GTD or Getting Things Done is a time management method created by David Allen. You can view the TED talk below for the key ideas of GTD:
The Art of Stress-Free Productivity: David Allen at TEDxClaremontColleges
Personally, if you are short of time, I wouldn’t recommend reading the book as it’s just basically a rehash of the same principles.
Some important key points from the book:
- The GTD Flowchart:
- Have a system (physical or virtual) which maps with the items in the flow chart. Mine is using OneNote + Outlook for my office work and Evernote + Gmail/ Google Calendar for my personal work.
- Bootstrap your system by initially capturing everything into your in-trays and process them accordingly. 1 Once done, you should have a list of Next Actions you can work on and hopefully a clear “mind like water” to jumpstart your productive day.
- Have Weekly Reviews and don’t forget to review your Someday/ Maybe List as well.
- GTD is in line with research findings in cognitive science. Three of which I find the most relevant are:
- The Value of External Mind (utiling external system to manage ideas so that our brain can think better)
- Relieving the cognitive load of Incompletions
- Flow Theory
- If GTD can be implemented organizational-wide, the benefit will be immense. Everyone has a trusted functioning system, thereby leaving no room for any communication gap.
Some quotes I like from the book:
- About compartmentalizing “open loop” to regain your attention: “You must use your mind to get things off your mind”
- “It is better to be wrong than to be vague.” - Freeman Dyson
- “Someday/ Maybes are not throwaway items. They may be some of the most interesting and creative things you’ll ever get involved with. “
- “Checklist can be highly useful to let you know what you don’t need to be concerned about”
- “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one. “ - Mark Twain
- “Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible. “ - Saint Francis of Assisi
- “Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them. “
The Inbox Zero methodology complements GTD really well. Watch the below 1-hour Google Talk to learn about Inbox Zero:
Both GTD and Inbox Zero share one seemingly simple fundamental key idea which is introducing a system to reduce clutter. I have implemented both of them in my professional and personal life; as such, I can attest to their efficacy. In short, they really work.
Now that you know these hidden gems, you’re all set to boost your productivity. Good luck!