Practical applicationsTaking Action

Making It All Work

Making It All Work

One-sentence summary of the book “Making It All Work”: After having created a real revolution with his “GTD” organization method, David Allen follows up with the Control axis, that of Perspective, to create a real “life map”, which allows us to be more efficient and only efficient.

Note: this summary of “Making It All Work” was written by Cédric Watine from the website “Outils du Manager”, a site in French and English that features a blog and many podcasts with a range of tools and ideas on management.

By David Allen, 2009, 256 pages.

Chronicle and summary of Making It All Work:

As a fan of David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) organization method, I jumped into his third book. GTD revolutionized my organization, which was “by default” very unstructured.

The purpose of this new book “Making It All Work” is not to provide a new organization method, but rather to get deeper into it and explain how it can be applied to all situations.

The GTD principles remain the same, but are taken to another level to become what David Allen calls “a life map”.

A map that will allow you to better progress through life to reach the destinations you have set for yourself.

The first 4 chapters examine the GTD phenomenon. Chapters 5 to 10 explain the principles of control and chapters 11 to 18 explain the principles of perspective. David Allen articulates his system around these two axes: control and perspective.

Chapter 1 – from “Getting Things Done” to “Making It All Work”

A pre-read of GTD is recommended but not necessary.

Chapter 2 – The GTD phenomenon

Why was GTD so successful?

  • It works
  • Can be applied in any situation with whatever tools
  • The problems that GTD solve are still relevant and the world has even more of them

How do you summarize GTD?

Above all it’s a process:

  • Collect
  • Process
  • Organize
  • Review
  • Act

This is the “horizontal” part of the method (what David Allen puts on the “x” axis). This is a very simple process that GTD uses to understand all the inputs of our system. Whether that is emails, letters, but also information, events or even thoughts we have throughout the day. These will then be dealt with through a process.

What’s new in David Allen’s “Making It All Work” is the notion of perspective. This is what David Allen puts on the “y” axis (vertical):

Purposes and principles

  • Vision
  • Goals and objectives
  • Sectors and responsibilities
  • Plans
  • Actions

This axis represents perspective, which will help with decision-making. David presents the notion of efficiency versus effectiveness.

This approach will lead to a better way of life that we seek.

The only element that has real effect on our environment is action. But only an action that is chosen, selected and therefore significant will make our intentions effective.

Why do we need this process and structure?

Because our brain isn’t normally structured like this:

  • It mismanages our commitments and highlights prior commitments at the wrong time (“Ah yes I have to buy more bread” in the middle of a meeting)
  • This weakens our ability to concentrate or enjoy the present moment

Chapter 3 – “Making It All Work”, the process

Sometimes we feel lost. We don’t know which direction to go in. Often this is because we have lost our sense of priorities.

Chapter 4 – the fundamentals of self-management

David Allen puts forward an interesting matrix that describes the relationship between perspective and control.

Victim/reactive:

  • Problems keeping things under control
  • Rapid reactions

Micromanager/implementer:

  • Problems taking a step back
  • Capable of implementation

Mad scientist/visionary:

  • Few concrete achievements
  • Many ideas

Captain and Commander:

It is the combination of control and perspective that makes this so ideal. Actions are in line with intentions. No opposition to “life” as well as work.

This is the ideal to aim for to be effective and balanced, but we all go through these different stages regularly.

The following chapters describe what are on the control axis.

  1. Collect
  2. Clarify
  3. Organize
  4. Think
  5. Action 

Chapter 5 – COLLECT

This is the first step towards control. This is about what is meaningful to us in the context in which we find ourselves. It means being alert to what occupies or breaks into our minds.

These elements are then collected in one way or another: a voice message, a handwritten list, an e-mail to oneself, or simply in a notebook where one writes down all one’s thoughts, and so on.

Why do we do this? To acknowledge those mental concepts without necessarily acting on them as well as to free our minds from clutter.

