Photo by dead_squid
GTD is pretty much the de facto organization system of the web. (If you don’t know anything about the little system that David Allen made famous, then check out the GTD Cheatsheet, a mini-series to whet the palate of those not privy to GTD.) The Getting Things Done system has taken the internet by storm in the last few years, with many different variations on the program springing up all over.
I believe GTD to be an incredible starting point for anyone wanting to get a better hold on their personal organization. In fact, I think there are some pretty convincing reasons for any doubters out there who might have overlooked the powerful system.
- Completely Customizable. The main tenant of the system (though GTD zealots might overlook it) is that the system can completely be customized to fit your needs. Pick and choose which features of the system fit into your life and your needs. It’s a fluid system.
Here’s an example. I don’t find myself delegating too many things throughout the day, since I’m a freelancing web worker. So I have tailored my GTD system to completely overlook the “delegate” processing step. (At least until I have some minions under me.)
- It really IS fun. Let’s be honest… let the dork inside of you out. There is a certain feeling of satisfaction that comes with checking a task off a list, not to mention the freedom that comes from knowing you’re in total control of everything that needs to be done.
- You’ll never lose a thought. If you’re a creative type and find yourself putting ideas a little bit of everywhere, GTD will ensure that you’ll a) always capture it, b)always process it, and c) always complete it in a timely manner. At least in theory anyway. (More on idea capture here.)
- It’s really not that bad. While the book may be a little heady, and actually getting the system in place requires a shift in thinking, the GTD system really is a simple concept. Once you start getting the hang of it you’ll never look back.
- GTD helps gain perspective on your day. With GTD you can quickly look at your day and know exactly what to work on first, what to spend time on, and what to leave for later. Automagically. With the help of contexts, you’ll know what needs to be done at any scenario (ie. in the car, at home, at the office). You’ll find that getting all the things on your todo list done is much easier when they’re broken down in to contexts.
- There are plenty of tools to help. There are endless possibilities and scenarios for making a GTD system work for you. Paper based, computer based (Mac and Windows), free, paid… literally there are GTD tools for any setup. Finding a tool for your specific setup is incredibly important to your productivity. With the “perfect” GTD tool, you’ll be more inclined tostick with the system. It’ll become as vital to you as one of your limbs.
- There is plenty of help to get started. There are tons of great blogs and sites that are focused around organization and GTD for the beginner and expert alike. Oh, and there’s a handy book too.
- Recurring tasks are never forgotten. Things that are easily forgotten (like paying bills) are never left behind. With the help of a tickler file (I still giggle every time I type that!), things that happen at recurring intervals show up every week/month/year they’re needed.
- It works in ALL aspects of your life. There is no specific venue for applying GTD principles. Whether it’s business, pleasure, even planning events like weddings, all can benefit from a little GTD sauce. You don’t need to remember confusing formulas or methods to make the GTD system work in nearly any situation. GTD is a comprehensive way to get your life organized.