How to Get Things Done

Getting things done by David Allen is a classic book for productivity.

2 key objectives

  1. Capture all things into a logical and trusted system
  2. Make decisions about all the inputs you let into your life, so that you will always have a plan for next actions

Clarify actions

Define (1) what “done” means (outcome) and (2) what “doing” looks like (action).

Use a calendar

Three things go on your calendar: time-specific actions; day-specific actions; and day-specific information.

Weekly review

  • gather and process all your stuff
  • review your system
  • update your lists
  • get clean, clear, current, and complete

Big review

  • life
  • 3-5 year vision
  • 1-2 year goals
  • areas of responsibility
  • current projects
  • current actions

5 phases of project planning

  1. Have an urge to make something happen.
  2. Imagine the outcome.
  3. Generate ideas that might be relevant.
  4. Sort those into a structure.
  5. Define a physical activity that would begin to make it a reality.

Creating clear outcomes

One of the most important to hone and develop for both professional and personal success: ability to clear outcomes


  • How would the ideal head of finance do his job?
  • What would your Web site really look like and have as capabilities if it could be the way you wanted it?

Close loops

check off tasks to gain energy boost and sense of progress

There are only two problems in life:

  1. You know what you want but don't know how to get it, and/or
  2. You don't know what you want

More in the summary