Areas of Collection

To help with this, it is useful to review them and use perspectives (the vertical axis):

10,000 feet: plans

This is what we intend to do but remains on the to-do list (buy a new car, organize the holidays, tidy up the office,…). It is also about what we refer to as problems, but which are only plans yet to be implemented (to solve these “problems”)

20,000 feet: sectors and responsibilities

These are the different hats we wear: parents, employees, association managers, spouses. It is also the sectors of our lives: finance, health, personal development, work, etc.

30,000 feet: Goals and objectives

This is about the future as we want it to be. It can be a professional objective (+5% on sales) but also a personal or family objective (save X euros per month, learn a foreign language,…). At this stage, we are not trying to structure them but to list them as present in our minds.

40,000 feet: vision

Here we list the events or thoughts that are likely to change our vision of the future. For example, if someone asks you to present management courses: does this change your long-term prospects?

50,000 feet: Purposes and principles

What defines you (or your company) in depth.

Collection systems

Keep a diary

It is an ideal tool for the collection of thoughts and experiences. You feel or live through something. It seems remarkable at the time, but we don’t have time to acknowledge it. Writing it down somewhere frees your mind so you can come back to it later.

David Allen uses two journals for this purpose: one for spiritual aspects (in the form of a handwritten notebook) and the other for various events (in computer form).

Brainstorming

This is another way to bring your ideas to life. This often helps to ease the mind when a subject becomes too preoccupying or invasive.

Cleaning/storage

This also frees the mind. We understand the advantages of big clean-outs or clear-outs.

Group collection

Many people at a time can do these, to everyone’s benefit, whether a family or a company. For example, before a meeting, it is a good idea to listen to what everyone has in mind.

The habit of Collection

A weapon against interruptions

The habit of noting things down allows you to manage interruptions. A colleague suddenly interrupts you to ask a question about the XYZ project. If you don’t have a collection system for these kinds of requests, you’ll worry that you’ll forget to answer them. You will either stop what you’re doing or your mind will remain overwhelmed by this request, which will prevent you from concentrating.

Leave a trace

This note-taking habit also means you won’t lose track of things. If you are on a telephone call for example, if certain things grab your attention, write them down. At the end of the call, these items can be integrated into your system if necessary or trashed if they are unimportant.

Another example: in the middle of a meeting, you think of a topic to discuss with your colleague Jenny. If you already have a list of things to discuss with Jenny somewhere, you note this topic down and later put it into Jenny’s file.

Good tips for collection

Paper/Pencil

It’s best to be able to collect right there and then. Other than being behind the wheel, a piece of paper and a pencil are still the best tools for this. But you can use a voice recorder or a laptop…

Whiteboard

This is a great tool for group collections. There are also electronic versions of this tool.

No bad ideas!

No note is ridiculous or bad. Don’t hold back in this regard.

Over-collect

Rather than take too few notes, take too many.

No commitment

To take notes does not mean to commit, nor does it mean to be held responsible for what one has noted.

“Notes are for losers! »

Kill the idea that only little minds note things. Many will tell you proudly:

“I never take notes, I remember everything.”

It is a shame to think like this and to use our minds’ resources for these kinds of menial tasks. 

Collection = Freedom!

Your mind is there to reflect on things, not to hold them back. We often make the mistake of thinking that we have to keep things in our minds to control them. The opposite is true. You will have a better command of things if they are in an external system that you control.

You will then have what David Allen describes as a mind as calm as a lake. Ready for your reflections. Unencumbered.

Chapter 6 – CLARIFY

Now we give meaning to what we have collected. In the first phase, we deliberately avoided the analysis of the elements or any decision-making. This time, we will identify the elements and the relationships between them.

It should be noted that the distinction between collection and clarification is the same as that between the “visionary” and the “micromanager”. The two organizational approaches must be separate. This was taken into account when we concluded that it was more efficient to separate brainstorming and decision-making.

The key to emptying your inbox

In David Allen’s language, the inbox means “the place where I store my to-do items, my entry items”. This can be your notebook, your email inbox, etc.

One of the keys to the GTD system is the ability to process these items to empty the inboxes they are located in.

The critical questions

1) Does the item require action?

There are only 2 possible answers: “yes” and “no”. (“Maybe” means “no, but maybe later”.)

This question will determine your ability to be a “victim” or a “captain and commander”.

