1. I don't think I'm the intended audience for this book. Its opening sentence reads:
"It's possible for a person to have an overwhelming number of things to do and still function with a clear head and a positive sense of relaxed control."
I think the intention was for the reader to doubt that such a happy state was possible. (Andrew wondered if it is technically possible for anyone to be faced with an overwhelming number of things to do and not feel overwhelmed. But we'll let that one go.) I don't doubt it for myself. I don't think that I feel the problem that the book is addressing.
2. David Allen likes alliteration. Elevated levels of effectiveness and efficiency. ... tools, tips, techniques and tricks...
3. GTD identifies the problem as the new demands of this new millennium. He thinks the old methods of organisation are insufficient, as are the new programs and gadgets that are coming onto the market - Microsoft Outlook and Palm PDAs.
Perhaps this new millennium is more stressy than the last. I wouldn't want to make a call on that. But he clearly doesn't have my nice little macbook or an iphone.
4. His main thrust seems that you need to be able to efficiently capture all the things that need to get done, file them efficiently (outside your head) and identify the next step needed to push each project forward. Okay. I'll see where this goes.
5. The idea of capturing stuff outside our heads is so that we can achieve a 'mind like water' state where our heads are clear of worries and stress so that we can logically think about and do one thing at a time. I've got a few issues with this. It's not always necessary to capture everything externally to achieve a clear mind. I can achieve it geographically. (I go to a coffee shop.) Or I can just decide that some things aren't going to haunt me. (If I have some outstanding paperwork, I calculate how much not filling in the form is going to cost me and decide to absorb that cost.) And bigger things that cloud our minds and limit our productivity often aren't of the kind that can be 'captured' in an organisational system and filed away with a 'next step' instruction for later. Big time productivity killers like relationship breakdowns, griefs, addictions and insecurities aren't, I suspect, going to be helped much by a GTD capture system. (Though I find that capturing such things in a poem or song quite helpful.)
6. We need to have a system that we trust in order to get things out of our heads. I guess the rest of the book will spell out his system as the solution we need.
7. This section of the book is called The Art of Getting Things Done. I'd question if art is the right word to use here.
Okay. Over to you. What did you think?