Trivia

Hard

In The Early 2000s, Which Of These Productivity Guidebooks Took The Tech Community By Storm?

Flow
Getting Things Done
The One Thing
The 4-Hour Workweek
The first edition front cover of David Allen's book Getting Things Done.
David Allen/Bertelsmann Stiftung

Answer: Getting Things Done

Optimizing productivity, tweaking your personal work flow, and keeping an eye on your next action might be taken-for-granted elements of the modern office worker’s life now, but before the publication of David Allen’s 2001 productivity manifesto Getting Things Done, they certainly weren’t common water cooler talk and blog fodder.

Allen’s book emphasized two main principles: you needed to collect/capture all of your thoughts and inputs (like emails) that needed to be processed every day and turn them into actionable items. All of these actionable items would then be organized into projects (if there were multiple steps involved) or simply flagged as actionable at a certain time (like “Drop dry cleaning off” might be an “at work” task if the dry cleaner’s was located right next to your office).

His cut and dry philosophy on managing your time and minimizing your stress took the business world by storm (the book was a runaway best seller), but nowhere was it as well loved as within the tech sector. Allen’s methodology fit well with the hectic lives of tech workers and everything from discussion groups about the book to companies peddling electronic and paper solutions for the GTD work flow sprung up nearly overnight. In 2005, Wired magazine even declared GTD “a new cult for the info age” in allusion to the extreme enthusiasm of Allen’s system adherents.

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