Wisdom From Books

3 Ds of Getting things done

Posted on: June 24, 2010

Almost every one today has lots of things to do and the time available is short. If you are interested to learn about tools and techniques which can enable you to deliver efficiency and effectively, the book: “Getting Things Done” by David Allen is the book one should read. In the book, the author has described a five stage workflow model first to understand about the ‘work flow’ of tasks which we perform, followed by tools and techniques which can help any one to get things done effectively. The five step workflow includes:

 (1) collect things that command our attention;

 (2) process what they mean and what to do about them; and

(3) organize the results, which we

(4) review as options for what we choose to

(5) do.

In the above five steps, none of the link should be weak. Some people get struck in ‘collection’ while for some, process of getting things done becomes too long. Others might not be able to organize or review while we meet many people who are good at everything but when it comes at doing, they are unable to implement.

The author says: “I have discovered that one of the major reasons many people haven’t had a lot of success with “getting organized” is simply that they have tried to do all five phases at one time. Most, when they sit down to “make a list,” are trying to collect the “most important things” in some order that reflects priorities and sequences, with-out setting out many (or any) real actions to take. But if you don’t decide what needs to be done about your friend’s birthday, because it’s “not that important” right now, that open loop will take up energy and prevent you from having a totally effective, clear focus on what is important”.

The Collection Success Factors

Author further suggests that: In order to eliminate “holes in the bucket,” you need to collect and gather together placeholders for or representations of all the things you consider incomplete in your world—that is, anything personal or professional, big or little, of urgent or minor importance, that you think ought to be different than it currently is and that you have any level of internal commitment to changing.

Unfortunately, merely having an in-basket doesn’t make it functional. Most people do have collection devices of some sort, but usually they’re more or less out of control. Let’s examine the three requirements to make the collection phase work:

  1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head.
  2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with.
  3. You must empty them regularly.

Get It All Out of Your Head

If you’re still trying to keep track of too many things in your head, you likely won’t be motivated to use and empty your in-baskets with integrity. These collection tools should become part of your life-style. Keep them close by so no matter where you are you can collect a potentially valuable thought-—think of them as being as indispensable as your toothbrush or your driver’s license or your glasses.


After collecting items, it is required to ‘process’ those items. There are “3 Ds” to process which are: Do It, Delegate It, or Defer It

1| Do it. If an action will take less than two minutes, it should be done at the moment it is defined.

2| Delegate it. If the action will take longer than two minutes, ask yourself, Am I the right person to do this? If the answer is no, delegate it to the appropriate entity.

3| Defer it. If the action will take longer than two minutes, and you are the right person to do it, you will have to defer acting on it until later and track it on one or more “Next Actions” lists.

More ideas from the book will be posted in coming days. Your thoughts?



1 Response to "3 Ds of Getting things done"

Every decade has it’s productivity book, but David Allen may have finally written the penultimate version. This is the first productivity book that actually made sense to me. It’s an intensive method of getting everything off of your plate and then putting those things into projects or trashing them all together.

Writing this review was on my list of things to accomplish. See, it worked!.

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