1a) What is the desired result from this action? What are we trying to achieve?

1b) What is the next simple action (Next Action) that will get me closer to this result?

For example: “Mom” is not an action or a result. One result is “give Mom a great 60th birthday”, and the next action would be: make a list of guests”.

Define the result

This makes it possible to set an endpoint to the action. If you don’t know what the expected outcome is, you will remain in the dark and unable to direct yourself.

Define the next simple action (next action)

This is the best way to clarify and unlock situations. It is the anchor of the action in the real world. This is often what is left out in project management: how to break up important tasks into smaller, easily executable tasks. So, clearly define this “next action”. “Change the tires on my bike” is not a “next action”. “Note tire sizes,” is. The closer you get to the next simple physical action, the more chance you have to do it. Often when you are stuck on a project, it is because you have not sufficiently simplified the “next action”.

2) If there is no action required:

2a) it is not important and has no significance.

50% of people could easily eliminate 25% of the things around them.

2b) put it on hold

This is a very important category in the GTD system: the “maybe one day ” or “incubator”. This is the list of your non-active projects such as: taking guitar lessons, visiting Pisa, etc.

This ability to remove elements, thoughts, documents, etc. from this list is liberating for many people.

2c) it is a “reference”.

This category is decisive for clarity: it is the storage of information. These are reports, phone numbers, maps, records, etc.

It is up to you to decide what to keep. If in doubt, discard.

This implies that you have an effective filing system and that you know exactly where each piece of information needs to go (GTD details this)

None of the items presented here are unknown to you. It is the process (the way they are linked together) that makes the system so powerful.

Chapter 7 – ORGANISE

What does “being organized” mean?

It simply means where you put things, is based on the meaning you give them. The meaning, therefore, precedes the organization of them.

General categories

To give meaning to the items around us (that we have collected and identified) and to organize them, David Allen groups them into 6 Categories:

  • Results/objectives
  • Actions
  • Incubator
  • Trash
  • Reference
  • Support

Results/Objectives

You will need to refer to these items regularly so that you do not lose track of things. They are often just documents. You can choose to store them “loosely” or to classify them into subcategories.

  • Purpose: This is your life goal, or your company’s. You store it where you want, some write it down or keep it on them.
  • Principles: This is your credo.
  • Vision: This is your “treasure map”, your future history as you imagine it
  • Goals and objectives: this is a more operational level. Often a list of 12 things.
  • Areas and responsibilities: this may be your job description or the organizations where you have a role. It is rarely more than 20 items.
  • Plans: this is often a simple list of 30 to 100 ideas. This list is reviewed weekly.
  • Pending: these are results you expect from others. You need material that will be provided by others.

Actions

Simple and tangible actions are listed here. There are usually about 150 of them, and given their number, it is preferable to classify them into sub-categories. This part is highly detailed in the GTD method and explains much of its success.

  • Diary: the diary represents the landscape of your day. It contains only 3 types of item: (1) appointments, (2) things to do that day and (3) information I need to know that day. The first two are what you need to review every morning. The last one may, for example, be an electronic ticket that you placed on the day of your trip when the travel agency informed you of it.
  • Actions to be done as soon as possible (next actions): they are the most frequent. Placing them on a specific date would be artificial since your schedule changes all the time. They are grouped by context: calls, computer, office, home, everywhere, shopping, people, reading, pending. This allows you to look at the list only when the context is right.

These categories must be tailored to your lifestyle. Some people create a category called “tired to death” where they group necessary tasks that do not require any thought!

Incubator

  • Items to be reviewed regularly.Lists like “maybe one day” or “films to see”, or “books to read” etc
  • Items for later. These are things you want to think about or do, later. “Joint Venture” or “furniture inventory” or “replace computer”. You can put them in your diary so that they pop up later.

Support material

Some people need to store information about plans, ideas or sectors. The key here is not to store these documents and action lists in the same place. A major source of confusion is the mixing up of actions and support material. For example, if you keep an email in your inbox thinking that it will remind you of…

These support documents are normally more accessible than those in the following category because they correspond to active projects.

