Working Hard to Get Things Done

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free ProductivityGetting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m always looking for a way to get more stuff done and this system comes recommended by everyone from the owner of the Samovar Tea Houses to Unclutterer. After reading the book, I’m not sure I’ve bought into the cult, but it did underline some of the things I already do: keep a master to-do list, review it every week, keep a daily list of priorities.

I’m not sure I hold with the whole two-minutes rule, where you do all the things that you can finish in two minutes. That strikes me as a way to put off the things that need more time and attention — and I don’t need any more distractions from those. It’s better for me to save the two-minute projects til last, so I can end the day feeling good about all I’ve accomplished, instead of stressed about the larger things I’m not getting to.

I found the book itself repetitious and stretched, which may be a product of having the system applied to its own writing. Rather than bringing up a topic and thinking it all the way through, topics recur. Detail is added each time that would have served me better if it had been covered completely the first time. It felt like padding to make an hour-long presentation book-length.

There’s value to this system, but every reader is going to have to work hard to find out how to take out what she needs and how to adapt it to her own work. Unfortunately, this book is not a magic wand.

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Have you tried the Getting Things Done system? What did you think?

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at, I blog about my morbid life at
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1 Response to Working Hard to Get Things Done

  1. Nick Nielson says:

    Hi Loren, this is a very fair review of the book. Regarding the two minute-rule, I think it’s just another way to present the author’s main approach to project management – breaking up projects into smaller tasks. Thanks for sharing!

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