Getting Things Done

Posted on 2010/05/27

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GTD (Getting Things Done) is a system created by David Allen to manage work. After reading the book and starting to implement the system, I can say I am impressed and I’d wholeheartedly suggest anyone to (at least try to) adopt it. Here is an introductory video of David lecturing at Google:

David Allen: Getting Things Done

The system consists in a process to keep “stuff” under control, and a framework to keep perspective of the situation on different levels. A basic concept is that the human brain is bad (inefficient) at remembering and reminding stuff to do, and the issue can be solved by delegating this responsibility to a trusted system. The system must be able to keep information and action lists, and must raise at the right time items that need attention. When everything is in the system and the brain trusts that system completely, it becomes easy to manage the current situation and also to react to any unforeseen event.

David’s site contains resources to start implementing GTD, and is targeted mainly at professional figures and companies. For the commoners, a good place to start is Lifehacker, with many posts about GTD, tips and software tools.

Personally I find the web-based task manager Remember The Milk a powerful platform to implement GTD (or at least part of it), especially if used together with the Firefox add-on A Bit Better RTM. Its main deficiencies for me are task dependency and support for full backup/restore (or export/import).

The concept behind my blog is “Working to work less”, referring to anything that improves productivity and helps to do things better; I also call it soft-work to differentiate it from the hard work that we usually do for a living (I wrote about it long ago in the posts “The Freaking Sweet Point” and “Soft-Work Efficiency“). GTD fits perfectly in this concept: it takes time to develop a working system and to keep it running, but the advantage is big and the effort is worth it.

Posted in: Working