Reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done has helped me better organize my life and the way I process “stuff.” Now, as my senior seminar class wraps up the book, I am able to reflect on what I have learned this semester and I can identify the three most prominent “take-aways” from Allen’s book.
The “Two-Minute Rule.” — I tend to overthink issues that are brought to my attention, so forcing myself to do items that take less than two minutes right then and defer or delegate items that take longer than two minutes has been extremely helpful.
File EVERYTHING. — I never really understood the process of filing items until I read Allen’s book. I had tried filing my “stuff” in the past, but, for some reason, I thought it was not okay to have file folders with fewer than four or five items in them. Because of that mentality, I usually ended up large file folders marked “Important Documents 1, Important Documents 2, etc.” and it was never helpful when trying to locate ANYTHING. Now, after applying what I learned in Allen’s book about filing, I have two file folder boxes with at least 200 file folders inside, each one very specifically labeled (with a portable labelmaker), and most contain only one or two documents. Now, I know where every single document I have is and I know that I can access it within a matter of seconds.
Have ONE place where you capture EVERYTHING. — I used to be guilty of having several places where I captured my important things. Allen was absolutely correct when he said that as long as we do that, we will never fully trust any one system, and everything we need to do will still be in our heads. When I read that, I realized that I was in fact still carrying around everything I needed to do in my head. As soon as I found a reliable system into which I could put all my “stuff,” I was hit with creative ideas right and left. I got ideas for new melodies for my compositions, I suddenly figured out how to fix the problem with the organization of the living room, I got an idea for a paper topic and organization, etc.
I’m glad that we had to read this book for senior seminar, but I almost wish I had read it in freshman seminar. I’m not sure if I would have fully appreciated it at that time, as I was still trying to figure out how I think and organize my thoughts, but I’d like to think that it would have been just as beneficial, is not more, then as it is to me now.