Archives For The Technique of Getting Things Done.

Put less emphasis on increasing this week’s pay, more emphasis on increasing your earning power by the right reading.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

Ask a librarian to help you plan your reading.

Get suggestions, too, from some specialist in the profession or field in which you are interested.

Read your trades journals to keep informed of new developments.

Borrow books.

Buy some books. Buy them to keep on hand for future reference. I buy from 250 to 300 books each year. Nine out of ten I read and keep; the tenth may be a detour that I throw away. Most of these books are bought in secondhand book stores. A good secondhand book costs no more than a poor movie.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

“Study a great man,” said Louis Pasteur.

Great men who have done things, who are still doing things, can become our inspiring lifetime friends through their biographies and autobiographies. Get a hero—and get better acquainted with him by reading about him.

Some rich man who wanted to make the world hum could put more books about people who have done things within reach of minds of the generation which is yet to do things.

Everyone can find new friends who count by reading books about people who count. Try reading a biography a month for several months.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

The right reading—often accidental—wakes up slumbers and gives needed goals to those who still have none. The right book or article has started many on the main road and off the detours.

A librarian, your boss, a book dealer, a teacher can help you pick the reading that will count. Often we just stumble across the right reading; that’s why it is wise to read many things. I accidentally stumbled into psychology. I was halfway through college, majoring in chemistry, and an assistant in the physics laboratory. Then one Christmas vacation I started to read a four-volume manual on experimental psychology by E. B. Titchener. At the end of the vacation I knew I was changing my vocation. My chemistry professor was disgusted. But the halfhearted chemistry student became an enthusiastic psychology student.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

Keep a supply of worth-while books around where children can see them. Select books that cover a variety of subjects. Expose young people to the stimulation of reading. There is no telling where it may lead.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

One of the best ways to make money during the first thirty years of life is to invest it in reading that counts. Saved money may be lost, but hoarded knowledge sticks and multiplies at an illegal rate of interest.

Henry Ford is speaking in his slow, deliberate way. “Saving money as it has been schooled in young people gives money altogether too high a place. The young person’s job is not to accumulate dollars, but to use them to prepare himself with training, knowledge, and experience every leader needs.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

Henry Ford put it mildly when he observed, “The number of needless tasks that are performed daily by thousands of people is amazing.”

They use time and energy on things that do not count.

They make too many telephone calls.

They visit too often and stay too long on each visit.

They write letters that are three times as long as necessary.

They work on little things, neglect big ones.

They read things that neither inform nor inspire them.

They have too much fun, too often.

They spend hours with people who cannot stimulate them.

They read every word of advertising circulars.

They pause to explain why they did what they did, when they should be working on the next thing.

They hurry to the movies when they should be going to night school.

They take trips to the country when they should get more things done if they spent the weekend in a public library.

They daydream at work when they should be planning ahead for their jobs.

They do hosts of things, while not venial sins, are certainly not worth the time they take.

They are going to beat the band—but in circles.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

Paralysis of the Will.

The unpleasant job that is put off is likely never to get done. This is because of the human tendency to forget unpleasant things.

But there is a more serious aspect to the putting off of disliked duties. An accumulation of unpleasantness may cause abulia, or paralysis of the will. Apprehension over delayed unpleasantness may so preoccupy one that other things cannot be done effectively.

Thus putting off an unpleasant task handicaps other work.

It also means that we do the unpleasant task many times in worry, instead of actually doing it once in fact. Dreading a task can be more tiring than doing it.

Put the jobs you dislike at the top of each day’s schedule. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover how much easier this makes the rest of your day’s work.

Don’t file unpleasant tasks away in a drawer labeled “For Future Attention.” Keep them right at your fingertips until they are finished.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

The doer likes his work because he has no unpleasant jobs hanging fire. He has already cleaned them up. He does not dread the next task, for the unpleasant task is behind him.

DO FIRST THE THING YOU HATE MOST.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)

Men who can control themselves and their own appetites can control circumstances and other men.

~ Dr. Donald & Eleanor Laird, The Technique of Getting Things Done. (1947)