Reference documents

This is usually the biggest. The 2 most frequent problems are: (a) people who file actions here and confuse documentation with tasks (b) the dysfunctional filing system

Good practices for solving (b):

  • Organize the files in alphabetical order
  • Use labels
  • take no more than 60 seconds to make and file a new folder
  • Drawers filled to no more than three-quarters of their capacity
  • Easy and fun to use system
  • A purge at least once a year

Trash

This last category is the one that will protect you from being overrun. Any item must quickly fall into one of the 5 previous categories or it belongs to this one!

Your organizational system must be as simple as possible but too simple, or you won’t be able to trust it.

And David Allen tells us that this organizational structure is, in his opinion, as simple as possible because it makes it possible to manage all scenarios. He bases this on his extensive experience as a consultant.

Chapter 8 – THINK (review)

The system must be nurtured. Just because your tasks and interests are now in a system does not mean they should be forgotten. This is often overlooked by GTD users.

This process has two purposes: (a) update (b) provide a valid perspective.

By reviewing the different items, you will update the completed tasks, some items made obsolete by new events.

However, at the same time, you will also take a step back so that you are not led by the last event. In the second part of the book Making It All Work, the 6 perspective horizons are described, as well as the specifics of each review. These reviews will generally be less frequent if the horizon is far away (higher on the vertical). For example, I update my “plans” more often than “purpose and principles”!

It’s funny to hear people say they don’t have time to get organized and review the organization because they are far too busy!

It is precisely this critical step that keeps your organization alive…

Chapter 9 – ACT

This stage is pretty obvious. And yet it is only if all the other previous stages are complete that you can act the way you want to (perspective)

The importance of THE NEXT SIMPLE ACTION (Next Action – NA) 

For fear of repeating himself, David Allen once again wants to define the NA concept. Most of his clients find themselves one day or another stuck on a project they can’t move forward.

Most of the time this is because the NA is not properly defined. If you write down on a list “Sort out Dad’s situation”, that’s the best way to do nothing. “Call Robert to talk about Dad” is much more efficient.

For each project, describe in your list what physical and tangible action you need to take for it to move forward.

To make this easier, ask yourself 3 questions:

  • What needs to happens first?
  • How can you visualize this action?
  • Where will this happen (context)?

This simple technique can lead to some of the best creative thoughts, tough decision-making, important conversations, clarifications, and motivations. This, more than any other technique. Try it out, next time one of your team members gets stuck.

Then…

If this action takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately. This 2-minute rule is very efficient.

If not, either delegate it or put it on your to-do list.

How to prioritize:

(1) By strategy (rationale and principles, vision, goals, responsibilities, projects, actions)

We are then back to our 6 horizons: you can use them to align your actions. During your weekly review, block out slots to execute them.

(2) By constraint

  • Context: some actions are only possible in a particular context
  • Time available: some actions may take more than an hour. In this case, you need to validate that they are strategic (aligned with your horizons) and plan them (block out time to do them).
  • Energy: Some actions may require you to be in top form.

(3) Planning (or not!)

  • Predefined work: these are tasks from your lists
  • Pure reactive mode: a significant number of tasks appear during the day that were not on any list. Sometimes we take whole days to react to things. This is not necessarily a bad thing and with freed up minds, we can be more efficient and able to reschedule things fast.
  • Collect and clarify: This task is also part of your activities

You will, therefore, prioritize your tasks based on all these factors. According to David Allen, it is not possible to use just one of these systems exclusively. We must constantly navigate between all 3.

Chapter 10 – Work and Life applications: Gracie’s Garden

David Allen illustrates this first part on “control” with the help of Ron’s story, who inherits a small landscape company.

First of all, he will use the “takeover” to organize this new business.

Collect

Ron visits the site and notes down anything that catches his attention. He also collects all the objects that could be useful and makes a pile of things to throw away. Once this is done, he makes an inventory of assets, files, customers, suppliers, etc.

Clarify

Based on the objectives he has set for this small business (sell it, keep it, etc.), he sorts out his collection.

Organize

He establishes a list of plans and actions to be undertaken, organizes the reference files. He also makes an organigram and a meeting schedule.

To think about

He pauses to review everything he has organized. It is also likely that he will have to chat with others about his plans.

