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Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

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Book about time management a key point is to have things on your mind only when you can action them, otherwise these just cause stress and do not help you attain your goals.

Mentions flow state, which it refers to as the martial arts state ‘mind like water’ and suggests this is how your mind should be. If you think of you mind like a computer, you want the RAM (current thought processes) to be free so that you can be able to focus on your tasks and put other things into a robust storage mechanism. Keep everything out of your head.

A robust knowledge management system is strongly encouraged. This allows you to find information when you need it and also remind you to do things at the right time. 

Goes into massive detail with suggestions of how best to improve time management.

  1. Have a weekly review of your time management, collect, process, organise and review your outstanding involvements. The author recommends blocking off time every Friday morning if you work Monday to Friday allowing you time to finish a few things then go into the next week with a clearer mind.
  2. Carry a thing round to note down tasks (now would be your smart phone)
  3. Emails 2 minutes – delete, action immediately, or file in a folder for later action, or put for reference.

Suggests configuring outlook to email things to yourself allowing you to process these.

Suggests developing a reading list, which is handy when you then are waiting for things.

The Four-Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment

1 | Context, where are you, do you have the opportunity to do it.

2 | Time, complete a relevant task in the time available.

3 | Energy available – your energy fluctuates throughout the day so learn to match your tasks accordingly. 

4 | Priority, is this a priority or not.

Personally have found an electronic calendar is great, I use Google, move to do task with that so am aware of when I have a commitment and potentially time. Try to keep my emails close to zero so don’t miss important ones. If I have a to do later email will then make an entry into my calendar for later.

Suggests that if you have something to do, such as cleaning out your garage it takes mental effort think about this. Then you may feel subconsciously bad as you haven’t done it, be aware you can renegotiate your agreements with yourself.

Really you need to write these things down, then prioritise so you don’t feel bad you are missing this. This frees your mind and allows you to focus on one task at once, being in the zone.

With your to do list and turn each one into action points so you can use your time optimally.  Ideally decide actions and outcomes when things first emerge on your radar, so then when you review them you can apply your thought into achieving your desired results. Regularly review and update the complete inventory of open loops of your life and work.

The freedom of a “mind like water” will release of your creative energies that can come with the application of these techniques.


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