Master the Get Things Done Method to… Get Things Done!
If you are a productivity adept, you might have heard about the GTD (Get Things Done) method introduced by David Allen. He says that this productivity methodology allows to rebuild your approach to work and life and achieve the best results faster and more efficiently. David has spent long years practicing this technique and published his book revealing hands-on experience and tips in detail. To our readers we will introduce the basics to help you decide, whether to dive into the whole book. We are going to explain the essentials and advantages of the GTD method.
Lets’ go! ;)
Who Should Try It?
First of all, this approach to how to be productive at work will be extremely helpful for people who need to handle a lot of tasks at once or those who generate ideas faster than they can implement them. It’s not necessarily only for people in creative positions. Even programmers and project managers experience sudden waves of inspiration when their brain works to the fullest potential.
David Allen believes that one’s “mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” As you probably already understand, the method was developed for converting valuable ideas into a series of purposeful actions without a delay and being productive.
Generally, if you have never tried this method, it’s a good time to take it on! Even if you won’t use it daily at work, you’ll get handy insights for everyday life.
“Interestingly, one of the biggest problems with most people’s personal management systems is that they blend a few of actionable points with a large amount of ideas that have value but no action attached.”
Sounds familiar? Then head to the next part. ;)
Five Crucial Practices
The essence of this method sounds as simple as it can be realised at the workplace. Here are five steps of how to be productive at work that will lead you to results:
Record any brilliant idea that comes to your mind. It may be a small insight or a large goal. It’s worthy to create a note where you’ll collect all your thoughts. By the way, we’ve explained the benefits of both digital and handwritten notes, so that you can choose the most convenient option for yourself.
Divide your ideas into actionable steps. A great long-term project might seem impossible. Baby steps are the solution and your way to being productive! Every big project should be divided into parts and right away it will not seem so daunting. Everyone can take small simple steps. You will be surprised how fast you can get finished even with impressive projects when you take baby steps.
“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”
You know we’re fans of organising everything, starting with documents, finishing with weekly schedules and not forgetting the workplace itself. This point implies everything! Your daily/weekly/monthly/annual calendars, setting correct deadlines for tasks, sorting or even delegating them if you don’t have enough time for everything. Stick to actionable items that are surely possible to implement. Set tasks by priority and deadlines.
As we mentioned above, baby steps are essential for this method, so you can start with planning your days and then weeks. Click on either link to find out more details about doing this and about how to be more productive at work. ;)
“Everything you’ve told yourself you ought to do, your mind thinks you should do right now.”
That’s why organising is totally worth your time!
We love how David Allen offers to create tasks lists using his GTD method:
- Trash. Everything that isn’t worth your attention right away needs to be moved here.
- References. Here keep useful information that will help you but doesn’t require immediate action.
- Maybe list. Tasks that are important but can be postponed, and you’re not sure whether you should handle them in the near future, belong on this list.
- Projects. This is how David Allen calls any task that can be completed in several steps.
When you sort everything out, you have a list of actionable items. If some of them require less than two minutes, do them right away. If they need more time, move them to your list of “projects”. It doesn’t end here, now it’s time to sort your projects into the following categories:
- Waiting for. These are delegated tasks.
- Next action. Something that needs to be done but not urgently.
- Calendar. Tasks with defined by you deadlines. These are the most important and urgent things. Your freshest to-do list.
Now, when you know your next goals, get to the next GTD step!
Take one more look at your lists. Is everything in its place? If yes, then great! Get to the next point of being productive. ;)
Also, don’t forget to update and revise your to-do lists from time to time. David Allen believes that it’s better to review them as often as you can. This will allow you to make corrections to your course early and improve results.
Start doing the most urgent tasks right away! After thinking over your plans, you are now confident in what and why you’re doing.
We hope that after sorting everything into different lists you’ll realise that it’s all ACHIEVABLE!
“Most people feel best about their work the week before their vacation, but it’s not because of the vacation itself. What do you do the last week before you leave on a big trip? You clean up, close up, clarify, and renegotiate all your agreements with yourself and others. I just suggest that you do this weekly instead of yearly.”
Though the GTD method requires some time to get ready to action, it saves tons of time you’d spend on things you could delegate or postpone. This approach helps us to get rid of those situations when we find ourselves drowning in the sea of unfulfilled goals and time spent in vain. With it, we learn how to be productive at work. It saves energy and psychological resources thanks to reduced stress. Manage time confidently and you’ll cope with anything!
“You are the captain of your own ship; the more you act from that perspective, the better things will go for you.”
Sure, we’ve just done a very brief overview of the system and no one will tell about it better than the author himself. If you’re interested in using this method on daily basis, we recommend reading David Allen’s book.
Also, people who already use the approach for being productive, share tips on how to get the most from it. For example, the GTD coach Kelly Forrister covers 10 tips to achieve success with the method on the official blog. Also, Becky Kane shares a couple of lifehacks that include weekly reviews (you can also find more information about these reviews by following the link in point 3). And the Lifehacker blog even has a separate category dedicated to mastering the GTD approach!
Finally, don’t forget about tech tools that will help you get things done!