Take action

Ron’s days are filled with phone calls, note-taking, purchases, meetings, etc.

Ron can then focus on his own life, using the same method. He’s going to spend a weekend on it, once he gets home.

Collect

He takes a few hours to pull together what has accumulated while he was looking afterthe business. Then, he emptieshis voicemails, his received mail, the contents of his briefcase into his intray. He takes a moment to write down any other thoughts he has after these weeks of madness.

Clarify

Ron then empties his intray by making decisions on new plans and the actions to be taken.

Organize

Ron then reviews and updates his system and decides what he needs to do next. He also incorporates the actions for his new business, records his commitments, and verifies that his structure and lists are configured to cope with this new company.

To think about

Regularly during his weekend, Ron takes a step back from this frenetic activity. At the end of the weekend, he gives himself 2 hours to review all his plans, actions and details.

Taking action

All he has to do now is get back to his daily activities.

In this example, you can see that Ron hasn’t done anything particularly extraordinary. He simply went through the normal steps of good organization. 

Chapter 11 – PERSPECTIVE

Now that things are under control, what are the priorities?

Having taken control of the various aspects, controlling the perspective makes it possible to maintain an effective system. Without perspective, disorder will set in again.

David Allen’s logic is to start from the bottom of the vertical axis and work back up. That is to say, to start from the details (actions) and go back to the most general.

This is one of the major differences in his method, and it proves its effectiveness.

  • It is in the items you organize that you will find the inspiration to define the perspective that is most important to you
  • First of all, you need to clear this “clutter” of details to free your mind and focus on more “general” issues.

Maslow also indicated that the most trivial needs must be met so that the higher opportunities can be considered calmly.

But David says his model can be picked up anywhere. It may be that we are more troubled by our to-do list than by an overflowing mailbox.

The following chapters describe each of the horizons.

Chapter 12 – ground level actions

All the physical, visible actions you take.

Scope: What should you do?

Examples: Wash the car, call your mother,…

Format: lists, sorted by context, or placed in the calendar

Number: more than 100

Frequency: all the time, every day.

The secret: the action list must be as complete as possible. Often we tell ourselves that we are already organized. And yet, if you keep a to-do list of actions it gives you a sense of control unlike any other. The “ground level” is perhaps the most complicated to organize, if only due to the number of items. Usually, 90% of the training time is devoted to this. This is what makes GTD successful in a world where the focus is on execution.

This level is also the most important as it is the only one that changes the reality of things! The one where the two axes meet: control and perspective.

Chapter 13 – 10.000 feet: plans

Results to be achieved within 1 year or less and are more than one action. A project must eventually be able to be marked as completed when the NA (Next Action) that closes it has been achieved.

Scope: what do I need to complete?

Examples: repair the car, finalize the acquisition of the company

Format: list of ongoing projects, plus support documentation, frequent reviews.

Number: 30-100

Frequency:

  1. Review once a week, 1-2 hours of update, to identify the NA for each project
  2. As soon as you feel that projects are not progressing,
  3. When you feel that short-term priorities are not being met

The secret:

The weekly review is essential to the system. It will ensure its durability. There is the ” clean-up review ” where we sort out what has accumulated, the ” update review ” where we update the actions done or to be done, the ” calendar review ” where we scan 2 weeks back and forward, the ” creative review “, which is less formal but also feeds the system.

It is during this weekly review of your projects that the alignment between your actions and the high-level perspectives takes place. This is when you “renegotiate” your priorities because you take the time to do so. Once on the football field, it is too late to build a strategy. You have to be in the game!

This applies not only to individuals but also to a company, a team or a family. If you regularly debrief the last week, the status of projects and the week ahead makes a huge difference.

With the “sector” level, the “plan” level is often the one least attended to. Indeed, the “action” level leaves no choice: things must be done and the “goals” level is often better understood, as well as the “vision” or “principles”.

However, if you update the “plans” every week,this ensures that the actions are in line with the higher prospects!

Chapter 14 – 20.000 feet: sectors and responsibilities

This is a list of sectors in which you have responsibilities to maintain, or a particular interest, to keep your ship afloat.

