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Ready for Anything

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Ready for Anything

52 Productivity Principles for Work & Life


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Don’t prioritize: write down everything to face each task and clear your mind. Get free to be productive and creative.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Author David Allen lists 52 basic principles for productivity, including: write everything down, do the jobs that nag you, focus on the matter at hand and so on. As he notes, the principles are both simple to understand and difficult to implement. The book is essentially a collection of gleanings from the author’s previous writings, so it does not present a systematic or unified approach to time and productivity management. However, Allen’s straightforward tips are handy, if sometimes duplicative. The number 52 suggests that you might find one helpful tip to use each week in a one-year program of self-improvement and productivity management. In that case, repetition is probably a good thing, since bad habits tend to spring up again like weeds and require the same remedies often. The author is relentlessly upbeat, optimistic and witty, like a motivational speaker. That might be hard to read in a big chunk, but it is easy to digest if you spend a little time every week reading a recommendation and implementing it. getAbstract recommends this book to anyone who urgently needs help with time management and productivity.


Accomplish More with Less Effort

Productivity is about using less effort to accomplish things. Productive work is positive, relaxed and sustainable. Life should not be stressful and difficult. It should be full of energy and clarity, focus and momentum - especially but not exclusively at work.

Think of throwing a stone into a pond. The water responds to the stone in a perfectly appropriate way. The water does not move too much and neither does it move less than enough. It does what it has to do and then returns to what it was.

Unfortunately, most people do not work like water. They are full of stress and anxiety, pressed for time, overwhelmed by details, and bogged down by worry and nagging chores left undone. They do too much and too little, often at the same time. They are frantically busy but they unconsciously waste time.

These helpful tips can make your life and your work less stressful and more productive. By cleaning up your mental and physical clutter, you can free yourself to be more creative and to reach for goals you have always wanted to have time to achieve.

Clean Up

The unexpected always happens. You need to be ready for it. ...

About the Author

David Allen is president of the David Allen Company, and has more than two decades experience as a management consultant, executive coach and educator. His consulting clients have included Merck, the Ford Foundation, the World Bank and New York Life. His work has been covered in Fortune, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and other publications. Allen publishes an e-newsletter entitled Principles of Productivity, Ready for Anything and is also the author of Getting Things Done.

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