I have been practicing a productivity methodology called Getting Things Done or GTD for a little over two years. David Allen wrote the book Getting Things Done in 2001, and it has become a phenomenon in the productivity world ever since. I realize how geeky that sounds in that there is a productivity world but check out any Staples, Office Depot or smart phone app store, and you’ll find hundreds of different ways to be more productive.
But why GTD? GTD is often called advanced common sense. The principles are not rocket science and are tool neutral. That means you don’t have to buy anything special to practice GTD. If you like digital devices, great. You’ll love GTD. If you like paper or an analog approach, great. You’ll love GTD. Combine them both? That works too. Its the principles, not the tools that make GTD work.
What are the principles?
- Capture – Get things out of your head and onto paper or into an electronic device. Our minds are meant for creating, not storing information. Getting things out of your head frees your mind up to more ideas.
- Process – decide what to do with what you captured. Defer it, do if it takes 2 minutes or less, delete or trash it or delegate it.
- Organize – keep your reminders of actions organized in a system you review regularly. It could be on your computer, smart phone or notebook. Make all of your calls at one time, organize your errands to be done at one time.
- Review – every seven to ten days or whenever you need to, stop to see where you’re at. Look at your calendar, review your notes, empty your pockets, briefcase, purse, etc. for “floating” pieces of paper that may have slipped through the cracks. Do you need to regroup or are things going well?
This is a brief summary of GTD. In the coming days, I’ll share how I do GTD and how my system has evolved. I’ll also share the digital and analog ways to do GTD and how both have their place.