A Reverend shares how he implemented GTD

Rev. Chip Granthan sent this letter along to the facilitator who led the GTD Public Seminar he attended in Atlanta. Chip was happy to have this shared with our GTD Times readers too.

I’d been trying to find the tool to bring clarity to my situation and had stumbled upon the GTD Coordinator® that Staples sells back in November.  I’d liked the layout, and had followed up by getting a copy of David’s book.

I’d read Getting Things Done 3 or 4 months ago.  I’d tried to absorb it and get my arms around it.  I picked it up about 6 weeks ago and read it again.  I’d gone online to DAC’s website, and had seen the information on the Atlanta seminar.  I’d downloaded the free materials and had purchased the GTD and OUTLOOK 2003 guide.  I’d signed up for the seminar, and in the interim I started actually processing my email the GTD way.  What a difference!  I started looking at the changes I needed to make in my office.  I am a stacker and a packrat. I’ve always known what was where in what stack, but having moved into a new parsonage in June, and having been given responsibility for two areas in my church’s district and conference that required a tremendous amount of paperwork – I no longer knew where anything was, except for the “have to have” information from the new church responsibilities.

I took the GTD-Q test a day or two before the seminar.  I registered a Perspective 2, Control 1, Responder/Victim.  That made sense!  I’m always responding to the crisis, and my lack of control isn’t helping me.

The seminar was great.  I continued the mind sweep that night, and the next day.    As I continued doing the mind sweep, I started listing projects and next actions into the GTD Coordinator.  I played catch-up on Wednesday.  Thursday, I took David’s advice from the book to make any changes I’d been considering in my work space.  I went and bought 2 2-drawer file cabinets.  I moved my desk out further, and replaced the narrow bookcase behind it with the two cabinets, with a smaller bookcase between them.  On Friday, I purchased a 30” solid-core door.  I cut it down to 60 inches and put a hardwood trim around the edges.  I stained the door and put a cable-grommet in the back-center.  I put the door across the cabinets and bookcase and set up a nice work space.

I switched out the printer I had with a smaller, nicer printer I had at the house, but was not using.  I put a wire file rack on the desk with colored files for IN, ACTION SUPPORT, WAITING FOR, READ/REVIEW, TO HOME, TO OFFICE. I set-up a tickler file in a short, hanging-file desk stand, and put clamps on the sides to make it narrower to accommodate the files without using the hanging files.  In the back of that holder, I put a PROJECT SUPPORT notebook. I have my immediate reference books on top of the workspace, along with a pen/accessory tray that has my GTD System Guides and Jumpstart in it.  I also have my labeler and a regular and heavy duty stapler there, along with another file holder tray with some on-going projects, a rolodex, and a pad and pen.

I’ve placed a 3 tier basket on my desk for IN, PENDING, and READ/REVIEW. I placed a single OUT box on the desk beside it.   And, to date, I’ve completed 3 weekly reviews.  I do not have the several days (not hours) to blank out to do the collect the GTD way, so I’ve broken it down into chunks, starting with the area behind my desk and my desk and moving out.  I’m trying to do the same thing with my study at home.

I’m using Outlook for my calendar, and eventually plan on transferring the materials in the GTD Coordinator to Outlook to link with my older Palm.  But for now, I want to see it all in front of me at one time, and the notebook is working great–helping me to flip from my Projects list, to the Project Support area, where I can sketch the project out by steps, determine my next action, write that in the next actions, and then move the project support material into my project support notebook.

I’d already purchased a small 3×5 index card holder that would hold a few cards on the outside, and a stash inside, with a pen loop on the side.  I’ve been using that for my note-taker, and it has really helped.  I take my notes and dump them in my IN box. Since the seminar, I’ve actually gotten in the habit of carrying it with me!  I have one red IN folder in my truck to collect all of the receipts/notes on the road, to download into IN.

GTD has given me the tools to get control back in my life. I’ve got a long way to go, but am so encouraged by how much progress I’ve made, just in the last 2 weeks.  I’ve encouraged several people to get the book, and have already given my copy from the seminar away.

Thanks for bringing all of the pieces from the book together in the seminar and walking me through it, so I got to experience how it was all supposed to fit together.  I really enjoyed it, and am still reaping the benefits!

Thanks again,


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1 Comment

  1. I’ve read through the first couple of chapters from David’s book, which Chip so graciously gave me, and so far I’m impressed with the common sense with which he speaks. His grasp of how my world works – or I should say often does not work – is equally impressive. I’ve got a long way to go, but I think being a student of these ideas will pay dividends.

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