Getting Things Done for Teens is the newest GTD book by David Allen, Mike Williams, and Mark Wallace. The book’s message is essential: teens need a strategy to address their complex world. The book is intended to help teens and tweens avoid many of the common pitfalls that happen when we enter adulthood without tangible organizational skills.
While there are many positives parts of this book, it, unfortunately, falls into the trap of trying to adjust an adult level organization system for teens without adequate modifications. This is a common mistake that many popular organizational approaches make when creating materials for a younger audience. Often the materials created for adults are extensively tested in consulting businesses or other platforms this helps the authors refine their approach and conversation over time. I have observed that many of the teen-focused books do not undergo the same amount of external testing, unintentionally creating gaps in the methodology that can make implementation difficult.
Getting Things Done for Teens is an ideal resource for parents who are already familiar with GTD and want to use the principles with their kids. The GTD system has a lot of moving parts, from mind dumps to specific file systems that require regular review. Parents who are using this book to help them adapt their GTD knowledge for their teens will find that it provides excellent graphics. These visual aids can help parents explain complex information flows that can aid discussions. However, lack of concrete examples, I feel would make it overwhelming for a teen to pick up and understand on their own without knowable adult guidance.
GTD for Teens contains a wealth of information for the experienced GTD parents. I was concerned that the authors do not clearly outline the time frame or schedule that these skills should be taught to teens, this is especially problematic because GTD is often seen as an immersive experience. It is my opinion that these skills should be introduced to most students in small actionable steps. Eventually, students should be able to master all levels of organization outlined in GTD for Teens: from keeping files complete and up to date, making and keeping appointments, and capturing their idea in a central location. However, these should be thought of as stackable skill blocks, parents should help their teens build their organizational skills over time as their schedules and responsibilities increase.