Getting Things Done – the book – part 14

… starting from the point where the story stopped.

The science behind Getting Things Done

Rigorous studies compiled by experts in the field of cognitive science, ranging from personal to organizational aspects, have begun to provide data that gives foundational support to this methodology and why and how its improvements are produced.David Allen

One of the strongest arguments in favor of the method indeed is that your mind is designed to have ideas, based upon pattern detection, but it isn’t designed to remember much of anything!

The brain heavily relies on the environment to function as an external memory, a trigger for actions, and a source of ‘affordances’, disturbances and feedback. We show how these principles are practically implemented in GTD, with its focus on organizing tasks into ‘actionable’ external memories, and on opportunistic, situation-dependent execution.Francis Heylighen and Clément Vidal
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Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.

Another idea behind the method is that uncompleted tasks take up room in the mind, which then limits clarity and focus – the so-called ‘open loops’ that the GTD method deals effectively with (according to its creator).

In short, chapter 14 documents the supporting research that has validated the efficacy of the principles that underlie the GTD methodology. From positive psychology to flow theory to psychological capital (PsyCap), the author describes some recent insights in cognitive science that support his method. This is how he finished the chapter:

Undoubtedly during the coming years we will see a continual stream of new scientific data that will validate what I’ve known was true from day one of my experience with this model, and what has been shared by countless others: when all of our potentially meaningful things are captured, clarified, organized, and reflected upon, the more mature, elegant, and intelligent part of who we really are can show up at the table. That produces experiences and results that can’t be beat.David Allen

To be continued…

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