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The GTD System: Modern Tools Get the Best Results

The GTD System: Modern Tools Get the Best Results

Next actions are separate from future actions — steps you’ll take eventually but do not need your focus right now. Anything that crosses your mind — to-dos, events, ideas, book recommendations, etc. — must be captured and stored immediately in an inbox. In GTD, an inbox, be it physical or digital, is a visual representation of all the inputs you need to somehow deal with on a daily basis. More structured rules for determining who should be working on what, and how collaboration should best be organized, could walk us back from our current moment of always-on overload.

gtd system

Your tool should be versatile enough to handle your most complex projects yet simple enough to maintain when you’re low on energy. First, it’s super organized because it gives you a single system for all your projects, whether they’re personal or work-related. This helps you stay focused and not lose track of what needs to be done. You can divide tasks into two groups—urgent and not-so-urgent ones, pin the ones that require more attention, and then finalize one by one. It features a user-friendly UI that makes it a breeze to add tasks and organize lists.

Unprocessed Tasks Sitting in Your Inbox

I use OmniFocus, a Mac and iOS productivity app designed specifically for GTD. It’s always a tap away on my computer, iPhone, and Apple Watch, so I can capture a task or idea at a moment’s notice. Many other to-do apps, including Asana and Todoist, are also built with GTD in mind and make it equally easy to quickly add tasks and ideas. The time spent clarifying and organizing your tasks means that when it’s time to engage with work, you have fewer choices to make and fewer reference materials to find. To decide what to do next, you can see upcoming tasks with due dates, sort tasks by label, or create filters to see your next actions based on context. Allen observed that our brains are much better at processing information than storing it (“your head’s a crappy office”).

  • That gives me a digital copy of everything in one place, alongside the tasks and ideas I jot down—but I still have the security of a paper copy for important documents.
  • The time spent clarifying and organizing your tasks means that when it’s time to engage with work, you have fewer choices to make and fewer reference materials to find.
  • You check off completed tasks, update progress on ongoing projects, and add new items if needed.

The idea behind adding contexts is that you can then batch similar tasks together into one block of time, like getting all of your email replies out of the way in one go, rather than continually context switching. Even though it’s important to store thoughts and goals separately from your main, actionable to-do list, having to switch it education between multiple tools can get overwhelming, fast. Instead, look for a way to capture all of this information in the same tool. Curious as to whether the GTD approach can help you clear your mind so you can focus on the work that actually matters? But before we dive deep into the GTD workflow, let’s clarify how it first came about.

GTD Method Summary: What Is GTD System & the 5 GTD Steps?

No matter how big or small, jot them down in a reliable place like a notebook, digital app, or to do list tool. Being reliable means keeping your promises and being on top of your appointments. With GTD, you stop trying to remember everything in your head and rely on tools and habits to stay organized and on track. This makes it easier to be reliable, even when you have much on your plate. Finding the right GTD software might seem impossible at first, but once you do find it, it will help you accomplish both personal and business goals without stressing out. The variety of tools we listed in this guide may overwhelm you at first, but with the key features and pricing for each neatly listed, we’re sure you’ll spot the best one in no time at all.

gtd system

During the past two decades or so—a period of rapid technology innovation, which produced laptops, smartphones, ubiquitous cloud computing, and Google—American productivity growth has suffered a sustained slowdown. We gained access to an armada of supercharged workplace tools, and yet we’re not getting much more done. The “Someday/Maybe” list is for ideas or tasks you want to do in the future but not now. David Allen, a productivity expert, created the “Getting Things Done,” or GTD method for short. His idea was to help people manage their tasks and be less stressed.

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