• Randy Sklar

The Art of Getting Things Done: Allen’s 5-Step Process to Boost Productivity

David Allen is widely regarded as the leader in all things productivity. His book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” pioneered a new frontier of standards for business operations. From major Fortune 500 companies to mom and pop stores, “Getting Things Done” has helped individuals and businesses of all backgrounds drastically increase their productivity.

Allen’s book provides a systematic process to follow for organizing your tasks to boost efficiency. The premise states to take your daily tasks and send them through a fivestep workflow. This workflow then simplifies those tasks and helps you organize them in a manner that makes them easier to accomplish. Interested? Here are the five simple steps you need to get things done.


Using an in-basket or notepad, capture all projects, both personal and professional. Get everything that needs your attention in one place.


Take in everything that you captured and ask if there is an action item that can be created from it. If no, remove it. If yes, move it down the workflow.


Organize your action item list and place your tasks in the appropriate categories.


Review your action item list and determine what to do next. Clean this list up weekly and make sure to update all tasks accordingly.


Go and get things done. Take action on the action item list and start crossing off tasks.

Beyond the system that Allen provides, there are many other ways to increase efficiency in your day-to-day tasks. Having two screens at your workstation can be a total game changer. While clicking between tabs may seem like it’s a harmless task, research done by John Peddie states having an extra monitor can enhance productivity by 20–30 percent. Another simple solution to boost your productivity is to mirror your work desk and your home desk. Your brain will be better able to frame tasks if there is consistency between your work spaces.

If you find yourself constantly getting behind on tasks, missing deadlines, or find life unwillingly dragging you along, the system Allen puts in place can prompt a major revival in your life. Following the simple workflow in “Getting Things Done” goes beyond creating a more productive workday. It’s about creating more time and changing who is in control of that time. It’s not time management, it’s time liberation. Just ask yourself what you would do with more time in your day.

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