Chapter 1 – Starting with the GTD Book

Well, I had just returned from training and did not have much time but I was eager to read at least some of the book so that I could make a start reviewing it, and hopefully learning something from the “powers within”.

The book is split into three parts. Part 1 is titled “The Art of Getting Things Done”, and it consists of three chapters. The first chapter is titled “A New Practice for a New Reality”.

The book has quite a few motivational and relevant quotes throughout. I will blog about my favorite thoughts as I go through the book.

This night, I read up to page 14 of the book and must admit that I am off to a great start. I practice spead reading, so can read quite quick. I will blog later about the books and methods I picked up to learn speed reading. it is a great way of getting through a lot of information and pretty key in todays information overload society. However, I instantly slowed myself down for this book. it is funny how when you are reading something to comment, your speed reading techniques slow down. This is probably because I am pretty new to speed reading, so I will have to work on that.

The chapter starts by setting the scene about the working environment of today. It states very truly that in the past, work used to have clear boundaries and was visible. For example, the farmer could see the field he had to plough and it was obvious to him when that work was complete. Today, a lot of work has no visibility, and also not very well defined boundaries. I work as a techie. It is always an issue that technical people can easily “pull the wool” over non-technical peoples eyes with regards to their work. One of my guys can try telling me that it will take three days to do a piece of work and if I was not technical myself, how would I be able to question this? I would just have to trust him and take his word for it.

David (When I refer to David, I am talking about David Allen, the author of the GTD book and methodology) has a good definition for what he considers work, which is worth repeating here.

I consider “work,” in its most universal sense, as meaning anything that you want or need to be different than it currently is.

He does go on to explain this himself but the idea of the blog is for my opinion so here is my try. The differentiator David is trying to make here is that the GTD methodology is not limited purely to “work” in the traditional sense. That is, in the 9-5 (or more normally 8-7) sense. Now that has got me onto another slightly off topic. Working 9-5, the song, the theory, the dream!. Working 9-5 would be great, when was the last time you did that or am I doing something wrong?

The essence of David’s statement is that the GTD methodology is good, not only for what we class work, but also for tasks that have to be carried out in our personal lives. For those of you with wives, I guess you know what I mean. I have a friend in the US who calls this his “HoneyDo List”, because his wife always starts with “Honey Do this, do that.”

This section also covers the inadequacy of our existing systems. I remember 15 years ago when owning a Filofax was classed as a status symbol and an essential productivity tool. Hmm, somehow they do not cut the mustard today when everybody with an email address is cc’ing you in to every email they send!. These paper based systems then transcended into PDAs. PDAs where great, when you actually had it, and it was not on the back seat of a taxi or on your desk in the office. Again, great devices, ideal for solitaire but didn’t you find yourself working around them rather than them working around you?

Anyway, time to leave for work, rant over. see you again soon for the next installment…

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