I cant Finish reading Getting Things Done, any alternatives?

I know that everyone says to read the Getting Things Done book to totally understand the methodology but I have tried several times to read this book and it is a huge bore to me. I’ve watched a few videos and I understand the workflow of things but I worry I’m missing out on other aspects in the book that aren’t covered in GTD summaries. Is there any alternatives to the book to help me out? I also have tried this book as an audiobook and it is equally a bore to me. So something other than the book in any form is preferred. Thanks!

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The irony of that one is delicious. :-)

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I can understand how it can be ironic, but I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds the book difficult to slug through.

Way back when I read a 14 part review/break down on The Simple Dollar, it looks like they have a one page review now, as well as the 14 part version - I’ve linked to part 14 as it has links to all the previous parts. I seem to remember this being very thorough but not just a rewrite of the book. Maybe it will help you too :)


Have you tried reading the other books? Personally while I like the 2015 edition of GTD much more than the original the book I find most useful is “Ready for Anything” but there is also good stuff in “Making Things Work”


Each of these models has its particular sociology and history – GTD assumes fairly subaltern roles, in which life consists mainly of clearing inboxes filled by others.

For a shorter read, and for a model which assumes a little more initiative and less passivity, and which is rooted in some real industrial experience of managing things, you could try:


To me, the original edition of ”Getting things done” was such a bore that I threw it away. Many years later I tried the 2015 edition, and suddenly everything made sense and had meaning to me! Partly, I guess it has to do with me having changed and having tried Omnifocus my own way, but the new edition definitely is a much better book.

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That’s a +1 to the “Getting Started with Agile Results” book.
You can also use this web site about Agile Results:

GTD, 1st edition was a hard read. David Allen was just getting his writing legs under him. The 2nd edition shows his growth as a writer and is easier to read.

I remembered falling off the GTD bandwagon often. There was another variation of GTD called ZTD (Zen To Done) written by Leo Babauta that got me back on track.


His idea is that GTD is hard to adopt because there are so many habits to pick up at one time. ZTD stressed that there are 10 habits to work on. Adopt one habit at a time until you’re proficient at it. Then work on the next habit.

A book that I am reading now is Carson Tate’s book “Work Simply.”

She argues that we have a productivity style that can categorized as Arranger, Planner, Visualizer, or Prioritizer. I found out that I am a mix of a prioritizer and arranger.

Based on your productivity style, there are tips on how to use your strengths to your advantage and how to recognize your weaknesses and accommodate for them.


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It is all about making yourself to do things - even boring things! A lot of things in life is boring, but you have to do them whatsoever. That is what life is all about. So my advice to you is to do the boring things first and then have a party. When you have come through the whole GTD book, celebrate and then practice what you have learned and then things will not be so boring anymore. Its all about routine and discipline. Then check out my TEDx video: https://youtu.be/sCXCxpsXnto


I am bookmarking this right now!

Oh man, this is right in my wheelhouse. Bookmarking it now!

Check out markforster.com . He’s got a different take on efficiency/time management and many different approaches.

I’m in the same boat as OP. My issue is and it’s with most productivity books is there is absolutely no reason they should be that long. What David Allen drones on about for 300+ pages can easily be explained with detail in a quarter of that length but I’m guessing no publisher is going to publish that book.

As the GTD book itself tells you, the first three chapters hold the core ideas. There are a lot of “explanations” of GTD out there, and many contain misconceptions or are overly rigid. I would stick with the material on the davidco website at first- there is a lot of stuff there.

I will say that the best preparation I had for GTD was the other books I read previously on organization and productivity- none of them worked for me! What David Allen said was congruent with my own experiences, and GTD does work for me.

Which version of the book are you reading?

I read the second edition and found it very helpful with practical suggestions, which the author says is a major change from the first edition.

It doesen’t get much more to the point than this: GTD in 15 minutes – A Pragmatic Guide to Getting Things Done

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