Friday, December 03, 2004


So, I've been reading a lot on the internet about geeks going ga-ga over David Allen's Getting Things Done. My initial take was that the whole thing was more mindless self-help garbage that makes you feel more productive by focusing you on little tasks you can accomplish and making you lose track of the big picture. Kinda like Rich Dad, Poor Dad for filing systems, offering you vague platitudes that are impractical for real life.

David Allen even does the standard guru "instant authority" trick of quoting himself in the margins of his own book! To say the least, I'm skeptical.

Still, the love among the geeks continues with the system. So here's my question to the unwashed masses: Has anyone used this system effectively for six to twelve months and noticed a measurable improvement in productivity? Are you actually improving your output, or just doing more little things that aggregate to the same amount of big things?

I feel pretty productive as it is, but the filing system sounds appealing because that really is my weak point. Plus, I just redesigned my home office so this would be a good time to try and implement something like this (if it works), both in terms of ease of implementation and personal enthusiasm to try something. Plus, it would be a handy use for the ole PDA ;)

Let me know your thougths in the comments section if you've got 'em.


Blogger Cote' said...

I found his book at Half-Priced books a month ago and bought it. I haven't read it yet -- it's about 5 or 6 on the "book stack." After having read a quick summary of his filing system and seeing a diagram of it, I'm curious to learn the formal system. Cory Doctorow seemed to be nuts for it, so, like you my skeptical eye got a little less so after his praise.

I like "formal systems" because they give me a common framework and set of words to talk about things with people: they engender team work quickly because you and whoever else doesn't have to spend all that upfront time defining your commong mind-set or "the system." So, that's kind of why I'm interested (beyond personal reasons) to read it. If it's good stuff, it'll help me orginize along with other people (like Kim), if they too know "the system."

Knowig it probably isn't going to be a panacia to me becoming Mr. Super Orginized (I don't think I'd like that anyhow ;>), but right now I have NO system except my ad hoc one, so some system, to use as a crutch when I didn't want to think, would probably be better.

3:06 PM  
Blogger egoodwin said...

My take on it so far: it seems pretty anal and heavy-handed. I really dislike the attitude that you have to follow the system to the letter or fall flat on your ass.

What I do like: The idea of a "tickler" file system is worth doing. I've only been using it for a week or so and it makes a noticeable difference in my perception. Also, I set up my Palm to maintain my lists and I find I'm using my "spare" time a little better, but I think this is a trade-off to cataloging all the crap that moves across your desk.

Final Assessment: you'll get a few good ideas, but it's not going to change your life incredibly. I still find it hard to seamlessly move from home to work, or laptop computer to desktop.

12:28 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home