Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a productivity methodology that was created by David Allen and is probably the most famous productivity method out there.
The main goal of this method is to help you keep a clear mind at all times. The basic principle of GTD is that whenever something crosses your mind, be it a random to-do, something you want to look up, an idea for a future project, a beautiful quote etc., you write it down.
Writing everything down will help you to keep your mind free from worries and stress: you don’t have to worry that you will forget a task and you won’t get stressed and distracted by all the constant thoughts. Using GTD keeps your mind uncluttered and free, so you can focus all your energy on what you need to do at the very moment.
Once you review your list, you will have to organize the chaos and define actionable steps for each thought you wrote down. Once your list is organized, you will have a clear picture of actions and priorities throughout your day.
Getting things done focuses on 5 basic steps:
Write down everything that crosses your mind throughout the day.
Review each item on your list and define what has to be done about it. This means clearly defining the next action for each item, so that you know exactly what you need to do next.
If something doesn’t have a clear actionable task right now, then you might need to mark it as a project (something that involves multiple actionable tasks), save it as reference material, mark it as something to put on hold for now or, if it’s not relevant anymore, delete it.
Time to put everything in the appropriate place so that it serves you when you need it. This means adding things to your calendar, filing reference material in the appropriate places, delegating what has to be delegated etc.
If you had an idea for a project, add it to your project ideas list; if you got reminded of something you need to buy at the store, add it to your shopping list or set a reminder so it will ping you when you’re at the shop etc. Use whatever system works for you.
Frequently update and review your list so as to keep it up to date and relevant.
At this point your list is organized by priority and you know exactly what to work on, and when. Now, simply do the work.
GTD is a great productivity method for everybody that has to do and keep track of a lot of different things throughout their day. Rather than being designed for just one area of your life, the system is basically made to help you with all aspects of your life combined. It’s the extension of your mind and the one place where everything starts and is captured, so things can later be organized and completed.
It’s not a system where you have to decide whether to use it with a specific project or not. It’s a system you can use right now, for everything you have to deal with on a daily basis, whether it is work, life, school, side-projects, your household, a birthday; simply everything.
The other great thing about GTD, is that it doesn’t require you to use any specific tool. In fact, you can just grab a piece of paper and start writing things down, or use whatever tool you feel the most comfortable with.
Simply start and free up your mind from all the clutter, because a clear and calm mind will let you do your best work and let you focus on the things that matter in every moment of your day.