The Accidental Creative podcast host Todd Henry says the book that has most impacted his life is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Henry says the book helped him wrap his mind around the complexity of his work so that he could act on the right things. In this episode Henry shares three things he learned from Allen’s book that have allowed him to be more productive.
Getting Things Done or GTD was a big help to Henry when he was writing his own books and starting this podcast and he sings it’s praises whenever he can. Henry says, “GTD is a system for organizing and acting on the work that matters most.” Henry uses what he calls a “hacked” version of GTD. He’s created a version that works for him and suggest that you can do the same. You can modify the system to meet your own work habits. Henry’s favorite tactics from GTD are:
The two-minute rule. If a task will take less than two minutes then do it now. Don’t put it off. Letting those little tasks build up slows your momentum but doing something quickly will get you on the right track for your bigger tasks later.
Have a next action for every project. One reason Henry gets stuck in a project is that he doesn’t know what to do next. GTD suggest looking at your projects ahead of time and making a task list of every next step.
Capture every thought. Henry says good note taking is key. He cares an index card or a notebook and records every thought that might be important. He says, “You gain nothing by trying to keep these ideas in your head.” It seems obvious but writing things down really does help. You can always scratch it out later but there might be an idea that could turn into something.
Bonus info: You can listen to Todd Henry’s interview with Getting it Done author David Allen here.