On GTD

2nd month into 2010 and I still haven’t got around to post my last 2009 resolution, applying GTD. Nowadays I’m only online on workday only, from the office, typically from 8 am to 8ish pm. In weekend – unless I really need to open the laptop, I usually don’t.

But! I installed wordpress app for blackberry so I’m looking forward for mobile blogging. Hopefully by being able to blog from my blackberry, I will blog more often.

Anyway. A lot of things happening in my life these past few months but that’s not the topic of this post; on this post I’ll write about my last 2009 resolution – applying GTD.

For the uninitiated, GTD stands for Getting Things Done, the title of David Allen’s book, first published 2000ish if I’m not mistaken.

I first got the book in 2005. I read it from cover to cover but at that time I treated it as a productivity tips book; I didn’t really get it. I did try to apply the things from the book – like ’emptying your mind’ by writing everything on paper and placing them in my physical ‘inbox’. But without understanding the underlying concept, it wasn’t really working for me. Still it got me started a good habit: taking notes of everything. And just by taking notes I find I improved my productivity already.

So my carreer progressed, the responsibility and pressure at work increased, to a point where I realized I really need to be better at doing things at work. I re-read the book carefully; I listened to the audiobook, I perused the productivity-GTD sites & blogs like 43folders lifehacker and the like.

And slowly, over a period of time, I get it.

The whole point of GTD is: keeping your mind empty enough so you can focus on what’s in front of you, what’s most important to you. That’s what ‘mind like water’ means. At least for me.

Instead of trying to keep things in your head, put it outside to a system that you can trust. And don’t put it in a vague term like “vegetable garden” – phrase it in as a ‘project’ eg: “grow vegetables”, and write down the next physical action you gotta take to achieve that objective.

The line of thoughts would be something like this: “how do I start growing vegetables? Oh I gotta buy some container first. And the dirt to fill it in. What about the seeds? What about the tools?” And so on and so forth and your next physical action is: go to the hardware store to buy containers, compost, seed, and gardening tool. That’s what you write in the ‘next action’ list: go to the hardware store.

So, I finally got it. I understand the concept & principles, and I started to apply it more consistently in all aspects of my life. I gave each of my team members the book so they can read it. But I guess like me at the beginning, they haven’t get it yet.

Admittedly I haven’t really been able to keep all my inboxes empty. My problem spot is my email inbox. I keep trying though.

I hope after consistently applying GTD, I’ll keep getting better at it. It’ll still be my resolution for 2010, probably it’ll be a permanent resolution, at least until it become an ingrained habit.

I really recommend this book. I also recommend the other newer book ‘Making It All Work’ where Mr Allen explained the same thing, but whereas in GTD he wrote more about the day-to-day execution & on ground activities (horisontal view), in MIAW he took us to an elevated point of view, looking at the GTD concept vertically, in light of priorities, long term goals, and life’s purpose.

Here are the GTD resources on the web:
David Allen, Getting Things Done
GTD Times

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One thought on “On GTD

  1. Pingback: Attention, productivity & spirituality | perpetual work in progress

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