Getting (some) things done

Getting Things Done is the bible of the burgeoning Life Hacking movement, which is proving popular among web designers and other techy types. I was curious, so I bought the book.

I haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve picked up a few things that I’ve found useful. In particular, the book suggests two key rules: the two-minute rule, and the “do/delegate/defer” rule. They’re both very simple (and sound like they’re stating the bleeding obvious): if you can deal with something in two minutes, do it. If you can’t do it in two minutes, take the do/delegate/defer rule: either do it now if you have the time to spare, delegate it if you’re not the right person for the job, or defer it for later (and pick a time when you’ll do it).

Obvious? Perhaps. Effective? Yup.

There’s lots more – making sure your to-do list covers actions rather than vague, amorphous concepts, sorting out your working environment, getting the most from PDAs and other handy gadgets – but those two rules are already helping me deal with information overload.

Right, my two minutes are up. Back to work :)

2 replies on “Getting (some) things done”

I’ve been reading up on the GTD thing. While there are some interesting ideas there’s something a bit ‘control freakery’ about the whole concept. And I worry that if I followed the advice on sites such as lifehacker, I’d spend more time working on systems for getting things done than actually getting things done :)

Yeah, I know what you mean – particularly when the systems are for “managing” your personal life as well as your professional one. I tend to tune out at that.

As for the effort… yeah, but it’s a bit like housework: if you leave it for weeks, then when you finally get round to it it takes *forever*. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and spend a bit of time before you can get into a maintenance routine.

An example of what I mean: in GTD he explains that using your inbox to file stuff is a no-no. Do, delegate or defer. It takes a while to plough through, but the result is better: when you’ve got mail to address it only takes a few minutes, but when there’s dozens you go “oh god, there’s too much” and run away screaming.

I think GTD’s like any other productivity system: take the bits you want, ignore the bits you don’t. I’m reserving final judgement till I’ve finished it, though.

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