Ready for AnythingAUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
"If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges." – Charles Boyle
Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done is probably David Allen’s least known book. It was published in 2003 and consists of a compilation of 52 articles that delve into different aspects of the GTD methodology. Aspects such as having a clear vision to be more creative, approaching work in a productive way, creating structures that work and knowing how to relax despite being on the move.
But, undoubtedly, the main message of this book is in its title: Ready for anything. What does it mean to be ready for anything?
It means that you are in a state in which, whatever is happening around you, whatever the circumstances in which you find yourself, you are prepared for it. It is a state in which, far from flinching, you accept the opportunities that life gives you, without underestimating them but also without overreacting.
Life is constantly changing, and the way we work has to adapt to change. The one skill that every knowledge worker must develop is to be ready for anything. This is what will make you a key player in any role, whether in a company or on your own.
More than just a method of personal organization, GTD is a philosophy that seeks to create the habits and skills that are critical in today’s workplace:
- Remain calm and in control in the midst of the enormous amount of data that comes your way every day.
- Define achievable projects despite ambiguous information and external pressures.
- Determine what actions you need to take as soon as something new comes up, rather than waiting for it to become critical or urgent.
- Reorganizing tasks, reprioritizing and regaining balance when circumstances change.
- Being alone, yet in cooperation with everyone.
- Renegotiate implicit and explicit agreements, with others and with yourself.
- Express and take into account all ideas, good or bad, and evaluate them objectively.
- Quickly orient yourself to the results you want and the actions that lead to them, as soon as you encounter new challenges and obstacles.
- Being able to capture, clarify, organize, review, reconsider and renegotiate your professional and personal commitments on a constant basis, so that you are always focused on what you are doing right now.
All this is achieved through the comprehensive use of all the components that make up the GTD methodology, although surely the Weekly Review is one of the elements that will help you to regain control of your life and, therefore, to be ready for whatever comes next.
I don’t know if you will be evaluated according to all these criteria in your next job interview. What I do know is that the chances of you staying in that position and thriving, or successfully carrying out your own personal project, will depend on your ability to manage yourself, to deal with surprises and to be able to relax in high-pressure situations.
Those are the skills that GTD encourages, and the habits that FacileThings helps you develop.