portable inbox, though, whether it's a Palm or a paper organizer, neither of which I have. Of course, my job requires just about zero travel anyway.

Anyway, my Inbox is empty now, and I have a list of things in my Actions folder, and another list of things in my Tasks, which hopefully I will remember to check every so often. So we'll see how it goes. Maybe it will revolutionize my life. Wouldn't that be nice?