GTD – Getting Things Done

GTD Book Cover Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen – Penguin 2001 – ISBN 0 14 20.0028 0

In our business and personal lives we are all bombarded with stuff. Letters, faxes,  email, phone calls, text messages. Staff issues, customer issues, family issues.

Maybe you have a clear strategic direction, maybe not.

Either way you face two key issues:

1. How do you “process” all of the “stuff”?

2. At any given time – how do you decide what to do next?

David Allen has spent the last 20 years tidying up the offices of Fortune 500 CEO’s and developing a toolkit to boost their personal productivity.

This book outlines the framework, the tools and the processes that David has carefully refined through his work. It has been a best seller since release and has generated a cult like following. (Try Googling Getting Things Done – GTD).

I understand why – amazingly – nobody teaches you this stuff.

The key insights for me were:

  1. the systems you need for collecting your stuff

  2. how to set up your workspace for maximum efficiency

  3. a framework for a filing system that works

  4. a project is any multi-step task

  5. the critical need for a weekly review

  6. how to quickly and efficiently process your stuff

  7. that what you do next should be an intuitive judgment based on :

    1. the context

    2. an understanding of all of your current tasks

    3. your strategic plans

  8. how empowering it is to have a system that works

I think that I have always pretty good at the strategic – maybe not so good at processing my stuff and working effectively on the next best action.

Strategy – A, Implementation C-.

Applying the GTD insights has been tremendously useful to me.

I first read GTD about two years ago and immediately made lots of changes to the way I operated – however in reality I probably only adopted 40% of it.

About 3 months ago I read Dave’s latest book “Making it all work”. There is not a lot of brand new material – but rather some deeper insights that he has gained from another 5+ years of implementation. It helped me to better appreciate the power of the teachings in the first book and make me more highly motivated to stick to the principles.

I would say that I am now operating about 75% effectiveness.

I have incorporated an online tool “Remember the Milk” into my system which interacts nicely with my Gmail and is very powerful. Everything is online and accessible. All my stuff is now in the one “bucket”. Whether it be personal or business goals, actions arising from my one page plan, daily stuff or my actions arising from meetings.

Like many professional I used to take notes in a spiral ring binder – however the “actions” never got transferred to my “bucket”. My actions arising from minutes of meetings – stayed tucked away – only to be sought the day before the meeting. I didn’t have a neat system to quickly file reference material or stuff that I may want to deal with at a future point in time.

I wasn’t scanning two weeks ahead to plan for upcoming events. Etc. etc.

Now I have a system that I trust and I can quickly process stuff. I have a customized weekly review with an idiot proof checklist that gets down to steps like – check and replenish business card stock in briefcase and wallet. Empty out phone sms in-box. Several times a week all of my inboxes – email, in-tray at work etc are processed to zero.

I have automated reminders for monthly, quarterly and annual actions. A simple example – 31 March annually – obtain and record km reading of wife’s car for FBT. Now a simple text message and I have delegated the task to her! Sweet.

With a strategic vision, up to date information, a system that I can rely on, skills at processing and I am ready – several times a day to make an intuitive decision as to what I should do next !

I highly recommend Getting Things Done – it is a classic and the ROI is exceptional.

Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen – Penguin 2001 – ISBN 0 14 20.0028 0

In our business and personal lives we are all bombarded with stuff. Letters, faxes, email, phone calls, text messages. Staff issues, customer issues, family issues.

Maybe you have a clear strategic direction, maybe not.

Either way you face two key issues:

1. How do you “process” all of the “stuff”?

2. At any given time – how do you decide what to do next?

David Allen has spent the last 20 years tidying up the offices of Fortune 500 CEO’s and developing a toolkit to boost their personal productivity.

This book outlines the framework, the tools and the processes that David has carefully refined through his work. It has been a best seller since release and has generated a cult like following. (Try Googling Getting Things Done – GTD).

I understand why – amazingly – nobody teaches you this stuff.

The key insights for me were:

  1. the systems you need for collecting your stuff

  2. how to set up your workspace for maximum efficiency

  3. a framework for a filing system that works

  4. a project is any multi-step task

  5. the critical need for a weekly review

  6. how to quickly and efficiently process your stuff

  7. that what you do next should be an intuitive judgment based on :

    1. the context

    2. an understanding of all of your current tasks

    3. your strategic plans

  8. how empowering it is to have a system that works

I think that I have always pretty good at the strategic – maybe not so good at processing my stuff and working effectively on the next best action.

Strategy – A, Implementation C-.

Applying the GTD insights has been tremendously useful to me.

I first read GTD about two years ago and immediately made lots of changes to the way I operated – however in reality I probably only adopted 40% of it.

About 3 months ago I read Dave’s latest book “Making it all work”. There is not a lot of brand new material – but rather some deeper insights that he has gained from another 5+ years of implementation. It helped me to better appreciate the power of the teachings in the first book and make me more highly motivated to stick to the principles.

I would say that I am now operating about 75% effectiveness.

I have incorporated an online tool “Remember the Milk” into my system which interacts nicely with my Gmail and is very powerful. Everything is online and accessible. All my stuff is now in the one “bucket”. Whether it be personal or business goals, actions arising from my one page plan, daily stuff or my actions arising from meetings.

Like many professional I used to take notes in a spiral ring binder – however the “actions” never got transferred to my “bucket”. My actions arising from minutes of meetings – stayed tucked away – only to be sought the day before the meeting. I didn’t have a neat system to quickly file reference material or stuff that I may want to deal with at a future point in time.

I wasn’t scanning two weeks ahead to plan for upcoming events. Etc. etc.

Now I have a system that I trust and I can quickly process stuff. I have a customized weekly review with an idiot proof checklist that gets down to steps like – check and replenish business card stock in briefcase and wallet. Empty out phone sms in-box. Several times a week all of my inboxes – email, in-tray at work etc are processed to zero.

I have automated reminders for monthly, quarterly and annual actions. A simple example – 31 March annually – obtain and record km reading of wife’s car for FBT. Now a simple text message and I have delegated the task to her! Sweet.

With a strategic vision, up to date information, a system that I can rely on, skills at processing and I am ready – several times a day to make an intuitive decision as to what I should do next !

I highly recommend Getting Things Done – it is a classic and the ROI is exceptional.

Here is a complete summary of the book – GTD Book Summary.

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