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Get Things Done: Overburdened Equals Inefficient

We’re in the middle of a series on David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, which he debuted with a book in the early 2000s and recently updated to reflect new technologies. His system has proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, as well as help you accomplish more. What business owner doesn’t want that?

Your first step is to write everything down: taking all the things you want to remember to do in all phases of your life from your head and onto paper.


Step two is to clarify those items on your list: deciding what things you can handle, which things you need to be put off, and which things can be delegated.


Your third step is to organize your list: organize them based on importance, time needed to complete, things needed to complete them - almost any system you create is a good system, as long as it’s clear and concise.


The goal is to automate your to do list. People waste time rehearsing and remembering to-do lists, and then waste time procrastinating when they’re not sure what to do next, or are stuck in the middle of a task they aren’t able to or don’t want to finish.


With an organized list, you should be free of these common problems and able to finish tasks quickly. The next step in his program is to “Reflect” or review.


Every day is different. Priorities change, the scope of a project can change, your mood and perspective might change. Just because you’ve created lists and a system doesn’t mean it should be etched in stone.


Allen recommends frequently reviewing the list and checking to see if there are areas it can be made more efficient or updated.


Are there tasks that you tackled that can now be delegated? Are there things you filed under a two minute or less category that you find actually takes a bit more time to finish? Always be willing to go back through your system to make changes.


Maybe a system you created for reminders isn’t working as well as you initially thought. Go back and make a new one.


The Getting Things Done system is designed to be flexible and to be something that grows and evolves as you do. This fourth step stops your system from becoming overburdened or inefficient - which would defeat the purpose.


Your last step in the system is the simplest - yet, could be the most difficult to pull off. This step is actually getting things done - Engage. We’ll go over it next!

Want to know more about Getting Things Done? Check back each week for a more in-depth look at David Allen’s five steps. You’ll be so productive, you won’t even recognize yourself!

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