What is GTD?

GTD in just 80 words…

GTD is essentially about maintaining an exhaustive to-do list of actionable tasks in addition to a calendar that would hold only time-sensitive tasks, while you complete tasks that take less than two minutes, on the go. You would use the to-do list to extract the tasks for the coming week, every week, and then further extract tasks for the day, every day. You then visit the day-specific to-do list to pick up the tasks best suited for the time slots.

Conventional wisdom provides us with great principles, say, How to fill a jar with rocks, pebbles, and sand, or Time Management Matrix, but often we do not know how to implement these principles. These concepts are great and will remain valid forever, but without a system that implements them, the proverbial rubber never meets the road.

Of course, we can also find an endless number of practical tools, such as calendar apps, To-Do List Apps, and daily/monthly/yearly planners that indeed give us practical means for productivity. They are useful but do not solve productivity problems comprehensively. A calendar takes care of your meetings quite well. But what about the rest of your work?

But, to the delight of all of us, we have that fool-proof dream time/work management system, available by the name GTD (Getting Things Done). The reason it is foolproof is that it hits at the root cause of the stress at work. A careful reading of the book by the same name or guidance by a GTD coach can help you to implement the system. A good implementation of GTD helps to bring back the virtuous cycle of keeping up the promises made and feeling good about it and working better to keep up more of them.

GTD is Smart

I call GTD smart as it does a wonderful load sharing between The Work Management System and The Worker’s Mind. The Work Management System provides for only those things that the Worker’s mind cannot do well. That makes the system lean and easy to maintain at the hands of the worker. The Systems that miss this point become complicated and are impractical to use over long time.

GTD is Comprehensive

Many of us use project management tool itself as personal productivity tool. But unfortunately, your professional projects is not the only work that you are responsible for. Look at the picture below:

As you see, ultimately, what ends up as part of your responsibility is not just from your day job, but from your family needs, from your need to learn/renew and from the vocation – the calling that you have. Where and how do you manage them? Also, how do you apply your time judiciously so that you stay productive on all the fronts? That is where the GTD methodology shines.

Any project management tool will be a big misfit for GTD. Frankly, you don’t need any complex tool for GTD. At the core, GTD is a calendar and four lists. Any simple (mind you) listing App or a spreadsheet will do good to do GTD. Check out more here if you want to work with me to implement a simple system for GTD.