Getting Things Done by David Allen , is the most talked about self-help book in town (and by town I mean blogs). There are numerous references to it in 43folders, lifehack, SlackerManager and such. I haven’t read the book yet but decided to start off with The Weekly Reviews by David Allen. This Weekly Review took me by surprise. And I’m sure if you are a organised person, you would feel the same too. Here I share with you what Vivek and I do to get things done at our home! We are not great at it as before but we manage to pull it off.
Listed below are the points from David Allen’s Weekly Review and what we do below for each one of those.
- Loose Papers All our drawers, cupboards and file cabinets were filled with tons and tons of paper, notepads, training material from seminars and miscellaneous bills of the past 6 years. To begin with, we set aside one Saturday and just got on to the task. This is the difficult part - taking out time on a weekend and just doing it. Once you begin, you are determined to get it done. Firstly, I took an empty shoebox and partitioned it inside into 3 and labelled it credit card bills, telephone bills and electricity bills. Each partition was just big enough to hold 6 bills. From our collection of all the bills, we just retained the recent 6 months and got rid of the rest. Similarly for all the other items. As a practice after that, when a new bill comes in, instead of getting strewed around, it goes in the box and the old one goes into the trash.
This exercise has made us more organised and the ability to find anything immediately.
- Empty your head
I cannot claim to be very good at this but Vivek is. He has a diary of all the new projects that he wants to pursue and someday maybe’s that he jots down by the date. I believe he also frequently reviews them and takes action when he is ready to start off on something. The persuasive effect on onself is high when you see something in writing.
- Be Creative and Courageous
David writes — Any new wonderful, hair-brained, creative, thought-provoking, risk taking ideas to add into your system.
This is in a way related to the earlier point.
There is a ideas notepad that V maintains and some of his ideas goes back to 5 years. He experiments what is feasible at work! It is amazing when you look back at those notes how your thought process has evolved and can work either ways. Periods when there was a spike in creativity!
- Process Your Notes
I review notes scribbled during seminars/trainings and if appropriate it gets processed into a readable format and goes up in the blog space within a week’s time.
- Review Action Lists
Ta-Da List from 37 Signals is a great way of managing one’s to-do lists online. I was more used to the primitive method of maintaining one in my to-do list yellow pad, running the obvious risk of not being reminded at the the right time.
- Friday afternoon Planning
This was something that was programmed into my head that I have lost touch with and haven’t been doing lately. Every Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. I would make a list of things to be done the next week, review the items that were planned for the week that passed by and the status on each of them. I would strike off whatever was achieved. This always gave me the confidence to be better prepared for Mondays and the week ahead.
I know its easier said than done. Probably the reason why this book is such a hit. None of the tips are a no-brainer. It is all a habit and using the right tools to manage one’s time and activities!