Productivity and GTD
Ready for Anything
Ready for anything is probably the least known book by David Allen. It was published in 2003 and consists of a compilation of 52 articles that explore different aspects of GTD: keep your head clear to be more creative, focus productively, create structures that work and relax despite being in motion.
But, undoubtedly, the foundational message of this book lies in its title. The way we work is changing very quickly and the skill that all knowledge workers must develop in their professional curricula is the quality of being ready for anything. This is what will make you most valuable at any job, whether for a company or by your own.
Beyond a simple method of personal organization, GTD is a philosophy that seeks to build the habits and qualities that are critical in today’s workplace:
- Keep calm and control in the middle of the huge amount of data you are sprinkled with every day.
- Define doable projects despite the ambiguous information and external pressures.
- Decide what actions to do in the moment something shows up, instead of waiting until it becomes critical or urgent.
- Reorganize tasks, redefine priorities and regain balance as circumstances change.
- Being alone, but in cooperation with everyone else.
- Renegotiate implicit and explicit agreements, with others and with yourself.
- Express and consider all ideas, good or bad, and evaluate them objectively.
- Refocus rapidly on the results you want and the actions that lead you to them, as you confront new challenges and obstacles.
- Being able to collect, clarify, update, review, reassess and renegotiate your personal and professional commitments consistently, so all your energies are available for what you are doing right now.
I do not know if you are going to be evaluated using all these criteria in your next job interview. What I do know is that the odds of staying in that job and succeed—or carrying out your personal project successfully—will depend on your self-management ability, knowing how to deal with surprises and being able to relax in high-pressure situations. Exactly the skills that GTD encourages per se.