Scope: what should I maintain?

Number: 10-15

Examples: family, product development, health. For example, to lead a decent life, you need to maintain good health. To keep your job, you have to take on responsibilities.

Formats: job description, list, organigram, mind map by sector

Frequency: once a month unless an unexpected event changes things.

The secret: This level identifies needs that will not be as visible as goals or objectives at first glance but are nevertheless necessary. We don’t see them because we don’t regularly review all our “roles”. Reviewing these sectors and responsibilities can generate plans such as “develop an organization that allows me to spend quality time with my children”, “set up an exercise program”, “create a personal budget”, etc.

This level is used to verify that you perform each of the roles you have set for yourself. In this regard, it is comparable to the “50,000 feet” level, not as a “direction to give to your life”, but rather as a “sphere of experience”.

Chapter 15 – 30 000 feet: goals and objectives

These are the goals you want to achieve within 1 to 2 years. Any project over 1-year-old falls into this category. The “goals” have a defined endpoint. You must one day be able to check them off as “completed”.

Scope: what do I want to achieve?

Term: 1-2 years

Format: a simple list

Number: less than 12 for the current and following year

Frequency of review: this is what makes the major difference with a project: the goals are not reviewed every week, but at least annually, usually every quarter.

The secret: the goals require alignment between the levels of perspective. A “goal” must “produce” an outcome. And to get it as quickly and as efficiently as possible, it is better to concentrate resources on it. The resistance to setting specific goals comes from our natural aversion to moving away from day-to-day activities to plan for the medium term and commit to a result. This can generate a feeling of uncontrollability because the further out you aim, the less control you have. It seems necessary to control the lower levels (“projects” and “actions” ) to be able to raise the thinking to this level.

It is up to you to decide whether to take it a step further and use the “goals and objectives” level to focus your resources. And it is perfectly possible that it is not the right time yet. For example, when a company is in “survival mode”, the only thing that matters is to bring in cash!

Chapter 16 – 40.000 feet: vision

For an individual, this can be their desired lifestyle, their career goals. For a company, this can be what it wants to change in the world.

Scope: What would my long-term success look like?

Term: several years. It depends on your maturity, or whether it is an individual or a company.

Format: the vision is often determined during an informal process of reflection (such as brainstorming). It can take the form of a scenario, or even a diagram. The idea is to remaininformal and flexible to widen the scope. It may be a question like “what will you do in 5 years? “or” what could you do to be more fulfilled? ” (then the term is determined). It can also be a story built on the “what if?” theme. Or a list of “ideal world” items.

Frequency: this can be every year, every 2-3 years, but also whenever an event is likely to influence the vision or a choice must be made that this event has highlighted.

The secret: the important thing is the ramifications that this vision presents. You never know your future. On the other hand, a precise vision helps us to make the most of the present! David Allen notes that often, what is written in these sessions, is eventually put in place. The images we have stored in our brains affect our perception of things and our response to change. But for that to happen, our vision cannot be over the top, nor too unambitious. Vision activates the focus of our actions when it comes to what is important to us. It also provides infinitely more motivation to accomplish a simple “Next Action”, namely that it serves a much broader vision!

Chapter 17 – 50.000 feet: Purpose and Principles

This level focuses on our very nature and our usefulness as an individual or organization. But it can also be the underlying reason for a particular project. Its purpose.

Scope: why do I exist? Who am I?

Purpose

This is what drives any result. All actions are judged against this perspective. The real reason for any action is to meet a higher need for achievement. It may also have multiple purposes.

Format: for example, it might be the mission statement of a company or a person’s “declaration of faith”.

Frequency: in most cases, it is imposed on us. We might suddenly have to make a choice or answer and urgent question (e.g. take stock of our motivations).

The secret: for David Allen, this is what will set your action priorities.

Principles

This is about the fundamental values that guide a person or an organization. It also includes expected, acceptable or unacceptable behavior for an individual or an organization.

Formats: for a company, this is often the result of the mission statement or vision. For a person, it is their credo, a set of affirmations…

Frequency: this can be at the start of an important project, especially if the people involved do not know each other well.

