Posts Tagged ‘getting things done’

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Format: eBook
Pages: 294 pages
Genres: Self Help
Buy from Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, Audible
Evelynne’s rating:five-stars

Self help is not a genre of books I read very often, but I made an exception for David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. One of my goals for 2017 was to become better organised and to be more productive. I first learned about the GTD methodology through Carl Pullein’s YouTube channel that I follow. I’ve been working on this for around six weeks now, so it’s too early to tell, but I’m happy with what I’ve learned so far.

Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a productivity methodology based on a few deceptively simple concepts. Now, I’m still very new to GTD, but this is how I see it.  One of the fundamental ideas behind GTD is that the human brain is excellent at processing ideas and being creative, but not a great storage facility.  A key part of GTD is getting all ideas, projects and commitments out of your brain and into a trusted system or external brain.

There are five activities to GDT: Capture, Clarify, Organise, Reflect and Engage. If I can take from the GTD website, this translates to:

Capture: Collect what has your attention.   For me, this means adding all my ideas, commitments and to-dos in my list manager application of choice, Todoist.  I really love this application and regret that I don’t have it at work. I try to capture everything from my doctor’s appointments, to buying cat food for Lushka to a reminder to ask my husband if we have picture hooks.  I’m planning a trip to Europe this summer, so any time I think of something like oh, I must remember to get Swiss francs, into Todoist it goes.

Clarify: Process what it means.  Here I can’t be any more concise than or as clear as the workflow diagram on the GTD website:

Gtd

Honestly, if I take away nothing more from my experience with GTD than the two minute rule (if you can do it in two minutes, do it now, otherwise delegate it or defer it) and the discipline to define the next physical action to move a task along it will have been worth it.

Organise: Put it where it belongs.  This is probably the area of GTD that’s least intuitive for me – I’m not very organised!  At the very least, I try to put any appointments on my calendar, any tasks in the appropriate section of Todoist, and potentially relevant non-actionable information in Evernote.  One interesting aspect of GTD is the use of contexts.  This means organising your tasks not by priority but by the tools, location, and/or person you need to be able to complete them successfully.  So, for example, in my Taxes 2016 list I have an item; pick up tax receipt from pharmacy.  I tagged that as “pharmacy” along with other items like pick up Polysporin and drop off new prescription.  So when I go to the pharmacy I just check that tag to be reminded of all the things I have to accomplish while I’m there.  Similarly, while planning my trip to Europe I have a context of Susanne, the friend I’m visiting.  Any time I think of something I need to ask her, I add it to that list of things to discuss next time I call or email her.

Reflect: Review your to do list and calendar frequently.  The idea here is to keep your “external brain” current with everything that you need to accomplish.  If you don’t add to it or clear our stale items, your real brain will no longer trust your system and it will break down.  Most GTDers do a review at least once a week.

Engage: Simply do.  Pick the tasks that are available to you based on your contexts and get cracking!

The book itself is very well written and the edition I have was updated in 2015 to include discussion of new technology (not specific applications) and how it impacts the GTD workflow.

if you are interested in improving your productivity and generally getting things done you could do a whole lot worse than to check out this book.

I gave Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free productivity five stars out of five.

Getting things Done by David Allen was originally published on Canadian eReader

Hello and here I am with another reading roundup.  Since my last roundup I have read four books.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure that I’ve shared my reading goal for 2017 – I’ve challenged myself to read 80 books this year.  So far, so good.  Anyway, onto the books.  

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Format: ARC
Pages: 544 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

four-stars

The first book I’d like to mention is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.  Hachette was kind enough to send me a Netgalley for this March 28th release – thank you so much!  I anticipate publishing a full review of this book nearer the date, so I won’t say too much here.  In summary though, I’ll say that Taylor’s worldbuilding and lyrical prose are both gorgeous.  As an aside, isn’t that an absolutely stunning cover?  Wonderful.  Additionally, I’ll say that it’s been a while since I connected so quickly and so strongly with a protagonist.  The more I read about him the more I felt we were really on the same wavelength.  I loved his story and am excited to read the continuation.

I gave Strange the Dreamer four stars out of five.

