GTD: Getting Things Done

GTD, or Getting Things Done, is a productivity system, and also the book that describes the system. Unlike most other attempts at making a ‘system’, GTD is complete – it tells you what to do with every new thought or idea you have, and how to turn them into actions, in a way that can be turned into a simple flowchart.

The completeness of the system appeals to many people, especially those who feel they don’t have enough time to do everything. The straightforward flowcharted nature of it, like executing a set of programmed steps, appeals to a lot of geeks.

Learning

Methods

GTD is complete in itself, but it doesn’t define how you implement the lists it uses. You could keep them in text files, in a PDA, on bits of paper, in a Moleskine notebook…

  • GTD Methods: An overview of some of the different methods people use.
  • The PigPog Method: A simple change to GTD to do without the projects list – good if you have trouble keeping the Projects and Next Actions together (what? Read the introduction.) The down side is that each project can only have a single next action.

The PigPog Method is one of the most popular things I’ve ever written, and lots of people love it. I’ve never quite settled, though, and keep experimenting with different ways…

  • Single Actions List: Just a simplification on the method most people use with a PDA. Instead of making your contexts as multiple lists, keep all of your actions in one list, and prefix each item with the context. You can create and remove contexts on the fly, as you don’t actually have to do anything, but it only works if your lists sort alphabetically, and your device lets you scan through a long list easily. Might be the only workable way for those with devices that don’t support categories.
  • Filesystem GTD: Doing GTD with nothing more than a bunch of files in folders. Didn’t work out for me, but could be good for Unix command line junkies.
  • GTD with Emacs PlannerMode: You gotta be real geeky for this one. Lay a bunch of elisp files on top of the Emacs text editor, and you can put together a complete GTD system. Well, Sacha could, anyway, and she did. I just bowed down before her geek super powers, and wrote a bit about it.

Other GTD Articles

  • GTD’s Dirty Secrets: The things GTD is no help at all with.
  • Doing GTD Without Doing GTD: I slip in and out of GTD. A lot of the time, I’m just not busy enough to need it, but even then, I use a lot of what I’ve learned from it.
  • Killing Distractions: Just Capture It!: One of the basic principles of GTD whacks me upside the head.
  • PigPogPDA: Just a Moleskine and a simplified GTD method. Could also be used as an elaborate front-end for GTD, just doing the ‘capture’ part.
  • Processing Whilst Collecting – Is It a Problem?: Once you’ve been doing GTD for a while, you find yourself wanting to jump straight to sticking actions on your lists, missing out the full processing. Is this a problem, or a perfectly valid shortcut?
  • Writing with a PDA and GTD: A few tricks for writers, using a PDA and GTD techniques to keep track of articles in progress.

Measuring Progress

  • Want to check how you’re doing with your GTD? Matt has put together a great GTD Progress Checklist for you to self-assess.

Related

Outside PigPog

  • DavidCo: The official site.
  • 43 Folders: GTD, mixed and swirled with Mac, Moleskine and little stacks of index cards called HipsterPDAs. 43 Folders is probably responsible for selling more copies of the GTD book, and more Moleskine notebooks than any other site out there.
  • D*I*Y Planner: Mainly known as the home of the Filofax/Day Runner binder fillings you print yourself, but they also have loads of great articles on productivity. Like us, D*I*Y Planner take on the creative side of productivity, approaching more from the productivity side, whilst we approach more from the creative side.

Comments are closed.