Marshmallow reviews Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace

Marshmallow has always been a curious little bunny. She has always been eager to learn about the world as well as about how our minds work. Recently she got her paws on a book for teens, written by David Allen, the David Allen, of GTD fame, together with Mike Williams and Mark Wallace, about the way our minds work and about how to build a fulfilling life in a world full of distractions: Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World. Though she is not yet a teen, Marshmallow found this book extremely interesting and eye-opening. Below is her review of this neat little book, perfect for teens and tweens as well as the adults in their lives.

Marshmallow reviews Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace.
Marshmallow reviews Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace.

Marshmallow’s Quick Take: If you like how-to books or books about time management, organization, and self-improvement, or if you want to understand how your mind works and how to take control of your life, then this might just be the book for you.

Marshmallow’s Overview: Getting Things Done for Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World is non-fiction, and it aims to teach the reader literally how to take control of their work and/or life. There are two main characters in the book: Cortland, an owl who represents the prefrontal cortex, and Myggy, a monkey who represents the amygdala. Like the prefrontal cortex, Cortland is slower and more thoughtful than Myggy. Myggy, on the other hand, is quick and makes decisions without a lot of thought. The book starts with an overview of how these two parts of the brain help us make decisions, and then introduces the basic features of the Getting Things Done perspective on living a life.

Marshmallow is reading Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace. Here she is looking at the page about "open loops", the things your mind feels like it needs to keep track of unless you resolve the issue about them or at least record them somewhere so you know you will get back to them later.
Marshmallow is reading Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace. Here she is looking at the page about what you need to do about “open loops”, the things your mind feels like it needs to keep track of unless you resolve the issue about them or at least record them somewhere so you know you will get back to them later.

The quick summary is that the book helps teenager bunnies organize their work and how to get their lives in order. It does this by teaching the reader how to deal with “stuff” in their minds. Some examples of “stuff” that one might need to deal with are classes, homework, bullying, college applications, and parent pressure.  

Marshmallow’s Review: This is a great book for bunnies that want to be better at organizing their life or work. There is a lot of information and useful advice packed into the book. But it does not get boring because the tone is light and humorous. Scenarios used to explain things are all realistic. There are helpful graphs, for example about stress and about things teens worry about. Also there are pictures on basically every other page. The illustrations of Cortland and Myggy, especially, are everywhere and keep reminding you of how your mind works in different ways.

There are also inspiring quotes sprinkled throughout. One of the quotes I really liked is:

“I don’t want other people to decide who I am. I want to decide that for myself.”

Emma Watson
Marshmallow is reading Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace. Here she is looking at the page about the "someday / maybe" list, a list that you can put things that you want to do some day but maybe it is not yet time to work towards them.
Marshmallow is reading Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace. Here she is looking at the page about the “someday / maybe” list, a list that you can put things that you want to do some day but maybe it is not yet time to work towards them.

Though Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World has ideas that can be useful for everyone, I think it might be best for 9 and up. One of the reasons is because Myggy sometimes uses informal (and for some, inappropriate) words, but also because the methods might confuse younger bunnies. And younger bunnies might have fewer things that they can control in their lives and fewer things to have to worry about. In the other direction, Sprinkles told me that she thinks the book could help grownup bunnies, too. She thinks that this book does a great job explaining how the mind works and how this knowledge can help us organize our work so that our lives become much more manageable and enjoyable.

Marshmallow’s Rating: 100%.

Marshmallow rated Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace 100%, and recommends it highly.
Marshmallow rated Getting Things Done For Teens: Take Control of Your Life in a Distracting World, written by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace 100%, and recommends it highly.

3 thoughts on “Marshmallow reviews Getting Things Done for Teens by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace”

  1. I must confess that Marshmallow’s approach to teenagehood gives me trepidations. 😀 I am gratified that she is taking it seriously.

    As I read her review, I was reminded of the old story about a philosophy professor teaching his class about the imprtant things in life. It’s an old story, but it was so sagacious that I saved it and will share with Marshmallow below.
    ________

    A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large, empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks about 2 inches in diameter.

    He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

    So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

    He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

    The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

    He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

    The professor then produced a bottle of red wine from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

    “Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

    The rocks are the important things—your family, your partner, your health, your children—things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

    “The pebbles are the other things that matter, like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.”

    “If you fill the jar with the sand,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.

    If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”

    “Take care of the rocks first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

    One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a good bottle of wine.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The hardest thing is to organize your brain and to do the right thing –all the time. But one always has a choice to be what they want to be, ethically, morally and compassionately, to others and yourself.

    After 70 years trying, I still have problems organizing myself…it’s not easy.

    Liked by 1 person

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