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Thinking about GTD

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  • Thinking about GTD

    My wife and I are looking for something like GTD. GTD seems to have the most support, but I've been tricked by cross-marketing gimmicks before (NYT does a piece on a "new wonder thing" coincidentally when that "wonder thing" is making a big marketing push. Writers can be lazy and it's easier to accept the promotional material as a legitimate article than write a real article on time management).

    So, how is GTD different from the others, and does it REALLY work?

    I know that "make the plan, work the plan" is a mantra for people who want to get things done, so it's always up to the individual, ultimately, but I just don't have the money or time to chase another system down the rabbit hole.

    I know this is like going to a Christian forum and asking if I should become a Christian, but I'm hoping people will be honest and reflective.

    I'd like to try the GTD system, but I'm wary. What would you recommend I do first to see if the GTD system will work for me?

    Are there any free or inexpensive resources available so I can get an idea of what life is like when I'm interacting and working the system?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    I appreciate your investigation. For me GTD was something I didn't take on faith. I read more I had those 'aha moments'. I would read something and either simply get it, or try it out and actually see that it made sense in my life.

    It has really changed how I feel about all the things I carry in life. I feel more in control...a sense of understanding where I am with things. Don't get me wrong, I still don't do everything I need to...but I'm getting there a little at a time.

    Where to start...that's a good one! First, I think it's helpful to acknowledge this is a marathon not a race. It will take time to really get it all...and you will, or at least I did, modify as you go along. I thought I had it all...then realized there was a need to shift and then I had it...well, shift again!

    So, to start...read the book. I actually found reading summaries available for the Kindle to be VERY helpful.

    Of course this forum is also a terrific place to gather and ask a question or two as you journey into GTD.

    I hope it makes a difference in your life too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by dadalus View Post
      What would you recommend I do first to see if the GTD system will work for me?
      Get the 2 week free access to the GTD connect private forums and download the free articles that are on there and read them.

      Read the basics and implementation guide.

      Do a mind dump onto individual pieces of scrap paper.
      Do a floor sort of those papers into a set of projects for now and for later (active vs someday/maybe)
      Decide on the very next action to take on the active projects.
      Try a paper implementation first and create your basic lists by writing those next actions onto separate sheets of paper for each context.

      Get and read the book Getting Things Done

      Work the system for at least a month making sure you really truly have the next action for every active project and that you do at least 2 weekly reviews in that time but ideally one each and every week.

      Re-evaluate whether you are feeling better about your list of things to do.

      Repeat the mind dump and tweak as necessary but don't get bogged down in implementation until you understand the process. GTD is not based on any specific software or hardware but is a dramatically different way of thinking about your universe of stuff you want to complete. It takes a lot of time to grok the change and see if it will work for you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dadalus View Post
        My wife and I are looking for something like GTD. GTD seems to have the most support, but I've been tricked by cross-marketing gimmicks before (NYT does a piece on a "new wonder thing" coincidentally when that "wonder thing" is making a big marketing push. Writers can be lazy and it's easier to accept the promotional material as a legitimate article than write a real article on time management).

        So, how is GTD different from the others, and does it REALLY work?
        I don't know what you mean by "the others." GTD is in some sense a successor for the classic literature on time management, as in books like The Time Trap or The Organized Executive. It also is a successor to the time management materials associated with Franklin-Covey. In my opinion, it does not have much in common with programs like NLP, which I do not care for at all. The GTD book is probably the best-selling book of its type since the 7 Habits of Effective People by Covey.

        GTD is distilled common sense, and it works very well. It does take time to build the habits recommended.

        Originally posted by dadalus View Post
        I know that "make the plan, work the plan" is a mantra for people who want to get things done, so it's always up to the individual, ultimately, but I just don't have the money or time to chase another system down the rabbit hole.

        I know this is like going to a Christian forum and asking if I should become a Christian, but I'm hoping people will be honest and reflective.
        It's not a matter of faith and it does not require the purchase of anything specific. It is platform-agnostic: PC, Mac, paper notebook, smart phone, tablet, day-timer, whatever. GTD is not particularly oriented towards detailed project planning, by the way. It's not against planning per se, but a lot of stuff that needs to get done does not require detailed planning.


        Originally posted by dadalus View Post
        I'd like to try the GTD system, but I'm wary. What would you recommend I do first to see if the GTD system will work for me?

