Getting Things Done [1]

Many of you have heard of GTD, the famous time management system created by David Allen.

If you feel that your to-do list is too long and you can’t control it, I strongly suggest you take a look to this method.

I am a fan of this system and have been using it for a long time.

The traditional approach to time management is based on lists of tasks, prioritizing them by analyzing what is urgent and what is important. GTD goes further and provides a practical way to handle all your pending actions.

As you may know, GTD is based on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks.

There is usually an inverse proportion between the amount something is on your mind and the amount it is getting done — David Allen

In my case, the combination of GTD with Outlook and my Blackberry was extremely powerful.

You can check this book: Implementing David Allen’s Workflow Processing using Microsoft® Outlook.  It’s an easy reading and explains how to use GTD with Outlook (email, tasks, notes and categories).

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9 Comments

  1. Congrats for your blog, I’ll strongly recomend it. Very useful post. I’ll read this book. Thanks.

  2. Francis Cordon

    Enrique,

    First of all, congratulations! This blog is not only interesting but elegant and appealing to the eye (and the mind 😉 ). 
    I have chosen this blog entry to start commenting because I really have a thing for To Do lists and Time Management systems. For years I have searched for the ‘ideal’ system and tool to implement it, and yet I did not know about GTD! I am excited to learn more about it and especially about GTD-friendly apps for the iPhone (I find myself opening the laptop less and less and doing more work on my iPhone). 
    Any thoughts about this? Have you (or any other blog readers) found good iPhone apps that follow the GTD guidelines? Anyone care to comment?
    Thank you!

  3. Sorry but I don’t think there is a perfect iPhone application to use GTD yet.
    I would like to see some comment of other people using GTD with the iPhone.
    In my opinion, the synchronization with your PC/Mac is key, and so far the iPhone is not well synced with Outlook, especially for categories, tasks and notes.
    You will find many apps in the Apple Store claiming that they support GTD. Most of them are very good task managers, but they don’t provide a good sync with email (in the iPhone) and even less with your laptop/PC/Mac.
    In any case, one of the best is OmniFocus (http://itunes.apple.com/app/omnifocus/id284885288?mt=8#) that will give you a good support to collect and classify your tasks and projects, what is a good start for GTD.
    GTD requires a daily discipline, but it is not based on any software. Nevertheless a good application is very important to make you able to use it. I would recommend you to read about GTD before buying any app.
    If you need any help, just let me know.

  4. Luis Doreste

    I discovered a good and very interesting iPhone application to support some of the concepts related to GTD. It is Evernote. Very simple, but powerfull concepts.
    Good Luck!

  5. Francis Cordon

    Thanks!
    Yes, I am a big fan of Evernote and lo and behold here is what I found today:
    http://darrencrawford.com/my-simple-gtd-evernote-combo/

    You are right, though… the key here is understanding the system well, not so much relying on a tool, at least until the system becomes a daily habit.

    :)

  6. Pedro Redondo

    I have also using GTD concepts to organize my time, calendar and tasks.
    Instead of using lists, I have been using the “outlook flags” for the task to be done (action list), and folders to store related e-mails (projects). Same concepts done in another way.

    It’s very useful the rule of 2 minutes and to take quickly actions. I think that GTD tells you a very important axiom: your brain can’t store and priorize all of your tasks, at least, in a very productive way.

    Here you can find and useful tool to use GTD with GMail: http://www.activeinboxhq.com/

    Thanks Enrique for keep my neurons working and congrats for your blog!!!

    • Francis Cordon

      Pedro,

      That’s for that tip! Very interesting add-on to GMail!
      :)

  7. Francis Cordon

    I have been thinking lately a lot about Time Management and GTD (still struggling with GTD and hoping Enrique will give me a live tutorial one day!).
    My latest idea is this: ‘Convert as many TASKS into APPOINTMENTS as possible.’
    Let me clarify with an example:
    Yesterday I had to review a document that a sales guy had sent me. That is automatically something I will never do because the phone steals my time when I am in the office. So what I did was SCHEDULE TIME WITH HIM TO REVIEW IT TOGETHER. My condition: we do it together or I just won’t do it.
    That way it gets done and it doesn’t compete in my mind for any other task.
    GRANTED, not all TASKS can be converted into APPOINTMENTS this way (or at least I wouldn’t know how to as of now). But this is my new ‘idea’ that I feel motivated to take further. For example: a customer sends me an email with 10 questions. I respond IMMEDIATELY (it doesn’t go into my To-Do List): When can we talk on the phone to go over your questions? And then we both find calendar time to take care of it.
    The more I can do this the better things work. Otherwise my experience is my To-Do list grows TOTALLY out of control… (Of course, I am no GTD Master, that must be why! :) )

    Anyone has any Time Management tips to share?

    Thanks!