Home Forums Work What's your GTD system?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  fields_of_green 6 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #160220


    I read Getting Things Done a couple years ago. And since then I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to implement a system that I can stick to. It just occured to me that I could really use some inspiration.

    Do you follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done way of doing things? Does it work for you? Describe your system.

    Is your job project-based? How do you apply GTD to your projects?

  • #226477


    What's your GTD system?

    My job is handling filing, formalities, and correspondence on foreign patent applications. The “GTD” for this job is: correspondence or instructions come in? Do the work. 🙂 Not a whole lot of long-term planning or queueing required, and very few surprises.

    My “GTD” for personal life is multi-faceted. I haven’t read the Allen book, have read a couple of bloggers’ synopses of it but couldn’t honestly say how my systems would relate to his.

    Email is a big thing. I have a personal “business” address, a 2nd address related to my Etsy store, and a 3rd address used mainly for dance-related correspondence (I’m heavily involved with a ballroom nonprofit). I give 1 and 3 mailboxes a look-see daily; 2 is copied to my business mailbox, so I only go in to clean that up once a month or so. Most of the incoming messages can be deleted without response. I used to be terrible about saving everything … am getting more ruthless.

    I’ve switched to online control of my bank and credit accounts. I use online bill-pay for ALL my bills. This means I can take care of everything with just 15 minutes or so of my lunch hour once a week, usually Fridays.

    I keep a manual calendar and to-do list in what I call my Notebook of Doom, a simple two-pocket folder from Staples. This goes to and from work with me daily as my notes therein are frequently required for those emails that *do* need response. I handle almost all that sort of thing during my work hours, thanks to results-oriented employers.

    Work I do for the nonprofit is handled about 60% during work hours, 40% from home, generally on Saturdays since it is rarely time-sensitive. If I were not able to do any of this work during the business week, I probably would not be volunteering to do it.

    I am the household meal planner, cook, housekeeper, cat caretaker, social director, and accountant. Most of the notes I need to keep on track with various tasks are made during work hours.

    I have a de minimus housekeeping routine on weekdays, and generally take 1-2 hours on a Saturday and/or Sunday to do more time-consuming tasks.

    I do not have a home “in box.” I deal with mail immediately. Bills to be paid go into the Notebook of Doom; anything requiring a phone call or email likewise; anything to be filed goes to my secretary desk to be handled on the weekend.

    Paperwork is never dealt with anywhere but in the den or home office, and my filing system is – if I do say so myself – almost bulletproof.

  • #226509


    What's your GTD system?

    I haven’t read the actual book (not at my public library, which is a big deterrent for me), but I have read enough about the system I think I understand it.

    My job is project-based. Some projects that I manage, but mostly projects that the actual “project managers” manage. My project list is heavy on “someday/maybes” – projects that I know would be beneficial, but that I don’t have time to accomplish.

    I’ve tried to implement GTD in the past, but I’ve never quite hit a home run – right now, I don’t have a system so much as I try to be mindful of the principals of GTD.

    The simple act of recognizing which of my activities are projects and which are actions has been very illuminating. I like the idea of “ubiquitous capture”, but I have so many ideas that I don’t end up doing that I tend to get bogged down in all my captured thoughts throughout the day. I also love the idea of a weekly review and found some “teaser” lists of what to consider in a weekly review online, which help.

    Right now, my very imperfect system is to just try and capture “action steps” and make sure that they are truly actionable (and not projects within themselves) so that my to-do list is doable.

    I have something sort of similar to @chacha’s notebook of doom – but it isn’t a pocket folder, it is a notebook where I write my action steps and other notes. I’m realizing that a pocket folder would make much more sense, since then it could accommodate bills and correspondence from others.

    I also use the Pomodoro Technique from time to time, and it helps. I think a New Years Resolution for me will be to Pomodoro all the time.

  • #226517


    What's your GTD system?