        Are there any free or inexpensive resources available so I can get an idea of what life is like when I'm interacting and working the system?

        Thanks.
        There's a lot of free material on the web site, but I would recommend the Getting Things Done book. It's inexpensive and clear. and may be all you need or want. I also like the setup guides available on this web site for a small price. I would wait to try the free connect trial when you are a little more familiar with GTD. It's true that the David Allen Company charges appropriately for their live seminars and for one-on-one coaching, but they are not necessary by any means. Whatever you do, I strongly urge you to try David Allen's recommendations in their most basic form, and see if they work for you.

        Comment


        • #5
          What are you looking for?

          Originally posted by dadalus View Post
          My wife and I are looking for something like GTD.

          (...)

          So, how is GTD different from the others, and does it REALLY work?
          What are you looking for?

          What problem do you want solve?

          What does it mean "it REALLY works"?

          How would you define the successful outcome of finding and implementing "something like GTD"?

          What's the next action? (Oogie's hint: Get the 2 week free access to the GTD Connect)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dadalus View Post
            What would you recommend I do first to see if the GTD system will work for me?
            I've used, and abandoned, GTD many times. I've also used the following:

            Wishcraft - B. Sher
            7 Habits - Covey
            Getting S**t Done - B. Westterman
            AF, DIT, DWM, etc - M. Forster
            ZTD

            I've tried, and own, a lot of Mac productivity software, and continue to dabble in analog productivity (creating my own pages).

            Here's what I've discovered... there's a kernel of truth in all of these things. There's also a lot of hype, over-promises, and silly slogans.

            A few suggestions:

            Quantify
            1. Monitor your time without using any system (Do this for a week)
            2. Montior your time using one system (Measure for at least two weeks)
            Do you see a difference in how you're spending your time?

            Qualify
            Journal about your feelings, what you've accomplished, etc., at the end of every day. Introduce a productivity habit, and see if your entries are telling a story that you're proud of.

            Currently, I'm using a tiny bit of GTD methodology, mixed with DWM rules, and Omnifocus. I'm here because of the deep resources and thoughtful/helpful people. The support alone helps keep me focused and motivated.

            Finally, if you're looking for criticism about the GTD process, this forum ain't the place to be There's a ton of folks reworking the GTD process, some claiming the entire methodology is flawed. Here's one opinion

            Good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              Great comments!

              Originally posted by mark1968 View Post
              Finally, if you're looking for criticism about the GTD process, this forum ain't the place to be There's a ton of folks reworking the GTD process, some claiming the entire methodology is flawed. Here's one opinion
              I like this link since beside the "criticism" (which in my opinion only reveals that the author never implemented GTD) it contains great comments and thoughts about the GTD applicability in different work environments.

              Comment


              • #8
                The thought process is everything...

                There are so many possible bells & whistles around GTD that it can get confusing, overwhelming, and even set you back... The diamond in the rough with GTD is the simple thought process - the "nugget"...

                1. What's the desired outcome?
                2. What's the next action?

                You will need to read the book and/or supporting materials from GTD Connect to really understand why this is the nugget, but if you get lost, just keep coming back to ground zero!

                Oh, and don't expect that your implementation and your wife's will look anything alike. And resist the temptation to tell each other you're doing it wrong!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                  I like this link since beside the "criticism" (which in my opinion only reveals that the author never implemented GTD) it contains great comments and thoughts about the GTD applicability in different work environments.
                  Speaking as someone in the same line of work (college professor), I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want him as a colleague. People like him often try to dump their routine work on their colleagues rather than get it done.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
                    What are you looking for?

                    What problem do you want solve?

                    What does it mean "it REALLY works"?

                    How would you define the successful outcome of finding and implementing "something like GTD"?

                    What's the next action?
                    Right on!

                    Excellent questions, TesTeq, for dadalus to think about and to post
                    answers to here if he wants!

                    In answer to dadalus: Yes, for me, GTD really works, in some ways.
                    For example, a few months after I started GTD I was frequently surprised
                    that various minor frustrations weren't happening because I had already
                    fixed things, moved them to the correct locations etc.

                    I agree with others on this thread that reading the book, "Getting Things Done",
                    is the key first step. If you don't want to pay for the book you may be able
                    to borrow it from a library or from a friend, acquaintance or co-worker, or maybe
                    get an employer to buy you a copy. If you don't want to spend the time reading,
                    you could consider instead posting here what you want to accomplish
                    (e.g. spend more time on long-term projects; avoid frequent crises;
                    figure out what you want to do with your life, etc.; we might not need to know
                    so much about what particular types of work or projects you're doing)
                    and then people here may be able to suggest particular parts of GTD to
                    start with.

