One of the Least Known, But Most Helpful, Books on Productivity
Along with Getting Things Done, one of the most helpful books I’ve read on productivity is a book called To Do, Doing, Done: A Creative Approach to Managing Projects and Effectively Finishing What Matters Most. I actually read both of them at about the same time back when I was first getting into GTD, and To Do, Doing, Done helped created a more complete picture for me.
The book was written in 1997 and, when it gets into the logistics of things, reflects paper-based practices. However, the principles behind those practices are easily transferable to electronic systems, so it remains insightful.
The most helpful take away for me from the book was how to tie your project plans to your day-to-day actions. Getting Things Done also talks about this, of course, but didn’t go into as much detail. This book provided a complementary perspective that yielded some additional useful insights.
The authors of the book are also coming from the 7 Habits perspective which emphasizes keeping our projects tied to higher level goals and values. This emphasis on the higher levels, along with discussion of how to use your priorities at those levels to choose the right projects, helped to provide an integrated picture.
Last of all, the book simply has some good advice on managing projects in general — something that is relevant to most of us, no matter what we are doing. What they wrote in the introduction is still true today:
In our increasingly demanding world, the people who succeed will be the ones who can initiate, manage, and complete challenging projects. They will be the ones who know how to create a vision that engages everyone involved in the project. They will be able to define expected results; delegate responsibility; break the project down into bite-sized tasks; develop achievable schedules; communicate concisely, clearly, and rapidly; adjust quickly to changes; monitor progress; and accept nothing short of project success.
While I’m not recommending adoption of their approach wholesale, it is a very helpful read for those who are looking for additional insight and tools to pick up and then integrate into their own approach.