Getting things done; are you?

How do you get things done? Do you have a method you follow? I’ve written about this before. A lot of times actually. The trigger to write about it again is my continuous surprise how little people have a method to work productively. Actually everybody has a method, at least implicitly, and sometimes it’s pretty OK. But often I see people struggle. Usually this is because they don’t have a productivity approach and/or there are all kinds of loose ends in their method.

I follow the ‘Getting things done’ productivity approach by David Allen. I follow it fairly strictly and revisit the books quite regularly to see if I can do better. I read ‘Getting things done’ for the first time when I was about two years into work life. I was struggling. I had a method, but it wasn’t working. I wasn’t in control and often forgot to do tasks. ‘Getting things done’ was a revelation to me. After reading it I thought: This is it, everybody should read this. This should be a mandatory course at university or at least part of the onboarding program when you start working for a company (or for yourself).

But it isn’t. And we continue to struggle. Inboxes with 100’s of (unread) emails, task lists all over the place, etc.

Why don’t we take this more seriously? Is this because productivity loss is a hidden cost? I know of one company that actually has a knowledge worker productivity department. This department helps employees work in a productive way: organize their work, use their tools efficiently, etc. And the productivity gain of employees they training is paying for the department. Pretty smart eh? But I know of just one example. Why aren’t there more?

Curious to discuss this topic here or over on Twitter. I don’t think we’ll ever always be in full control of our work life. Life is too complex for that. But I don’t think we can do better by following a productivity method. ‘Getting things done’ is one. Others are PKM (Personal Knowledge Mastery) by Harold Jarche and ‘Working out loud’ by John Stepper, just to point to a few. Choose one. Then you’ll have time to discuss this topic with me and others. ;-)

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