Getting Things Done (Book review)

Do you feel like you’re not being as efficient as you could be? Do you tend to procrastinate and worry that you have forgotten something important? I’m like that, but after reading Getting Things Done (GTD) I think I have improved a little.

If you’ve never heard of Gettings Things Done before, it’s a complete system for relieving your brain of a lot of the work it is currently doing, which will enable you to relax and as a result of that become more productive and reduce your stress level.

The book consists of three parts. The first part explains how the GTD system and the basic methods and techniques that are related to it work. The second part is a practical guide to implementing the system in your own life. Part three describes the benefits you will get when you use the GTD process for everything in your work and in your life.

Implementing the whole GTD system will take a while. I haven’t had the patience to get everything into the system, so I’m currently trying to apply the parts that I felt were quick and relatively easy to get started with.

One technique that I feel works well for me is the two-minute rule. Whenever something shows up in your “inbox” (be it in your email application, your snail mail or through a phone call), figure out if you can do it in two minutes or less, and if you can, do it right away. That, and making better use of the delete key, has helped me regain reasonable control of my email inbox.

The GTD concept is used by many people, and there are several websites, like 43 Folders, that provide tips related to the philosophy described in this book.

Getting Things Done may not change your life, but by teaching you how to get things out of your brain and into a trustworthy system of folders and lists it should help you make the life you have less stressful.

Getting Things Done
Author: David Allen
ISBN: 0142000280

Posted on July 6, 2006 in Productivity, Reviews


  1. I personally am about half way through this book and so far it’s turning out to be worth it. I am itching to start trying the practices outlined - waiting to read it all and then start with full knowledge.

  2. Funny coincidence. I just got that book and am almost finished with it. I think Backpack is a good option for helping to implement the system.

  3. I LOVED that book, a friend of mine sent me the PDF some time ago as a solution to my disorganization. After that, I actually bought two copies, one for me and another as a present.

    I worked on my system for quite long now, and I think I know how’s best for me, but I only need two days to make it happen!

    Good review man. Little short!, but keep up the good work!

  4. I read the book a couple of months ago, and it’s certainly changed my life, although I’m still trying to implement the system fully. The two-minute rule itself is more than worth the price of the book. Right now I’m using Kinkless GTD with Quicksilver, and it’s working fairly well so far. A few bugs, and not quite intuitive to set up yet. I’m still waiting for a good GTD application for the Macintosh to come out.

  5. July 7, 2006 by Mark

    Like others, I love GTD, though I’m far from implementing it perfectly. I use a relatively low-tech version: hipster PDA for random notes-to-self, larger notebook for next actions and project list, and all the long-term stuff like the tickler file in ODT format on the hard drive.

  6. I’ve been using GTD since 2002 and it has helped me make my commitments. I really like the two minute rule. The only difficulty I’ve had is the weekly review. You might want to check out Eric Mack Online and Jason Womack, a GTD coach. BTW, I did the original design of David’s Blog. It’s sad David stopped blogging in March 2006.

  7. I also read/implemented GTD at the start of this year, and it has helped me clear my mind and working day of clutter a lot, i’ve found it a great, simple system that’s quite easy to tailor to your own needs, i don’t feel i have a ‘mind like water’ just yet though!, still a way to go on that one…

  8. Another great read is:Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Work and Life also by David Allen

    i’ve implemented the 2 minute rule, and as a result, i was able to get through a little over 850 emails in my Gmail account using the 2 minute rule in about 2 weeks.

    850 emails? yes, literally. everything would just sit there.

    my favorite article on how best to use Gmail for GTD is: Hack Attack: Become a Gmail master

  9. I joined the cult just over a month ago and love it. Being self-employed adds quite a bit of stress to your life and really blurs the line between work and home-life. GTD has really changed the way I work and live.

    I’m (slowly) documenting my implementation and use over on my site - as well as compiling helpful links. I’m so thankful for the GTD community and willingness of others to share what works and what doesn’t.

    If you haven’t paid much attention to it it’s definitely worth getting it used off Amazon for under $10!

  10. Read another review on this book and it said that most of it was pretty common sense, like “don’t procrastinate” in a nutshell. I think the most important thing is to be motivated to get is much done as possible, which is generally a result of enjoying your work. Good post.

  11. I might just get that book, been looking at it a few times now.

    Roger, if you provide a link to, I’ll buy it from the link, and make you a few pennies for your review.

  12. From reading reviews of this around the web I think I must have some of the systems already sorted. I always deal with work email straight away if possible….keep lists of stuff that needs doing, both overall and for current projects so I know what I’m doing.

    I tend to procrastinate about stuff at home though even when I’m doing work for others which I know I should really be doing. I find it very difficult to do work for people when I get vague things to do, I like a solid list of what needs doing…works so much better that way :)

  13. Hello !

    I like very much your blog !

    Greetings from Belgium.



  14. Allen is always a hit.

    Important - the best way to get over procrastination is to decide firmly to procrastinate all the time.

    If you are true to yourself - you will put off procrastinating until sometimes later.


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