Good Afternoon TMOD, Fellow Toastmasters and guests. Had you been in that same scenario, where we have so much to do that we just forget what we actually needed to do? Had you been in the grocery store and have forgotten what you wanted to buy, but can remember the phone call you need to make at 4:00 this afternoon to your boss on office work. In our increasingly busy lives multi-tasking is a great tool, but sometimes everything blurs and we need to focus on what we truly need to accomplish and this is where the methodology of GTD, Getting Things Done, shines. Yes, another methodology! This afternoon you are going to learn GTD methodology, the specific steps to use as part of GTD, and how you can implement GTD in your everyday personal and business lives.We as humans are most productive when the mind is clear and Getting Things Done is a methodology for personal productivity allowing for the organization of all that ‘stuff’ in your life. David Allen created GTD in the book named aptly, Getting Things Done was released in 2002 the idea of GTD has been brewing with David Allen since 1983 after putting together a productivity seminar. The methodology has evolved over the years and continues to evolve especially as the older models of productivity become outdated. The main principle behind GTD is the common sense concept of having a complete and current inventory of all of your commitments and activities. At a high level, the GTD process is a bottom up approach that starts with getting all of that ‘stuff’ out of your head. Once that ‘stuff’ is stored somewhere else it then provides for the ability to turn that ‘stuff’ into actions.
So how do you go about Getting Things Done?The steps to GTD are very straightforward;
2. Process & Organize
3. Review and Do.
We’ve discussed the Collect step already and it’s as easy as putting everything you need to get done into an Inbox. The Inbox can be any sort of collection system from paper to e-mail. Once you’ve collected your items into the Inbox you then need to process these items, in effect emptying your Inbox. To process the item we split the Inbox into two categories, actionable and non-actionable. If the item is not actionable it either gets Deleted, added to a Reference bucket, or added to a Someday/Maybe bucket, like that trip to Hawaii! For those items that are actionable we then need to Organize them into various buckets. Before we do however, will this item take less than two minutes to complete? If so, then JUST DO IT! But if it takes longer than two minutes the item should be if possible, delegated otherwise deferred. Deferred actions are organized into contexts such as office, home, calls, errands. The next step is then to actually Do these actions based upon their context and buckets. At the office? Then what’s in the office bucket? Have some time at home then look at the calls context or home bucket. The last step is Review, an occasional review, usually weekly, of each of your buckets, contexts and projects to ensure they aren’t being ignored. This time is also spent again emptying the stuff in your head into the Inbox and then repeating the steps of Processing and Organizing and of course doing.
After learning about these steps involved in GTD some of you may be asking how you might implement it in your personal and business lives. Well as GTD has established a bit of a cult following there are a number of tools available to use. I personally utilize Outlook as my Inbox and have an app on my smartphone that is specifically designed for GTD, called Producteev, with a whole bunch of neat features. For starting out however the simplest way to implement GTD for yourself is to get a plain spiral notebook and dump the stuff that’s in your head into it. Then Process, Organize and Do! Implementing GTD relieves that overwhelming feeling and helps to increase productivity without being locked into a rigid structure. I would also highly suggest getting David Allen’s book to learn more about GTD. So why are you still sitting? Get your paper and pencils and start Get Things Done!