At the Pub: Gettings Things Done

Managing projects in life is not an easy task. Let’s say you have, like me, a day job, and do a comic outside work. A lot of people are like me, a lot more have also a family, kids, etc.. In the end, accumulating projects can become unmanageable and highly stressful. The result: lost of productivity, lack of motivation and even worse, you start having decent conversation with Ken Drab.

I have myself these challenges and that is why I decided to take on a little quest and  read a book entitled: “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”. Funny enough, when Tyler James (ComixTribe.com) had suggested me to read it, this book was ringing a bell. I realized this book was gathering dust at home (you know, one of these book you get at work to try to impress your boss?). Anyway, the book ended up at home after I changed job a few months ago and I never took the time to open it. Well, I now read it and here’s what I thought of it.

David Allen is the founder of the David Allen Company, which is focused on productivity, action management and executive coaching. His “Getting Things Done” method is part of his coaching efforts. He was also one of the founders of Actioneer Inc.,  a company specializing in productivity tools for the Palm Pilot.(source: Wikipedia)

The essence of Allen’s message is to free our mind from all the tasks, projects, etc. by putting them in very well structured tools that are built around 5 key steps :

Collect:

Where you use a tool (I tryto use Evernote) to gather all new “Stuff” in your life or at work. These are not actions or opened projects yet, they are only ideas.Process:
This is where you are going through your “Stuff” list you have collected and you define what is the next course of action for these ideas. If it can be done in less than 2 minutes, you do it. You can schedule your next action or you can send that stuff on a “Someday” bucket.

Organize

Basically, after doing some processing, you still have items in your hands. The short stuff has been done. Now you need to either trash some stuff; put them in a “Next Actions” bucket; put them on the ice for a while or in some extreme cases (especially in the comic world) delegate it to somebody else.

Review

This process is really simple but critical. It is when, let’s say, on a weekly basis, you would go over the Collect, Process and Organize steps in order to keep your entire system up to dat or clean as David Allen would say.

Do

That one is also straight forward bu requires methodology. Basically “Do” would have you action your Next-Actions bucket and work on them, based on their Context, how much Time and Energy you have and also, based on their Priorities.

Obviously, my little summary above (if you can call that a summary) can’t give proper credit to David Allen’s essay at all but the essence of his book is all based on these five element. You will have to read it to understand all this and most of all, apply these in your daily routines and really get things done!  Allen has a way to write that is catching my attention and let me read, always asking for more. One thing that I really enjoyed is how he is gradually repeating the main bullet points near the beginning before getting to  the cool stuff with examples, tools, etc. You may ask me: Isn’t this boring, always repeating himself? Well, keep in mind, this is not a novel. And I was glad that he summarized the essential at the beginning of the book. When I started to read the cool stuff later, I already had some fundamentals in my head and it made the rest of my read so smooth and entertaining.


Seriously, don't you th ink I look like U2's The Edge?At the Pub is a series of review articles on anything that could affect the life of a comic creator. Why the Pub? Well, let’s just imagine a bunch a drunken fools, talking at the pub and criticizing anything. At the Pub, presented by The Drunken Fools creator, Antoine Gagnon.

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4 Comments

  1. I’m a huge fan of Todo lists, and try to incorporate into my everyday life as much as possible. It might be a touch of a OCD, but I feel like I’m more on top of things this way.

    The key thing was being able to easily access my lists at all times. I tried services like toodledo, which synced with my iphone and ipad alright, but on my desktop it was an extra website I had to visit. I eventually made the switch to Google Tasks, and while not as powerful as tooledo (or any other proper GTD to do list) it did serve my simple purposes and is ALWAYS there in front of me, since I have gmail opened in its own tab at home and at work. I also found an android app that syncs with gtasks and clearly displays my list on the home screen with a widget (although it’s not push based like calendar or contacts, so it can sometimes take a while for chages to show up on another device unless I force sync it (and who wants to force sync something in this day and age?)).

  2. I would recommend checking out http://www.Gtdagenda.com for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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