Getting Things Done – A functional self-organization methodology

If you’re anything like me, you have the tendency to be tragically disorganized; utterly unable to stay on top of the very many things in your personal and work life which demand your attention. Well, now I think I’m finally getting the better of this personal fault, and it’s all thanks to David Allen‘s personal productivity approach detailed in his book Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

Getting Things Done : The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

At the heart of the system are a number of core concepts:

  • if all the “stuff” you’re required to deal with on a daily basis is banging around inside your head, the likelihood that you’ll end up overwhelmed by it is increasingly high;
  • getting that “stuff” out of your head as soon as it comes to you and into “projects” managed by whatever GTDized management system you choose (paper or electronic, or both)
  • everything you need to do having the concept of a “context” applied to it. A context defines what the next concrete “action” is that you need to take to push that project forward.

It’s all about knowing the next actual step to take, and it works! I’ve spent the first couple of days this week implementing GTD at work, and taking the first steps at home also. At work, I’ve gone from an extremely full and unactioned email inbox to a virtually empty one, accompanied by a less cluttered desk which is now far better organized. I know where everything is, and what I next need to do with it.
I’ve always been a bit cynical about these self-management systems, believing they were either New Age crap, or required such an intense level of personal overhead that they simply weren’t worth it. The past couple of days working with GTD has me convinced this is a system that works. I just need to stick with it.

There are a bunch of great GTD resources available on the Web (just Google “gtd”), but here are a few that might get you up and running:

Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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