One-Sentence Summary: To be efficient, your mind must be crystal clear, like spring water; to get to that point you need to get rid of all the parasitic thoughts that permanently distract you, which you can accomplish by putting everything that you want to, or must do into an external automated system, thus relieving your brain of the need to think – which it does badly, without directed prioritization and without consciously choosing the right moment.
By David Allen, 272 pages, published en 2001.
Summary and Book Report:
Let’s get right to the point: the GTD method is famous in the United States, it is a best seller and features in numerous web-based resources, whether in the form of articles to help you get things done or software to go with it (there are over forty currently, for all platforms, and most are free!) I have also translated [into French] different articles on using it on my blog, Habitudes Zen, which allowed me to understand the method before reading the book.
The author, who has been a business management and productivity consultant for 20 years, begins by showing that the working world has evolved and that managers often have to multi-task to get several things done at once, and even if they could dedicate their whole life to it, no doubt they would not have enough time to do things as well as they would prefer. What’s more, numerous organizations have had their internal boundaries eroded, and their effectiveness rest on endless collaboration and communications using different services – and you can no longer avoid any of the many mail services in use. Executives therefore generally need to multitask more than before. This evolution by organizations must necessarily come with new tools and new work approaches.
Imagine if you could do, if you could choose to focus completely on your tasks, without any interruptions, parasitic thoughts, daydreams and other sources of distraction, while remaining alert and in full possession of your faculties. Sound like a dream? It’s possible. David Allen recommends with his method something that martial arts practitioners call “mind like water,” or athletes call “in the zone”, a state of mind that is free from worry and totally focused on the goal you want to reach. You have no doubt already experienced it at times. Were you able to perform better, feel more satisfied with yourself and your accomplishments in that moment? David Allen recommends a system to make those moments the norm. Let’s see how.