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What Is GTD®?

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  • What Is GTD®?

    Due the abundance of information out there about "Getting Things Done" (GTD), David & Co. has responded with a web page that provides an official definition of this term:

    http://gettingthingsdone.com/about/
    Last edited by davidcoforum; 03-25-2014, 05:04 PM. Reason: updated URL

  • #2
    Describing GTD

    There have been a number of posts addressing the question of how you explain, in a minute or two, GTD to someone who's never heard of it. I am wild about GTD so this is an important issue for me. I love to proselytize and I am always looking for better methods for diffusing information about this incredible innovation.

    The definition provided by Davidco is a useful start. I took great interest in seeing what they left in and what they took out.

    I have no trouble telling people that I love GTD and that it is a wonderful boon to a busy professional. So I would edit out much of the motivational material in the Davidco definition. But after I tell people how great GTD is, I do have difficulty telling them pithily and precisely what GTD is. As I read it, the definitional content of the Davidco "definition" is:


    Sophisticated without being confining, the subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its radically common sense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all your commitments , organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment. GTD embodies an easy, step-by-step and highly efficient method for achieving this relaxed , productive state. It includes:
    • Capturing anything and everything that has your attention
    • Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps
    • Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on



      how and when you need to access them
    • Keeping current and "on your game" with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)

    I personally could not use this to present GTD to the uninitiated because I believe that it relies too heavily on jargon understood only by the cognoscenti. I would avoid using the word "capture" because it presumes too much prior GTD knowledge. I would avoid the word "actionable" because it is ugly and repellent to all nonlawyers. (DA says everything either attracts or repels us, in the GTD Fast audio series.) I like the bullet point on organizing. I would avoid listing the "six horizons" since, again, in this context they amount to little more than jargon, if the reader is not already familiar with GTD.

    I would take the above and rewrite it something like this:



    GTD is a planning system that has you:
    • move all of your commitments to do things out of your head and onto a written list,
    • formulate those listed commitments as discrete actions,
    • group those listed commitments into categories, so that whatever situation you are in, you can find a group of listed commitments appropriate to that situation,
    • review your list at least once a week to check off completed actions and write down new commitments to act.
    I have tried to take the Davidco bullet points and translate them into language easily understood by non-GTDers.

    The most obvious criticism is that I do not give sufficient attention to nonrunway activities. What David says clearly on GTD Fast is that the runway is the focus of his program. He says that conceptually it makes sense to start with defining the purpose of your life and work down from there. But he has discovered empirically that this method does not work. He has found that people spontaneously engage in higher order planning after they have successfully incorporated their runway commitments into their trusted system. That is the reason I have chosen to minimize nonrunway activities in my pithy definition.
    Last edited by moises; 01-23-2006, 06:58 PM. Reason: removed inadvertent repetition of the words "the word."

    Comment


    • #3
      New official GTD definition.

      The official GTD definition has been changed recently. Here is the current definition from http://www.davidco.com/what_is_gtd.php:
      Originally posted by DavidCo
      GTD® is the popular shorthand for "Getting Things Done®", the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity.

      Piloting a productivity seminar for a thousand managers at Lockheed in 1983, David has continued to test and refine the techniques and principles we now know as GTD - a powerful method to manage commitments, information, and communication. This pioneering and proven system is the result of those twenty plus years of David's consulting, private coaching and organizational programs with over a half million people internationally. GTD has well earned its recognition as the gold standard in personal management and productivity for many of the world's best and brightest people and companies.

      Sophisticated without being confining, the subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its radically common sense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all your commitments , organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment. GTD embodies an easy, step-by-step and highly efficient method for achieving this relaxed , productive state. It includes:
      • Capturing anything and everything that has your attention
      • Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps
      • Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access them
      • Keeping current and "on your game" with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)
      Implementing GTD alleviates the feeling of overwhelm, instills confidence, and releases a flood of creative energy. It provides structure without constraint, managing details with maximum flexibility. The system rigorously adheres to the core principles of productivity, while allowing tremendous freedom in the "how." The only "right" way to do GTD is getting meaningful things done with truly the least amount of invested attention and energy. Coaching thousands of people, where they work, about their work, has informed the GTD method with the best practices of how to work (and live), in that most efficient and productive way.

      GTD's simplicity, flexibility, and immediacy are its attraction. Its ability to enliven, enlighten, and empower is its magic. What, indeed, is GTD? More than meets the eye...

      Comment


      • #4
        NOT time management

        I'm grateful for this latest one-page description of what GTD actually is.

        I know what it is because I'm using it but I struggle to explain to others, whom I believe could benefit from it, what makes it different to any particular time-management system. I became very turned off by time management; all too often time management systems are just another way to cram more in and burn yourself out. Because of this I've been tending to recommend GTD by telling others what it's not.

        GTD is a completely different because of the peace of mind and improvement of quality of life it brings. This new description will help me recommend it to others.

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