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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David A. ZimmerPrint

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
by David Allen

This is one of those types of books that make my skin crawl. I pushed myself to get through it and it was rough. Gee, Zim, this is a NY Times Best Seller and it sure sounds like you are really down on it. My response, "Welcome to my life - always a bit off-beat and never stepping with the crowd."

Here is why I didn't like the book. It is supposed to make my life stress free in organizing stuff. So, I followed a suggestion just as an experiment. I was in the midst of a re-fi and needed a bunch of papers (I hate paper and organizing is torture for me - I'd rather be exiled to a remote island breaking rocks by hand for some hideous crime than subjected to filing paper). Anyway, this book suggests I get a nice label printer, label a bunch of folders and file my papers. I did that. Folders look nice and neat and the paper is no longer in a pile. I still can't find anything, but at least they are no longer on my desk/floor/table/filing cabinets/etc. My wife is happier, so I guess I gained something from this book, but it was torture for me to read it.

The book is well-written with LOTS of great ideas and examples. LOTS of details - worse than dripping water on my head for me. I don't like details. This guy is detailed oriented, makes tons of money coaching big execs in organizing their lives, etc., but was the psychological killer for me.

He is very pragmatic and even gets so detailed as to lay out the step-by-step guide to do something. In my parlance, instruction manuals are full of suggestions, so I typically don't read them. Besides, where's the challenge if you do and they always send me too many parts anyway.

If you like details and "a place for everything and everything in its place," this book is for you. If a box and a recycle bin suit you best for filing papers, then you are like me. Enter if you dare. This is a book I would hand to my assistant (if I had one) and tell her/him - Just Do It!

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