David Allen is mostly known for his productivity classic, Getting Things Done. His task management system, GTD, has become a world-wide hit in recent years.
Whilst I’ve only dipped in to his GTD philosophy, not long ago I was compelled to pick up a copy of his lesser-known title, Ready For Anything.
Ready For Anything is a compilation of 52 concise articles by Allen on productivity, addressing time-management and work-management in general.
The most important takeaway from reading was to clear unnecessary bloat from your task list, from your desk, from your mind, and from what you focus on and think of in general.
One of my favourite quotes comes from the thirteenth essay, ‘You are not your work’:
“Uncaptured, unclarified, and therefore unmanaged things that you have agreed to do own a piece of you and give you no rest. Naming your stuff gives you power over it. The best and most productive way to do your work is to be its master, not its slave.”
Immediately after I began working my way through the essays (which are only a page or two each mostly), dead-weight tasks were stripped from Asana (the great task manager I’ve introduced at work, by some ex-Googlers).
It’s been there for months, you’re never going to do it, so stop feeling guilty every time you see it and get rid.
I highly recommend Ready For Anything, if only for the motivation value. Just reading through, even in a slightly auto-pilot way, encourages the productivity master within to rise up and clear your inbox.
Next stop, GTD.