Should there be a GTD for Dummies?

Date: Monday, July 19, 2010 by GTD Times Staff

In response to our recent Productive Living newsletter, a GTDer wrote to David Allen and said:

Please provide a less complex version of the basic GTD chart/system for me and the hundreds of thousands of organizationally challenged managers just like me who have tried and failed to maintain the GTD system. Simpler is better.

David responded:

I empathize with desire for the “GTD for Dummies” approach.  I suggest just not letting the visual chart get in your way… it’s as simple as:

Write it down
Decide what’s next about it
Park that somewhere you’ll trust you’ll look at as a reminder
Keep your head empty and your list(s) current

Hope that helps.



9 Responses to “Should there be a GTD for Dummies?”

  1. Venkat says:

    🙂 I wouldn’t call that GTD for dummies.

    It is merely short-and-distilled GTD.

    I don’t think GTD can truly be dumbed down. It takes a certain minimum self-awareness, honesty and basic intelligence to apply GTD.

  2. I hope that GTD is never dumbed down. The benefit comes from the discipline and the rigor of applying the basic tenets. It’s too easy to dumb things down to a simple tickbox checklist. Let’s give credit where credit is due…. life is complex and the tools we need to use need to be sophisticated.

  3. Michael says:

    I think sometimes people confuse GTD (the process David teaches in the book) with the endless amount of stuff generated by the GTD community — web sites, blogs, applications, etc. GTD can’t get any simpler. We make it complicated.

  4. Michael–you wrote:

    I think sometimes people confuse GTD (the process David teaches in the book) with the endless amount of stuff generated by the GTD community — web sites, blogs, applications, etc. GTD can’t get any simpler. We make it complicated.

    Amen!

  5. Leslie S. Russell says:

    I am a dummy and GTD works so well for me that people don’t think I’m a dummy anymore. Heck, I have even started to believe that my IQ is above 70.

  6. Rob says:

    there is a more simple version, it is called ‘Zen to done’ (a free e-book) and is what introduced me to GTD. I am glad I did not stop there and did buy the book by David Allen. Believe me, ‘Getting things done’ is as compact as it can get. Take David’s advice, read it, implement it and then reread it some 6 months later. That’s all you need and you’ll need it all…

  7. Hey Michael, I second Kelly’s comment. Amen indeed.

    I believe that GTD is like chess, basic rules that are easy to learn and grand strategies and complex tactics that take a little longer.

  8. I admit that I am struggling with the “GTD” audio book. I’m about half way through it and now admit that I am more confused than when I started. At first, I felt great about it and was excited, however, this system or whatever he’s explaining seem so complex that I’m trying to decide if I should spend the time to finish the audio book.

    The main thing I’ve taken from it is that I need to have the ability to write down my thoughts, and organize them. Any more than that I still haven’t pieced together, because there seem to be a million folders and file cabinets… Am I looking at this the wrong way?

  9. Nathan — you’ve got the key points. If you get stuff out of your head, captured in a system that’s organized as you like it, you’re way ahead! The system doesn’t need to be complex. In fact, it should only be as complex as it needs to be to work for you.

    One other thought: some people are more auditory, some more visual, etc. I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks, but some topics are easier for me if I have the physical pages to look at.

    Best to you in your GTD journey,
    John

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