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Book Freak #31: Getting things done


Book Freak

October 17 · Issue #31 · View online

Short pieces of advice from books

Book Freak is a weekly newsletter with cognitive tools you can use to improve the quality of your life.
David Allen’s productivity system, described in his book Getting Things Done, has helped me get things done for the last 15 years. It’s the best system I know of for tracking what you need to do and ensuring you do it. Here are four pieces of advice from his book.

Don't do a project, do actions a step at a time
“You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.'”
Use your mind to think about things, rather than think of them.
“Use your mind to think about things, rather than think of them. You want to be adding value as you think about projects and people, not simply reminding yourself they exist.”
Define each physical action step in a project
“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”
Develop a plan by working backward from a successful outcome
“Choose one project that is new or stuck or that could simply use some improvement. Think of your purpose. Think of what a successful outcome would look like: where would you be physically, financially, in terms of reputation, or whatever? Brainstorm potential steps. Organize your ideas. Decide on the next actions. Are you any clearer about where you want to go and how to get there?”
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Book Freak is published by Cool Tools Lab, a small company of three people. We run the Cool Tools website, apodcast, avideo review YouTube channel, and a couple other newsletters, includingWhat’s in my bag?andRecomendo. I hope you’ll check them out.
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