Getting Things Done Methodology and Top Five Software Developed on It

What is Getting Things Done Methodology

There are several books that preach and teach the best way to get to your goal and fast. However, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (2001) by David Allen, Veteran Coach and Management Consultant was a game changer. This book propounded the breakthrough methodology for stress-free productivity called ‘Getting Things Done’, and came to be commonly known as GTD.

In the simplest terms, GTD can be defined as a management method that allows one to stay organized and productive. According to Allen’s theory, a person’s productivity is directly proportional to his ability to relax. He says that the most productive ideas are generated in the mind while it is in a transient state.

Allen, in his book, introduces the concept of “mind like water”, where he defines the mind as “a mental and emotional state in which your head is clear, able to create and respond freely, unencumbered with distractions and split focus”. He advocates that brain should be used for generating ideas instead of storing them. The human brain is similar to a little computer with multiple functioning. However, when we store information on trivial things in the brain, it becomes overloaded and loses its ability to relax. From this example, he concludes that, effective productivity is achieved only when one’s mind is clear and thoughts are well organized. Thus, in order to accomplish this, comparatively less significant things need to be taken off from the brain, which allows it to relax and be more productive.

How do we take ‘things off’ from the brain?

For this, Allen proposes a method for shifting and organizing the “to-do list” to another system other than the brain, which can be easily referred to at a later time and place. Removing this “to-do list” from the brain clears it from distractions that keep individuals away from addressing things that are more important.

GTD philosophy has five important phases, namely:

1. Capture
In this phase, one has to note down every task and idea that comes to the mind. Since no idea is bad, anything that fit the normal flow can be noted down. Tasks should be written in actionable steps so that they can be easily completed

2. Process
The second phase involves ensuring whether the tasks are actionable or not. It is obligatory to check whether every action is actionable. Plans that do not appear to be actionable should be moved to trash for later reference purpose.

3. Organize
These actionable tasks are then organized by category and priority, assigned due dates and set reminders.

4. Review
The lists should be reviewed periodically to determine how the GTD system works and if any alterations in the priorities are needed.

5. Engage
The final phase is to get engaged in the tasks that are broken into manageable and actionable steps. Instead of struggling to remember all things that to be done, the software reminds about the tasks that should be done on each day. Following the small actionable steps makes it easier to complete them and in the end, more tasks reach completion than before.

Softwares Based on GTD Methodology

GTD was found to be of great use in organizing business operations. Many software companies started developing software based on this methodology to streamline their operations, giving the managers more control over planning, execution, review, and feedback. Some of the most popular software amongst the horde of GTD-based software available is:

• OmniFocus (4.1 stars)
The Omni Group developed this powerful task manager for Mac computers and iOS mobile devices, including Apple smartwatch. The software enables users to organize; delegate tasks to team members with its features such as notes, locations, context due date etc. The software is completely based on the concepts introduced by David Allen in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Omnifocus utilizes the drop and drag feature, making extremely user-friendly. The integration with Siri adds a definite plus point to the software’s capability, as it enables direct access to the “to-do lists, new tasks, and projects. It also provides location-specific updates. It offers a 14-day trial for first-time customers.

• Wrike (4.3 stars)
Wrike, the online project management software founded by Andrew Filev in 2006, is Software-as-a-Service solution that allows users control over the management and completion of their tasks and other work-related activities. This software won the Best Project Management Software Award for 2016 and 2017 from Finances Online’s. Wrike is flexible and allows its users to collaborate and get the tasks done from a single location. User-friendly navigation and standard security measures are some of the notable features of Wrike. It has more than one million users and over 14,000 organizations as its customers. Airbnb, City of Reno, Hootsuite, Popchips, L’OREAL, Western Union, Fitbit rely on Wrike for enhancing productivity.

• ToDoist (4.5 stars)
ToDoist is one of the most popular online task management software providing a virtual storage and organization capabilities that facilitate tasks to be completed on time. Designed by Doist and launched in 2007, the software helps boost both personal and professional productivity. It is accessible on multiple devices and platforms like Windows, Android, Apple iOS, Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Outlook etc. By 2014, around two million people were using ToDoist. It allows users to easily set weekly or monthly productivity goals and determine the progress with infographics. The user interface is smooth and distraction free. By using ToDoist one can organize and schedule any tasks and set reminders for it.

ToDoist has both free and paid versions. Paid version includes more features like location-based notification; add tasks via email, automatic backups, productivity tracking, charts etc. Different forms are available for individuals and teams customers. Additional features for the team includes facilities for centralized team billing, easily manage team members, priority support, and log-in tracking. They also offer 30 days free trial for potential customers. Some of their premier customers are Coca-Cola, NIKE, eBay, Intel, DELL, Starbucks Coffee, and NYU.

• Trello (4.5 stars)
Trello is flexible project management software, available in more than 22 languages in both paid and free versions. Using this solution, customers can organize tasks on the digital whiteboard using cards and boards. The drag-and-drop facility makes it extremely easy to use. It is also helpful in organizing tasks, both individually and that of a team, assigning specific tasks to each member, as well as managing and tracking their progress. Trello is supported on browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Their customer base includes companies like Google, National Geographic, Government Digital Service, Pixar, Abode, Redhat, Kickstarter, British Redcross, and Fender.

• Wunderlist ( 4.6 stars)
Wunderlist is yet another popular cloud-based task management application. Available on multiple devices and platforms, the solution has two forms; free and paid — which is also known as Wunderlist Pro. In this software, tasks can be organized using #hashtags. Some of the additional features for Wunderlist Pro users are unlimited assigning, file upload size, and any number of subtasks. Flexible features like drag and drop technology, setting up recurrent due dates and reminders and real-time sync that allows access from any device, anywhere and anytime distinguishes this solution from others. Sunrise, Slack, HipChat, zapier, Scanbot are some of Wunderlist customers.