I’ve been meaning to blog this for so long now, but now no more procrastinating and I’ll get straight to the point…David Allen’s GTD has changed my life. I am getting so much done, my email inboxes are processed to zero, my desk has never been neater and am unbelievably organised. The best bit is that I think I’m just following only about 20% to a max 30% of the GTD Principles and Techniques that his book talks about…therefore each time I get myself just 5% more organised than before, woah! The increased feeling of control and while being relaxed is so empowering it’s as if… as if…I’m on a different planet altogether where it is I who is in charge.
(Alright enough babbly already, Arif…what the heck is GTD?) Well, now that you’ve asked, the Principle of GTD in a nutshell is that, your effectiveness is directly propotional to how relaxed you are (for more info on this watch video below). And how can you relax if there are 50 to 100 undone tasks (from unsent emails to incomplete projects) munching your mind to mush. Hence, the solution to get maximum effectiveness would be to have a system in place where anything…literally ANYTHING that comes to mind (be it via a task assigned to you by someone else or something you thought of that needs to be done), is instantly captured within 10 to 30 seconds in a system that you’re confident and absolutely and postively certain from which the same information can be retrieved at anytime within 10 to 30 seconds. Therefore now imagine a scenario that you’re reminded of something that you need to inform your collegue at work, also a feature that you want in your mobile phone (which reminds that your mobile phone needs upgrading), simultaneously you find asking yourself what the sole purpose of your life is…instead of going numb, you immediately record all these unfinished tasks (within 10 seconds) into a system; so that you can retrieve that info (within 10 seconds) when you are in the position to Get iT Done. And when you do that for every single thing in you mind….it would feel as if someone has lifted a mountain that you were carrying on your head for all these years and gently placed it aside.
So now how do you do that? There’re umpteen explanations online and offline of how the GTD system works. I spent hours, infact days & weeks sifting through the various pages that Google showed up, analysing what work for me, what wouldn’t and then finally actually applying these ideas out. But…being the incredibly nice, wonderful, charming (not to forget good-looking :-) guy that I am, I am going to save you all that trouble. Here are some GTD resources that have helped me and will give you an excellent idea on the principles behind GTD are and what you need to do to get started:
This video, is NOT a one-stop explanation on what GTD is about and it does NOT speak about the steps involved to get you organised the GTD way. However this is an excellent introduction to get a little more of an insight on little things like who GTD is for, a few brief principles of GTD, certain expressions such as “rapid refocussing”, “cranking a widget” that David (and others talking about GTD) refer to. I’m sure you’ll have many ‘Aha’ moments watching it and also David’s presentation style is quite entertaining too!
Although the below resources, go beyond just giving an insight into GTD and are sufficient to set up your own GTD system, however it may not be as effective like reading the book yourself and getting it first hand from David himself. A mere 200 odd pages or so and you don’t need to read the whole book. I confess I haven’t finished it myself, by the time I reached 2/3rds of the book I knew all that I needed to start GTDing. (For those reading in Bangalore, I wasn’t able to find a copy of this book in Landmark, Forum mall or Crossword, MG Road (tel: 08025582412) but was able to pickup copies at Gangarams on MG Road (tel: 2532 5878, 255 88 015) )
GTD on Wikipedia
There are many sites that explain the GTD system, but I think none explain it as well as Wikipedia has.
Online white papers
These articles by David Allen too are a valuable resource on topics such as how to have filing system that works and what sort of Paper organiser to have if I don’t use a Palm or any other PDA. You may need to subscribe to the site, add these Articles to your shopping cart and then then on checking out these articles will be emailed to you.
Blogs and Forums on GTD that I track:
43 Folders 43Folders.com, is run by a Merlin Mann, who unlike the Merlin from Medieval, King Arthur’s time doesn’t really use a wand (he’s got a Mac instead) but boy can he do magic. The most value that I have got from his webiste was from listening to his Podcasts, especially the currently ongoing series Productive Talk which are conversations between David Allen and Merlin Mann. You can read his take on GTD here.
Working Smart A Blog run by Michael Hyatt, President and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, which has a GTD swing to it. It hasn’t been updated recently but has a great archive of posts to profit from.
David Allen’s GTD Forums I don’t really actively participate in these Forums, but it’s a good idea to keep track of the new posts that pop up and fairly occassionaly you’ll find something highly relevant and useful here. The easiest way to just keep track of the new posts is to drag this URL to your RSS reader and vola! Each time there’s a new post in the Forum, your RSS reader will have it.
Well that’s all for now. Hope you’ve found at least some of this info useful. If so, do drop in a comment here.
Keep miling :-)