Friday, May 25, 2007

GTD: Initial fever to walk through

GTD (Getting Things Done) is a very useful tool and principle for getting your work done right, and in time. Based on Robert Allen's formulation of the technique, a lot of people have embraced and modified the technique to their convenience. (GTD on Amazon)
GTD is the process of putting down every thought, plan or event in a neat organizing system, allowing you to focus on the creative process rather than worry about memorizing deadlines and to-do lists. GTD's power goes beyond usual time management systems and lies in the categorizing of plans/projects which is quite intuitive and surprisingly simple.

Dr. Allen notes in the book that the initial phase of adopting the technique is challenging and like the pains of breaking out of laziness, it can be tough to form GTD as a habit.
I have been able to implement some components of the system, and although I thought first up that this was really something for executives-on-the-go, its been quite helpful in matching up my plans with everyday activities. My biggest hurdle now is the sheer number of things that I have lazed upon all this while, and which are now turning up in my GTD system. Those few long-term plans and ideas which I once thought off while sitting at the beach, now stare back at me in my list. Believe me, its a bit overwhelming having those missed to-do items on paper, with new creative thoughts presently hatched by this system..... much like a fever that happens when you start antibiotics...
In my mind, this is the greater problem people face during the first phase of using GTD and most definitely the problem does not lie in the system, it lies in the person quite a guilt feeling, but better have known than been ignorant!

There are several ways to implement GTD, but the obvious place to start is David Allen's book - Getting things done. It doesn't just feature the principles behind the system but has several chapters that actually walk you through building a system for yourself. At the least, it provides some useful tips to organize your projects.
Here are a few GTD links to start you out:
1. 43 folders - Merlin Mann's blog
2. Wiki on GTD
3. Hipster PDA - this is what I use :-)
4. Make your own Hipster PDA


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