20 Inspiring Quotes from “Getting Things Done” by David Allen


Getting Things Done is a stress-free productivity guidebook that teaches you how to create a system of lists, reminders, and weekly evaluations to liberate your mind from having to recall activities and to-dos and instead focus on the task at hand.

Things change every day, which may be frustrating and even annoying at times. However, as David Allen shows, this isn’t always the case. This book will help you get things done, no matter what. It is filled with ways that will help our productivity reach its peak, especially in difficult conditions. 


Notable quotes

  • “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”
  • “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it “done.”
  • “Your ability to generate power is directly proportional to your ability to relax.”
  • “Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.”
  • “You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool your own mind.”
  • “Everything you’ve told yourself you ought to do, your mind thinks you should do right now. Frankly, as soon add you have two things to do stored in your RAM, you’ve generated personal failure because you can’t do two things at the same time. This produces an all-pervasive stress factor whose source can’t be pinpointed.”
  • “Use your mind to think about things, rather than think of them. You want to be adding value as you think about projects and people, not simply reminding yourself they exist.”
  • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
  • “Anything that causes you to overreact or underreact can control you, and often does.”
  • “Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. —Jonathan Kozol”
  • “There is no reason to ever have the same thought twice unless you like having that thought. I”
  • “You must use your mind to get things off your mind.”
  • “Suffice it to say that something automatic and extraordinary happens in your mind when you create and focus on a clear picture of what you want.”
  • “Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”
  • “I am rather like a mosquito in a nudist camp; I know what I want to do, but I don’t know where to begin.”
  • “The beginning is half of every action.”
  • “You are the captain of your own ship; the more you act from that perspective, the better things will go for you.”
  • “At any point in time, knowing what has to get done, and when creates a terrain for maneuvering.”
  • “The big problem is that your mind keeps reminding you of things when you can’t do anything about them. It has no sense of past or future. That means that as soon as you tell yourself that you need to do something, and store it in your RAM, there’s a part of you that thinks you should be doing that something all the time.”
  • “But if you don’t decide what needs to be done about your secretary’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.”