In the words of its author, productivity consultant David Allen, GTD or Getting Things Done, is a personal productivity methodology that redefines how we approach our life and work.
The whole methodology is based on one simple truth: the more information we have inside our heads, the harder it is to decide what needs our attention and what doesn’t. As a result, we spend more time thinking about our tasks than actually doing them.
GTD doesn’t require any specific tool, app, or product. The key is to keep it as simple as possible and to use it as often as possible. Therefore, the tool you choose (digital or analog) must be simple enough to use it on a daily basis, yet versatile enough so you can handle complex tasks and projects. Focus more on doing the task, than on which tool to use, and you will get things done.
–capture everything coming into your mind as soon as it comes, nothing is too big or too small, too important or too stupid. Commitments, ideas, recurring tasks, upcoming birthdays, lunch ideas, reference materials, book/movie recommendations, anniversaries, everything.
Create inbox for everything (it can be physical like pen and paper or digital like apps). Use it to collect your thoughts in order to get them off your mind.
-everything that you’ve captured in Step 1, you now need to turn into specific actionable steps. You decide if an item is a next project, action, reference material, or simply trash clogging your mind.
For example, you need to call a friend, study, and wash clothes.
–organize all actionable steps from Step 2 by category and priority. Sort through tasks, add dates to the calendar, delegate if needed, save for future reference, etc. Assign deadlines and set priority reminders.
You can make a list with 6 different areas of focus and place each task in one of the categories below:
! Steps 2 and 3 come in tandem as you clean out the inbox from Step 1, but it’s easier to think of them as separate actions.
You’re not doing anything from the list right now, you’re just making sure that each task is in the right bucket for later.
–frequently look over, update, and revise. To maintain control and focus, do it weekly or monthly. This is where the clarifying step pays off because you should be able to immediately choose something you have time and energy for.
Second, you can see where you’re making progress, and where you need to adjust your priorities.
According to Allen, weekly review is a critical factor for success because a frequent review of your system will ensure that you aren’t just doing things, but that you are doing the right things.
Things you should check every time you do review:
–get to work on important tasks. Choose your next action and simply do it. By this step, everything should be broken into manageable, bite-sized chunks that are easy to work on.
Use the system to know what to do and when to do it so you can work with confidence and clarity.
GTD simplifies everything. You get everything you need to remember out of your head and into a system that can remember it for you. Everything is organized and broken down into small chunks that you can work with.
Although GTD requires an upfront investment of time and energy to set up, it pays off with consistent use. There won’t be worry about forgetting something or missing a deadline anymore. Instead, you’ll be able to respond to all incoming information calmly and with confidence.
Give it a try and let me know what you think in comments below.
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