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Shop  >>  Books  >>  Business

David Allen

Ready For Anything

David Allen Ready For Anything 52 Productivity Principles For Work And Life
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Excerpt from book:

Introduction:Making It Easy to Take It Easy

MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY is making something happen=furniture, freeways, or fun=with as little effort as possible. The fact that we have 8efforte at all, though, implies that we confront resistance and impediments when we want to get anything done. Improving productivity has a lot to do with dealing more effectively with the hindrances, barriers, and distractions that show up in our way=anything that opposes or weakens our forward motion. In a totally frictionless world, everything would just appear as soon as it was imagined=there would be little need to train for greater flexibility and focus or to install better systems and approaches. In the world you and I inhabit, however, to really get what we want most effectively, we have to be ready for anything. And there are things we can all do, anytime, that make it easier to take things in stride and stay the course.

Ifve spent more than two decades exploring the best methods to achieve a more relaxed, positive, and sustainable way to live and work. And as a management consultant and productivity coach, Ifve helped thousands of professionals implement what Ifve discovered to be the best ways to work more productively and get more enjoyment from what theyfre doing. When people gain a method of achieving that kind of balance in their day-to-day endeavors, no matter whatfs going on, they have easier access to more of their intuition and creativity. They become better at processing information, managing their thoughts and feelings, focusing on results, and trusting their judgments about what to do next. They have a systematic approach in place for dealing with themselves and their work, which is far more useful than merely relying on ad hoc, reactive behaviors to bail them out of the pressures and crises of their world. When people know they have a process in place to handle any situation, they are more relaxed. When theyfre relaxed, everything improves. More gets done, with less effort, and a host of other wonderful side effects emerge that add to the outcomes of their efforts and the quality of their life.

The methods I teach came from the behaviors and the systems I discovered that worked the best to keep us at our best. Since the early 1980s, they have been tested and proven highly effective, from the ground up=for both individuals and organizations. The steps of this discovery and this process were described in my first book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Its success around the world indicated that people across a wide spectrum of cultures and careers seemed ready for this information and eager for change. They were tired of feeling overwhelmed by their jobs and the business of life. They wanted to regain lost opportunities for creative thinking and playing. They were looking for a new approach, a system that could be counted on, no matter what kind of job they had or what kind of day they were having. They wanted a structure=but a natural one that matched their complex lifestyles and created more freedom, not more constraint.

While I was uncovering and implementing the details of the what, when, and how that made up the heart of my programs, I started doing something else: I began writing about the why behind these steps. Why did they work so well? Why did they consistently help people function at a higher capacity and feel better? Was something deeper at work here? What was the foundation behind this success? There seemed to be underlying principles that wove themselves in and through the methodology=factors that held true no matter when, where, or with whom they were applied.

A person can be an excellent race-car driver without knowing anything about gravity, even though gravity is the underlying force affecting everything one does behind the wheel. To win races, the driver needs only to master the

Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction: Making It Easy to Take It Easy xvii

PART I: CLEAR YOUR HEAD FOR CREATIVITY
or Getting the Loose Ends to Leave You Alone 1
1. Cleaning up creates new directions. 3
Prepared for the Unknown?
2. You can only feel good about what youfre not doing when you know what youfre not doing. 6
Why 8Getting Organizede Usually Hasnft Worked
3. Knowing your commitments creates better choices of new ones. 9
When the Center Is the Edge
4. Getting to where youfre going requires knowing where you are. 12
Forget the Future=Just Get a Grip
5. Infinite opportunity is utilized by finite possibility. 15
The One-Minute Workflow Manager
6. Two commitments in your head create stress and failure. 18
Getting Things Done: Reactive or Responsive?
7. Priorities function only at the conscious level. 21
The Danger of 8Not as Importante Projects
8. Closing open loops releases energy. 24
The Magical Mundane
9. If itfs on your mind, itfs probably not getting done. 26
The ABCs of Psychic RAM
10. Creativity shows up when therefs space. 29
Is This All There Is?
11. The deeper the channel, the greater the flow. 32
Are You Really Ready for More?
12. Worry is a waste. 35
Getting Thinking off Your Mind
13. You are not your work. 38
The Big Secret About My Lists

PART II: FOCUS PRODUCTIVELY
or Whatfs the Point of a Point of View? 41
14. For more clarity, look from a higher place. 43
The Play of the Day
15. You wonft see how to do it until you see yourself doing it. 46
Waking Up Again to Making It Up Again
16. Working hard enough is impossible. 49
Is It Overtime All the Time?
17. Energy follows thought. 51
What Are You Putting in Front of Your Door?
18. The clearer your purpose, the more ways to fulfill it. 54
Are You Living in Your Living Room?
19. Best is much better than good. 57
How to Be Invincible
20. A change in focus equals a change in result. 60
Are You Ready for 8Readye?
21. Perspective is the most valuable commodity on the planet. 63
Bootstrapping Yourself into Better
22. You have to think about your stuff more than you think. 66
Productivity Doesnft Happen by Itself
23. You donft have to think about your stuff as much as youfre afraid you might. 69
Being Complete with Your Incompletions
24. If you know what youfre doing, efficiency is the only improvement opportunity. 72
Stress Transcendence
25. Only one thing on your mind is 8in the zone.e 75
How Important Is Anything but the Most Important Thing?
26. The value of a future goal is the present change it fosters. 78
To Do or to Be? Or Is That the Question?

PART III: CREATE STRUCTURES THAT WORK
or Itfs Hard to Stay on Track Without Rails 81
27. Stability on one level opens creativity on another. 83
Organization and Creativity: Friends or Foes?
28. Form and function must match for maximum productivity. 85
The Visionary and the Doer=a Personal Division of Labor
29. Your system has to be better than your mind for your mind to let go. 87
Can Your Mind Keep Its New Job?
30. Response ability improves viability. 90
The Disorder Drug
31. Your system is only as good as its weakest link. 92
How Is Your Wiring Firing?
32. The effectiveness of your system is inversely proportional to your awareness of it. 95
System Success: Silent Running
33. Function follows form. 98
Which Parts of Your Pot Need Stirring?
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