Digital tools help users get things done.


New York (AirGuideBusiness - Business & Industry Features) Tue, Nov 3, 2015 - Individuals and organizations are increasingly using software to keep track of tasks and improve productivity. "It's about knowing who's responsible for each task or piece of work," says Justin Rosenstein, a co-founder of software-maker Asana. "It sounds so rudimentary, but it's absent in so many companies." Francesco D'Alessio struggled with even basic chores. He was forgetful and had trouble keeping up with his schoolwork. After failing a year at his high school in the UK when he was 16, D'Alessio began looking for answers. Some tech blogs suggested a book by David Allen called "Getting Things Done" (or GTD for short). In it, the productivity consultant discusses processes he developed to help high-powered executives manage the barrage of information coming at them. Four years later, D'Alessio says those processes turned him into a successful entrepreneur and student, studying business at England's Plymouth University. "I've been able to accomplish a lot more than the average student has," he says. Count D'Alessio among the growing number of productivity advocates inspired by books like GTD and "The 4-Hour Workweek" by startup investor Tim Ferriss. Allen promises to "transform the way you work, showing you how to pick up the pace without wearing yourself down," according to the book's summary on Amazon. Ferriss lays out a process to help readers escape a workaholic lifestyle. Both have resonated with an increasingly overwhelmed population: GTD has sold 2 million copies since its 2001 release, and Ferriss' book has attracted 1.5 million buyers in North America since 2007. And no wonder. The sum of nearly all knowledge on Earth is accessible on a device in our pockets that keeps us in constant contact with our work and our friends, and helps find people we want to meet and places we want to go. This always-on communication has created an existential struggle for white-collar workers who long for work-life balance even as they heed the siren song of their email inbox's message alerts. For many, the world has become a burdensome, complex and never-ending to-do list. "The speed of change and the volume of potentially relevant information have gone up dramatically," says Allen. The problem isn't information overload, Allen believes. Instead, it's our addiction to our phones, emails, messages and the "likes" we get on our apps. Even worse, people are "using their head...

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