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Format: eBook
Pages: 294 pages
Genres: Self Help
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

five-stars

Self help is not a genre of books I read very often, but I made an exception for David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.  One of my goals for 2017 was to become better organised and more productive.  I first learned about the GTD methodology through Carl Pullein’s YouTube channel that I follow.  I’ve been working on this for around six weeks now, so it’s too early to tell, but I’m happy with what I’ve learned.  Again, I plan a full review on this book, so I won’t say too much.  In essence, GTD is based on the assumption that the brain is pretty poor at holding information, and that a much better solution is to input the information into a trusted and maintained task and reference management system.  I’m planning a full review on GTD, so won’t say too much more here.

I gave Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity five stars out of five.

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Format: eBook
Pages: 435 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

four-half-stars

One book I did very much enjoy recently was Renee Andieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn.  This is a young adult fantasy inspired by The Arabian Nights and tells the story of Shazi, a young woman seeking revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend.  Even knowing that the Caliph routinely murders his wives on the morning after their wedding, she agrees to marry him.  As in the original, she uses the Caliph’s love of stories to extend her life.

The setting was beautifully evocative of the Arabian Nights world and I loved that there seems to be hidden layers to the story that have not yet been revealed.  I liked Shazi and Khalid as characters, although their romance did seem a little Instalovey.  That’s probably unavoidable given the scenario.  The pacing was excellent and kept me turning the pages.  I have not yet picked up book two, but I certainly plan to in the near future. 

I gave The Wrath and the Dawn four and a half stars out of five.

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Series: Carve the Mark #1
Format: eBook
Pages: 480 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy from AmazonKoboiTunesAudible
Evelynne’s rating:

three-stars

The last book I want to talk about today is Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark.  This is a new duology from the creator of the Divergent trilogy and centres around a world in which the Force like current is all-pervasive and grants special powers, or currentgifts, to the inhabitants.  These gifts can be both a blessing and a curse.  Our protagonists are Akos and Cyra, on opposite sides of a civil conflict, and their paths collide. 

On the positive side, the worldbuilding is excellent.  Each of the cultures we meet is clearly defined with its own beliefs, values and systems, and the current and currentgifts add a fascinating aspect to it.  The world has a wonderful realness to it.  It was also interesting to deal with a protagonist who has to deal with chronic pain – Roth has said that that was one of her inspirations for the story.

On the not-so-good side, once again Roth has gone for dual points of view, a technique which didn’t work so well in Allegiant, and has its issues here.  It’s still unclear to me why Cyra’s chapters are in first person and Akos’s in third.  My biggest issue with the novel is that neither of our protagonists seem to have very clear goals.  It’s much harder to root for someone to achieve something when it’s not clear what they want to achieve and why. For me, the pacing was also not fast enough to keep my interest.  

For these reasons, it’s unlikely that I will pick up the sequel.

I gave Carve the Mark three stars out of five.

Upcoming releases in February

There are four books being published in the month of February about which I am excited.  Here they are. 

First up, we have King’s Cage, the third instalment in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series.  This is a young adult fantasy series which is somewhat trope filled. I’ll admit this is  not my most anticipated read of the month, but I’ve followed the series through Red Queen and Glass Sword, so I may as well continue on.  King’s Cage is released on February 7th.

Also on February 7th we have Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life, a contemporary novel about a young woman whose perfect Instagram feed hides the chaos in her life.  I adore Kinsella’s work – her Finding Audrey was so beautifully and sensitively written – and so I didn’t hesitate to preorder this one.  I’m very much looking forward to it!  This is one I’ll pick up in audiobook format – Kinsella’s writing is perfect for that medium, and it’s being narrated by Fiona Hardingham, who narrated the awesome The Summer Before the War.

Yet another book to be released on February 7th is Neil Gaiman’s Norse Gods.  I don’t know too much about this except that it’s narrated by Gaiman himself and tells the story of Norse mythology, woven into a novelistic arc.  I’ve been enjoying Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase series, so I’m looking forward to this very much.

Finally, on February 21st we have the release of A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, This is the third book in the Shades of Magic series which tells of four parallel Londons and of Kell, who has the ability to travel between them.  I love the world Schwab has created and the characters who inhabit it.  I’m excited to read the conclusion to the story.  This is another one I’ll pick up in audiobook format given that it’s narrated by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer.

It looks like I’ll be doing a lot of listening in February!

What books are you looking forward to in February?  Let me know in the comments.

four-stars

Reading roundup – January 29th 2017 was originally published on Canadian eReader