Getting Things Done

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Getting Things Done is the title of a book by David Allen. The book describes a relatively simple methodology for dealing with the "stuff" in your life, where "stuff" may be things to do, people to talk to, appointments to keep or projects to manage and complete. The book has a strong focus on what is termed the Next Action: the very next thing you have to do on a given project or activity.

Fraserspeirs 04:26, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)


[edit] Getting Started

[edit] Overviews

[edit] Important Concepts

The core of GTD consists of a sequence of routines for dealing with incoming claims on your time. These routines are intended to provide a system for dealing with tasks that takes things off your mind by being external and trust-worthy:

  1. The Collection stage is where all stuff is gathered together in an unstructured manner. This stage involves writing down whatever things one can think of that needs doing (possibly using trigger lists), and all places where relevant information might accumulate, such as in folders and drawers, are emptied into one place.
  2. The Process stage is where these items are sorted, and the further activity needed by them is decided. For each item, one asks:
    • Does the item require further action? If so, we can either (i) do it now, recommended for tasks that can be completed in under 2 minutes, (ii) delegate it and place it on a monitor list, or (iii) defer it, by assigning a next action to it and placing it on an action list.
    • If not then we should look for any value the item has. Might the item suggest future action given further thought? Then we should incubate it, putting it on a sometime/maybe list. Does the item have archive value? Then file it.
    • If the item demands no action, is not a spur to future thought, and does not have reference value, then it is junk and you can junk it.
  3. The Organize stage takes these sorted items and puts them together in a form than can be used through the day for allocating tasks to time.
  4. Regular Reviews ensure the organisation is a system that can be trusted, by scheduling collect & process stages to ensure that nothing escapes, ensuring that projects are associated with sensible next actions, pruning action lists of irrelevant actions, and looking over sometime/maybe lists for new spurs to action.
  5. Finally, through the working day, the Do stage uses the organised task lists to get things done.

This core depends on and is motivated by many further concepts.

  • The importance of an external system of organization is motivated by a metaphor of minimising the use of psychic RAM. Things that need action that we need to keep in our mind Allen calls open loops, which perpetually soak up our attention. By moving these items to a trustworthy external system, we can close these open loops, freeing up our mind for more productive and fulfilling concerns. Allen uses a Zen metaphor to talk about the conclusion of this process, where one is freed from all distracting claims on your attention to concentrate fully on the task at hand with a mind like water.
  • Use action lists to manage commitments, where:
    • Action lists are physical next actions;
    • Action lists are grouped by action context;
    • Action lists are not prioritised;
    • Actions are not scheduled except where there are hard time constraints.
  • projects as commitment
  • the weekly review

[edit] Tools

[edit] Use Cases

This section contains typical scenarios and how you would deal with them in Getting Things Done.

Getting Things Done/Spouses - How two can keep their lives/calendars/tasks/pdas in sync.

Getting Things Done/BirthdayReminders - How to deal with birthdays

Getting Things Done/PDA - How to deal with birthdays

[edit] Reworking to GTD

* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Next Action List Too Long
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Too Much Time House Cleaning
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Projects And Tasks In PDA
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Tasks That Have a Due Date
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Errands That Have a Due Date
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Long Running Tasks
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Grocery Lists
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/Spring Cleaning
* Reworking to Getting Things Done/House Maintenance

[edit] Other Articles

(alphabetical by author)

Detailed information on how one particular blogger is implementing GTD
Page with link to an audio interview with David Allen
Review of the GTD book on the popular geek website Slashdot
Some strategies for choosing the right next action from very long lists
A detailed review of the GTD process with charts, tables, and helpful tips
Mark shows a method for breaking a huge action down into a series of small actions
A detailed overview of how Mark implements and lives GTD for himself
A modest review of "Ready for Anything" by David Allen.--JWS 14:52, 2 May 2005 (EDT)
A brief commentary on "Getting Things Done". --JWS 23:55, 4 May 2005 (EDT)
A short review of the GTD method
Using Spotlight, Automator and Smart folders in OS X to tag files GTD style
GTD customized for college and university students

[edit] Web Resources

[edit] Mailing Lists and Communities

[edit] Blogs that discuss GTD

But also see Blog less.

[edit] Workflow Diagrams

[edit] tags

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