Chapter 18 – Gracie’s Garden, put into perspective

If we look at the example of Gracie’s Garden again, this is what it could do for a company.

Purpose

To provide the highest quality landscapes and garden materials to satisfied customers.

Principles

Strong and sustainable customer relationships, eco-friendly products, management-supported staff, profitable and viable business.

Vision

To be recognized as number one in the region. To be the benchmark for specialists. Etc.

Goals

In 12 months: +15% of sales, 20% of profit, etc.

Sectors

Operations, administration, marketing, sales, finance, etc.

Plans

Create a “wholesalers” division, clean up the accounts, hire a sales manager, etc.

Next actions

Make a draft of the wholesaler’s division, Email Sandy about accounts.

Call Brandon for meal/to hire, etc.

On a personal level:

Purpose

To live a satisfying life, to constantly add value to myself and others.

Vision

Travel frequently to interesting and beautiful places. Attain my ideal weight, be energetic by regularly doing sports. To have financial independence that allows me to choose how I spend my time. Sell Gracie’s Garden at a premium price to new owners who will continue to grow it.

Goals

Set up Gracie’s management team.

Implement a long-term investment strategy.

Learn Spanish.

Refurbish the kitchen.

Areas of responsibility

Career, health, spiritual, family, personal development, etc.

Principles

Honesty and simplicity in relationships, be sensitive to their needs.

Constant support for family and friends. Regular introspection to better understand myself and to progress. A steady and balanced lifestyle.

Projects

Finalize Gracie’s Annual General Meeting

Install the Spanish course on my iPod.

Find an interior architect for the kitchen.

Go to Mexico for a vacation.

Find a local gym.

Next Actions

Call Susan to find out who their architect is.

Order the Spanish course on the web.

Plan the AGM.

Chapter 19 – “Making It All Work”, in the real world

Tips on the creation of your system:

  • Have the right “capture” tools
  • Keep a calendar and a list of actions that is always up to date
  • For each level, have the right tool
  • Have a classification/reference system that works
  • Create efficient workstations (office, home, travel)

Tips to nurture your system:

  • “Empty” your mind frequently
  • Identify actions to improve your system
  • Build plenty of time into your planning, to keep your system up to date
  • Do your weekly review (allow two hours!)
  • Create opportunities to heighten perspective (company, or family)

Tips to maintain/develop your system:

  • Use and empty your “in-boxes”
  • Do your weekly reviews
  • Continuously update your system

Book critique of Making It All Work”:

It is impossible to say whether this third book will be as successful as the first. It is, however, an essential complement to it. And it completes the set but it is not obvious on the first read. On the other hand, we learn by implementation. For this, everything is at the reader’s disposal.

I rate it a 5/5 because David Allen has achieved excellent balance. He avoids being too simplistic (a criticism that could be levelled at “Zen to Done” or “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta) or too conceptual (a criticism I have of Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Rules of people who are successful in everything they do).

Basically, a must-have. You just have to make the effort to read, experiment, reread, improve, and so forth!

Strong Points :

  • Olivier criticized GTD by saying: “you can become more effective at something you hate! “, it seems that David Allen heard him
  • The annexes and lists provided are extremely practical and useful to stimulate thought.
  • The four-quadrant table is an interesting analytical tool
  • David Allen’s book Making It All Work, in addition to the notion of perspective, provides important clarifications on the GTD method

Weak Points :

  • It is not immediately obvious how the two axes described are articulated
  • Perhaps less revolutionary than GTD
  • David Allen sometimes mixes the notions of person and company. This can muddy the waters. Two parts would have been better.
  • A few long reflections spoil the rhythm a little: we would have preferred a very down-to-earth section, then a more philosophical section

My rating : efficient control David Allen efficient control David Allen efficient control David Allenefficient control David Allenefficient control David Allenefficient control David Allenefficient control David Allenefficient control David Allenefficient control David Allen

Have you read “The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking”? How do you rate it?

Mediocre - No interestReasonable - One or two interesting paragraphsIntermediate - Some goods ideasGood - Had changed my life on one practical aspectVery Good - Completely changed my life ! (No Ratings Yet)

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