Getting Things Done

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I’m in the process of reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done. i have some vices when it comes to organization. But first, let me say that I have some virtues when it comes to organization, as well.

  1. I do a good job of setting aside time for things that matter.
  2. I have a fairly disciplined routine of sermon preparation.
  3. I (almost) never miss/forget an appointment. I missed one last year, but that is the only one I can remember. Translation: My calendar is in order.
  4. I have the ability to see things coming down the road and take steps now to make sure that when the time comes, I’m ready for them and can complete them more readily than I would otherwise.

But then, there are the vices.

1. My office is one stack of paper and books after another.
2. I have too many books (if it’s possible)
3. I spend too much time and energy thinking about things I have left to do.
4. I loathe making phone calls. Give me email, or a face-to-face…but no phone calls. A lot of people I know hate a particular mode of communication. Some psychiatrist will probably figure out why some day. I’d rather either e-mail you, or fly to meet you in another state face-to-face than call you on the phone.

Enter David Allen. The best insight so far: "The power of a karate punch comes from speed, not muscle; it comes from a focused "pop" at the end of the whip. That’s why petite people can learn to break boards and bricks with their hands: it doesn’t take calluses or brute strength, just the ability to generate a focused thrust with speed. But a tense muscle is a slow one. So the high levels of training in the martial arts teach and demand balance and relaxation as much as anything else. Clearing the mind and being flexible are key."

His point is…if your mind is full of "to-dos," anxiety, or the like, it will slow down your productivity. So one of Allen’s biggest contributions is to the psychology of work flow.

Care to share any of your vices? Probably not. So, you can share the virtues too.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Getting Things Done

  1. So THAT’S why we never talk on the phone!?!
    Actually, most of my communication is now via email…quite an accomplishment for an old person. Second to that is the hand-written note. I like sending them, and I like getting them. In last place is the phone…with the execption of a very few friends whose spoken/heard words can enlighten, soothe and heal. Case in point this evening: near the conclusion of a couple of days of anxiety over a recent incident involving my tongue, I phoned a friend for counsel. What I got was counsel and…hmmmm…what to call it? A solid reality check infused with humor and punctuated with laughter. I can’t hear laughter via email or written note. That humor and laughter (not a little bit of it at my expense!) was just what I needed.
    Anyway, as to David Allen: his book was one of the most helpful I read last year. He taught me, once again, to stop putting long-range projects on my daytimer. Now, once again, there is a demanding, intimidating and urgent list of projects to do on a separate sheet of paper right by my laptop. Can’t miss it. But it has left my daily to-do list with things I can can actually do in a day: a terrific anxiety-reducer! rtrr

  2. Funny you should write about the David Allen books. I was just at B&N last night and grabbed them off the shelf to look over. I didn’t buy them (yet) because like you, I have too many books.

  3. I’m glad to hear that about detesting phone calls. I am the same. It makes no sense to me. The phone is the most convenient tool for communication, but like you said, I would rather face some inconveniences, like typing what I want to say, or traveling to a place to say something, than simply pick up a phone and let my fingers do the walking. Does this make me “phono-phobic”?