Book Club – Getting Things Done – David Allen
Most people looking for organizing help will at some point encounter David Allen’s Getting Things Done approach to organizing. And while Getting Things Done is a great systematic approach to streamlining a home office or busy workplace, we suggest making sure that it fits both your needs and your learning style before jumping on board.
Getting Things Done is all about efficiency through quick and appropriate decision making. It asks users to instantly evaluate a task based on the time it takes, who the appropriate person to complete it is, steps required to accomplish it, and other characteristics. It provides people with a structure to follow in order to maximize their ability to move through paperwork and tasks. However, using this structure requires strong executive functioning.
People working through the process must be able to break down projects into their component parts and focus their attention on these one at a time. They must use their working memory to hold all the pieces of the puzzle in their mind as they work through which task to accomplish first, which to defer, and which to delegate. This aspect of the process makes it ill-suited for the chronically disorganized or people with attention regulation struggles.
A hybrid system which incorporates elements of Getting Things Done with strategies specifically designed around one’s learning style and natural approach to organizing is a good solution for those who want to use the Getting Things Done approach but feel it is too rigid for them. The Maniacs often create systems based in Getting Things Done but modified to meet the needs of the individual.
We recommend Getting Things Done for clients that are looking to take their organization to the next level and do not struggle with any executive function difficulties.