I discovered David Allen and his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity several years ago, and it has made a huge difference in my personal productivity.
The other day I was looking for an easy way to help you implement your own Getting Things Done system. While I was searching for ideas on the internet, I came across an article, The Four D’s Of Getting Things Done by Tim Clemens. Tim’s article helped me remember why I started using Getting Things Done, and I hope that it will help you too.
Tim’s article reminded me that there are really two keys to making your GTD System work for you. First, you need to free your mind by writing down all of the incomplete tasks floating around in your head. Second you take action to complete each task. It really is that easy.
The Two Keys To Getting Things Done:
Write It Down
First, you have to capture all of the tasks that are floating around in your head. David Allen refers to this as a mind sweep, and this the key to the process.
To do this, you need to gather all the things in your head, laying around your office, on your calendar, and write them down. Everything that you can think of. All of the stuff that you have been avoiding, hoping will go away, praying that someone else will do for you. Everything! Write it all down.
You need to do this to clear your mind and to free up space so that you can get things done. It may seem a little overwhelming at first, but this really does help you to clear your mind.
Second, you need to take action on each of these incomplete items. Go through your list one item at a time, and for each item on your list take one of the following actions:
- Do It- If it takes less than two minutes, just do it. It will take you more time to defer it than to just do it now.
- Defer It- if it takes more than two minutes, and you’re the right person to do it, defer it. If it needs to be completed by a specific date, put it on your calendar. If not, put it on your next actions list.
- Delegate It- If you are not the right person to do it, delegate it to the person who is. Make sure that you follow-up with that person so that you can make sure that the task is completed.
- Delete It- If it is not important or just does not matter to you, delete it!
Now you have cleared your mind of everything that was floating around in your head. You have captured it all in a place where you can refer to it when you need it. You have a list of the things that you need to do, and you can review this list at least weekly. That is all there is to it! Try GTD the easy way today. It will help you to feel more relaxed and you will get more done.
Question: What system do you use to help you with getting things done? Leave a comment by clicking here.
If you would like to learn more about how to do a mind sweep, listen to David Allen’s podcast episode here.