    Getting Things Done is a poorly written book, so I never made it all the way through it. But some aspects of the system are useful–writing everything down, for example. At the moment, I try to schedule 4 to 6 hours worth of tasks per day, and I spend only 15 minutes on each task (I can spend more if I get everything done, so if I’m on a roll, I’ll return to that task later). As an example, I have a blog that requires me to read a lot since it’s a research blog. I scheduled 15 minutes of reading time three days a week for that particular blog. I was asked to rewrite a lengthy history tour, and that also requires lots of research. So I scheduled that one for 15 minutes of reading time, five days a week, and 15 minutes of writing time three days a week. I like randomness, I like variety, and I learned a long time ago that I can get a lot done in just 15 minutes, so this works for me. This week, I’m getting ready for Christmas and the return of my college kids, so I’ve added in certain things such as Xmas prep and extra house cleaning that I wouldn’t ordinarily do. I’m more likely to divide the list into things I can do in my room (where my computer is) and things I have to do anywhere outside of my room. I’d rather work in my room, so I try to do all the outside tasks first. However, I’m semi-retired, so most of my time is my own to deal with as I choose. About once a month, it seems that I lose all motivation and just vegetate for a solid day. I hate those days.

  • #226522


    What's your GTD system?

    Jude2004: I could never get through GTD either. What kind of research do you do? Would you mind posting your blog URL? Or you could send it to me privately ([email protected])

    I’m always curious as to what my fellow declutterers do in “real life.”

    If only this forum had a SEARCH function . . . .

  • #226578


    What's your GTD system?

    @mdfloyd – You can search the forums on the first page of unclutterer. The little search box on the right hand side! Not very obvious, but it works. 🙂

  • #226587


    What's your GTD system?


  • #226614


    What's your GTD system?

    I have not been able to successfully work the GTD system. I fell on my face right from the get-go with the Ubiquitous Capture step, I never could get the hang of it. But there is one very valuable thing I did get from GTD, and that’s the Next Action. As a person who tends to panic and freeze whenever I see the enormity of a project and all the hundreds or thousands of steps it’ll take to do it (doesn’t matter if they’re baby steps, it’s still an overwhelming number of them), the Next Action has helped me focus on just doing that and only that… then I can rinse and repeat for the *next* Next Action, without hyperventilating.

  • #226618


    What's your GTD system?

    (I haven’t read the book either)
    I get so overwhelmed about how many things I have to do that most times I just do the things that are on my way just to have less things to think about. I will look into the Next Action mentioned by Ella.

    Also I like to stick to routines so I don’t need to think about.

    In my work (I’m an orthodontist working for a paediatric dentist in a very busy practice, and also build appliances at practice’s own lab) I’m glad I have a very efficient colleague (who we started to call ‘TatiLie’s Manager’) who analises the priorities and directs me to them. It works great as I don’t need to get overwhelmed by the full patient’s list. On my free time I build appliances (again, my ‘manager’ leaves me a list of the urgent ones) and scrub some instruments on the sterilisation room.

  • #226621


    What's your GTD system?

    I read GTD when it started to be talked about by bloggers/podcasters. I was following Merlin Mann’s 43 folders website for a time. I even went so far as setting up the 43 manila folders, trying to make myself use that. That experiment didn’t last long for me, but I haven’t entirely given up on the idea of GTD, and do read essays about how other people deal with task management whenever I come across them. I do continue to use a fairly simple system of one folder for every month of the year; things that are not due until that month rolls around are stored there. I have a folder for paper that needs to be processed, and I tackle that nearly every day. I guess that is my “in box.”

    I use OmniFocus, but my main tool is my calendar, a calendar called BusyCal. I maintain three different types of calendars. One is for myself, which includes all tasks and appointments for myself, my mother, and for my farm work. One is a planting schedule. One is for my temple, which I created and now maintain for that group. On my own calendar in particular, I have deadlines also calendared in. The nice thing about having different calendars is that I can color code them, and I can switch some off when I’m thinking only about my own things, or only about what is going on at the temple.

    I thought I’d mention a humorous video about time management. It’s by an author, Yuvi Zalkow, who has made a series of videos that made him somewhat famous even before his first book came out. I might have to warn you that his humor is a little offbeat, but I enjoy his videos very much. http://yuvizalkow.com/videos/failed2/


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