Getting Things Done


  • Author: David Allen
  • Full Title: Getting Things Done
  • Category: #books


  • Anxiety is caused by a lack of control, organization, preparation, and action. (Location 358)
  • This consistent, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy. —Kerry Gleeson (Location 684)
  • Getting things done requires two basic components: defining (1) what “done” means (outcome) and (2) what “doing” looks like (action). And these are far from self-evident for most people about most things that have their attention. (Location 767)
  • There is usually an inverse relationship between how much something is on your mind and how much it’s getting done. (Location 805)
  • There is no reason to ever have the same thought twice, unless you like having that thought. (Location 811)
  • We (1) capture what has our attention; (2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it; (3) organize the results, which presents the options we (4) reflect on, which we then choose to (5) engage with. (Location 868)
  • The way I look at it, the calendar should be sacred territory. If you write something there, it must get done that day or not at all. The only rewriting should be for changed appointments. (Location 1178)
  • Your automatic creative mechanism is teleological. That is, it operates in terms of goals and end results. Once you give it a definite goal to achieve, you can depend upon its automatic guidance system to take you to that goal much better than “you” ever could by conscious thought. “You” supply the goal by thinking in terms of end results. Your automatic mechanism then supplies the means whereby. —Maxwell Maltz (Location 1652)
  • The real trick to ensuring the trustworthiness of the whole organization system lies in regularly refreshing your thinking and your system from a more elevated perspective. That’s impossible to do, however, if your lists fall too far behind your reality. You won’t be able to fool yourself about this: if your system is out of date, your brain will be forced to fully engage again at the lower level of remembering. (Location 3964)
  • the magic key to the sustainability of the process is the Weekly Review. (Location 3970)
  • Remember that you make your action choices based on the following four criteria, in order: Context Time available Energy available Priority (Location 4153)
  • I am an old man, and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. —Mark Twain (Location 5045)
  • There is another solution: intelligently dumbing down your brain by figuring out the next action. (Location 5071)
  • I have had several sophisticated senior executives tell me that installing “What’s the next action?” as an operational standard in their organization was transformative in terms of measurable performance output. It changed their culture permanently and significantly for the better. (Location 5108)
  • twenty minutes before the agreed end time of the discussion I must force the question: “So what’s the next action here?” (Location 5118)
  • Next-action decision making on “stuff to do” (Location 5566)
  • Fully utilizing the “Waiting For” category, such that every expected deliverable from others is inventoried and reviewed for follow-up in adequate timing Using Agenda lists to capture and manage communications with others Keeping a simple, easily accessible filing and reference system Keeping the calendar as pure “hard landscape” without undermining its trustworthiness with extraneous inputs Doing Weekly Reviews to keep one’s system functional and current (Location 5567)