Making It All Work

Book Review: Making It All Work by David Allen

About the author:

David Allen is an author and consultant who specializes in effective time management. His productivity method Getting Things Done attracted disciples from many walks of life, not least workplaces and businesses. He gives consultations to individual and organizational clients, empowering them to make the most of their time.

About the book:

Making It All All Work builds on the principles laid down in David Allen’s previous time-management smash hit, Getting Things Done. It explains how you can manage your tasks and pursue your meaningful life goals.

My Highlights:

We are easily distracted and therefore lose track of our priorities.

A far better barometer for your productivity would be to see how much progress has been made on the predefined important goals.This focus on quantity can also cause us to get so bogged down in the nitty-gritty day-to-day tasks that we lose track of our larger life goals.

To reach your full potential, you need to be both creative and well organized.

… you need both perspective – meaning the ability to see the big picture – and control, meaning the ability to actually organize and manage your obligations in line with that big picture.

Outsource your memory: start writing down all your ideas and tasks…

… dumping all your thoughts and ideas onto paper. Get into the habit of using journals where you record every idea, task and thought that you have.

Organize your ideas and define simple, actionable tasks to pursue them

… define a specific time and place where you will tackle it

if you had initially jotted down “improve employee morale.” As before, you would first try to get to a more concrete level, defining, for example, the project “organize regular team events.” This again comprises multiple individual actions, such as “book the karaoke bar” and “send out the invitation.” On the other hand “improve employee morale” might only be a subset of an overall goal like “reduce staff turnover by 15 percent,” which is intended to be long term.

The actionable tasks should be such that by completing all of them you will have also realized long-term projects or goals.

Organize tasks into categories according to when and where you’ll do them.

Start by dividing your actionable tasks into three to-do lists: tasks to be done now, at a later time, or by someone else. The tasks in the first list are ones that can be done immediately, whereas those that go into the second will probably benefit from subcategories that add more context to the task. For example, if you come across the task “draft job application,” you could put it under the subcategory “Later – tasks for when I’m at the computer.” Or if you see something that you’d like to read but don’t have the time, you can categorize it under “Later – reading.” You can also define subcategories for all the important people in your life so you know what to say when you next come into contact with, for example, your spouse or an old colleague. The third list should contain the tasks that you’ve delegated to someone else and whose results you are awaiting.

Maintain your lists and workspace regularly so you’re not overwhelmed.

Spend up to two hours each week reviewing and updating the content of all your lists, calendars and projects.

… doing the same for the physical places where you keep your tasks and ideas. Clear out your inboxes and in-baskets every day or two to avoid them becoming cluttered, and make sure you keep a clear workspace as well by collecting all your documents into one place for processing.

Ensure your day-to-day tasks are meaningful by organizing them into projects that move you toward longer-term goals.

… make sure your daily actions are meaningful is to group the individual tasks into manageable projects.

Goals differ from projects in that they are more long term and strategic: goals tend to be achieved in one to three years

Projects in turn should move you toward some higher goal, to be discussed shortly, and they should be attainable in under a year.

… identify all the responsibilities you have in life to ensure that you live up to them, whatever you do.Map out all your duties to yourself and others onto an organizational map that branches out into more detailed areas.

Organizations need to define their vision for where they want to go and the principles they’ll maintain to get there.

Once an organization knows where it wants to go (its vision) and how it should behave on the way there (its principles) than almost any question can be resolved easily.

Define your own path and your personal values, and then boldly answer the big questions in life.

… you must similarly rise above daily minutiae to get a big-picture view of your life.

Ask yourself, where do you see yourself in ten years? If everything falls into place and you become wildly successful, where would you be?

… you should also know what your personal values are.

Collect all these ideal futures into a list: include all the events you’d like to see happen.

Originally posted 2017-12-29 09:50:25.

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