                    When I started GTD I didn't seem to have the spare time to spend a weekend
                    or even a couple of hours starting GTD, so I started by carrying around a notebook
                    with me to use for GTD. I continued with whatever previous systems I was using,
                    and when new things came up I wrote them into the notebook and organized
                    them according to GTD. So I gradually transitioned to GTD (more or less)
                    over a few weeks or months.

                    You might like to read my review of GTD that I wrote around when I was starting:
                    http://web.ncf.ca/an588/allenternouth.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Give it a try

                      It is really like asking the converted isn't it??

                      But I also started as a skeptic. I remember I was attracted to the book because I knew I knew I needed something to get organised and the title of the book resonated with me. I remember speaking to my manager at the time about it and she said something like 'oh, yeah ... it's just like every other productivity book - you make lists'. I could see her point but something told me it could be different.

                      Am I glad I listened to my gut! 10+ years later and there is NO way I could have accomplished what I have been able to accomplish if I didn't have GTD and GTD Connect. And I've seen it work for people from different walks of life.

                      So, my suggestion - give it a try. by the time you get through a little bit of collect (including a brainstorm), process and organise you'll get an inkling of how free your mind can get and it'll keep you going.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Processing part of the GTD workflow.

                        Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                        Excellent questions, TesTeq, for dadalus to think about and to post
                        answers to here if he wants!
                        Thank you.

                        By asking these questions I wanted to show how GTD works - even before implementation!

                        dadalus has an inbox item: finding and implementing "something like GTD".

                        Next step of the GTD workflow is Processing GTD Best Practices: Process (Part 2 of 5) when you ask these basic questions:
                        1. What is it?
                        2. Is it actionable?
                        3. What’s the desired outcome? If it is multi-step, write it on your Projects/Outcomes list.
                        4. What’s the next (physical/visible) action? Write it on the appropriate Next Actions list.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Two Cents

                          I am one of those people that was born to follow some kind of system. I started in high school (I won't tell you how many years ago that was, but it was a LOT!) I used Daytimer, Franklin Covey, you name it. And they all "worked".

                          And that's exactly what strikes me about your question: you ask "will it work"?

                          NO system works--YOU work. I think it's more a matter of what feels comfortable to you, natural--what suits your work style.

                          And I TOTALLY know what you mean about big promises and a lot of hype. That's one thing I think is very interesting about the GTD way--most of the overwhelming enthusiasm comes from those of us that are using it and loving it. I find the company itself to be much lower key in their approach--taking the consultative approach. Anything else would have turned me off years ago.

                          So I love the GTD world and have loved it for over 10+ years. I can't even imagine doing things differently without some parts of GTD remaining. But the only way to find out is to give it a shot. And take the feedback you get from the naysayers with a grain of salt. So many of those seem to me not to really even understand GTD, from what I've seen. I think it's interesting that the "anti-GTD" people are even bothering to read and post on a GTD forum, unless there is some motive other than to share tips and information other than using GTD.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Barb View Post
                            And take the feedback you get from the naysayers with a grain of salt. So many of those seem to me not to really even understand GTD, from what I've seen. I think it's interesting that the "anti-GTD" people are even bothering to read and post on a GTD forum, unless there is some motive other than to share tips and information other than using GTD.
                            I am totally with Barb here. If I had a nickel for every time I have read some description of GTD that states "GTD says you must plan all projects/not plan projects/put due dates on everything/not use due dates/prioritize/not prioritize" et cetera I'd have a lot of nickels. It's pretty obvious that a lot of these people have not read or understood the book.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              While we're talking about haters

                              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                              I am totally with Barb here. If I had a nickel for every time I have read some description of GTD that states "GTD says you must plan all projects/not plan projects/put due dates on everything/not use due dates/prioritize/not prioritize" et cetera I'd have a lot of nickels. It's pretty obvious that a lot of these people have not read or understood the book.
                              I also don't understand the venom with which these people spew their hatred of GTD! My gosh! It's a life management system, not a political philosophy, a religious cult, or some kind of subversive organization aimed at taking away the Constitutional rights of Americans! (said that tongue in cheek )

                              Comment

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