Easiest vs. most challenging?

Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 by GTD Times Staff

What’s been the easiest thing about implementing GTD for you? What’s been the most challenging to make a habit?

34 Responses to “Easiest vs. most challenging?”

  1. Guillaume says:

    Easiest: collecting outside of my brain.
    I knew it worked. I was just guilty to not use my memory.
    As soon as I had benediction to do it, I totally committed to it. Best feeling ever.

    Challenging to make a habit: the weekly review. The more frustrating, when I skipped one or two, is to realize I’m doing it chunk by chunk, in an chaotic way, when I feel I don’t know what my current priorities are.

  2. Anthony says:


  3. Brett says:

    Totally agree with Guillaume.

    The Weekly Review is the heart of it all, but the most difficult to commit to consistently.

    Feel like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz…..missing the heart.

  4. Herman Roozen says:

    Easiest: Writing everything down.
    Most challenging: Identifying the ‘next action’.

  5. Lupita says:

    Easiest| Breaking projects down into “Next Step Actions” and writing it all down on a list.

    Most Challenging| I have been unable to move above the altitude of immediate personal and work life needs. I haven’t used GTD for long term visioning and dreaming.

  6. Carmen says:

    Not the easiest to implement but the most rewarding step: decide next action.
    Most challenging: Keep lists up to date.
    I have a strong memory, I remember I need new batteries just exactly when I pass live ones in a store. Probably I’m wrong but I feel I don’t need complete lists.

  7. TesTeq says:

    Easiest: 2-minute rule.
    Most challenging: Weekly Review,

  8. Chris Bell says:

    The easiest: capturing everything that was rattling around in my head.

    The hardest: Getting comfortable with getting off the runway (and 10k feet) and using GTD to have the right conversations at the right level at the right time.

    As soon as that was a normal behavior, my life got infinitely better.

  9. Mike in Boston says:

    I think the collection step was the easiest, and in some ways the most rewarding. It’s always comforting to ‘clear the decks.’

    The hardest part is finding a way to bring together all the different ‘in boxes’ into a unified project list. It is a necessary evil to have email, paper folders, voice mails, folders on a laptop, etc. That really can’t be consolidated to one ‘place’ for easy review, so I’m always worried I’ll miss something. The weekly review is the best method to address this, but daily I worry I’m missing things.

  10. Cecilia says:

    Easiest – in box to empty

    Hardest – staying on top of the number of projects with imbedded projects. e.g. “build a house” or “write a white paper” are all projects with imbedded projects some of which also have imbedded projects.

    Also, I work solo, anytime the term delegation comes up in a discussion of how to GTD I just have to laugh.

  11. Silvie says:

    Easiest : inbox empty

    Hardest : writing all ideas down. Most of the time i think about something interesting to do or have some good ideas when i’m in the middle of a conversation, meeting or when i’m running. In all those situations it’s rather inpolite or impossible to write things down. People want to know what i’m writing and these are only rough ideas.

  12. Jeff says:

    Hardest- weekly review. I get time commitment phobia even though I know the time is well spent.

    Easiest – writing it all down. I can capture all of my ideas and thoughts but without a weekly review…

  13. Carol Anne says:

    Easiest: Inbox to zero. I love it!

    Hardest: Doing the weekly review. It’s a matter of telling everyone to give me an hour to myself, both at home and at work. Once I do one, I love the feeling of peace.

  14. Mike Bundy says:

    Easiest – using the natural planning model to go from conceptual ideas to next actions. I love this process and I get so much clarity and purpose from it.

    Hardest – I agree with Cecilia. Tracking projects within projects is difficult for me.

  15. Andrew says:

    Collecting is easiest and the weekly review the hardest.

  16. Scott from the Ocean state says:

    Letting things stay “dumped” from my mind is continual even though I’m early on… Inbox is a lot better… But not perfect. Anyone using omnifocus??

  17. Michael M says:

    Easiest: Collection, Processing, 2-minute rule, ticklers

    Hardest: Prioritization, managing projects with constantly shifting needs, understanding what my “areas of focus” really are professionally.

  18. Boleslav says:

    Easiest: Dumping tasks and commitments out of my mind into mobile notes, then onto paper (in order to empty the mobile phone notes), then into Word (in order to tear up the papers with gusto). Started noticing that lots of things got done by the time I was about to type them up. Hardest: Coming up with appropriate categories and separating commitments from ideas. Overall result: productivity up, stress down. Thank you!

  19. Boleslav says:

    By the way, hard but hugely rewarding: getting my email to ABSOLUTE ZERO – felt like I got a new brain that day 🙂

  20. Girish Kulkarni says:

    Easiest: capturing everything. Most difficult: identifying the next action in some projects.

  21. Justin says:

    Easiest: Following the process set out in either the reference cards or the e-productivity. Hardest: doing consistently the weekly review.

    Though i have been doing it for a number of years now, i do notice that if anything even though things should be totally ingrained they are not, i could capture everything. i don’t i kind of edit stuff out before i capture it so some thing do remain in my mind or don’t get done because i already think they are “trash”. so in some way every one of the stages could do with improvement and projects i do very well given that i am an architect and have to consider all the stages of projects before i do them. this means i can have an enormous list at the beginning of a project and does not help it get done.

    Anyway i would not change the way i do things, i.e stop GTD it is too much part of me.

    So thank you David

  22. Cork says:

    Easiest: Setup the capturing tools & habits

    Hardest: Keeping me from overcommitting

    As i’ve managed to build up a very efficient and satisfying GTD setup i’m fighting very hard to refrain from committing to too many things.
    I managed to get out of micro management but overcommitting is my real challenge, GTD wise.

  23. Antonio says:

    Easiest: figuring out the very next physical next action (except for @Study context).

    Hardest: wrinting down and doing periodic reviews of the the upper levels -30.000 ft. and above-.

  24. roberto fortich says:

    Easiest: Tickler file. I love it.

    Hardest: Frigging Weekly Review! Its not that I don’t do one, instead I find myself doing emergency reviews everyday simply because I missed the weekly review the week before…

  25. Jim Whitaker says:

    Easiest: Mind sweep/Mind like water

    Hardest: Weekly review.

  26. Simon says:


    I am not alone!

    Easiest: Capturing

    Hardest: Weekly Review, Deciding on an efficient digital GTD platform, deciding if I should keep ‘work’ and ‘Personal’ separate or together.

  27. John C says:

    Like many others, I found the Weekly Review to be the hardest part of maintaining my GTD system. So, in true GTD fashion, I started treating my weekly review as a project. I put it on my projects list every week with next actions and a due date. I also find that many of the next actions required to complete my weekly review don’t have to be done during the actual review. I do some of them through out the week. I do my weekly reviews on Monday evening. On Sunday evening, I review my calendar for the past week and the upcoming two weeks. On Friday afternoon I spend 10 minutes doing a brain dump that will be ready for my review on Monday. I remove completed projects/tasks from my task list once a day, every day. I spend at least 10 minutes every day processing that days items so that my inboxes and lists stay more up to date. By the time my actual review comes around, it doesn’t feel so daunting. I have done much of it already.

  28. Cameron Plommer says:

    It’s taken me awhile but for me the easiest is capture and processing stuff into next actions. I’ve also gotten really good on defining projects. In a way I think of projects as goals. In this way a project becomes something that has a defined end and can be called DONE.

    One of the harder things for me is the 2 minute rule. Maybe I’ve gotten too good and putting tasks into next actions and into my lists, but I often times put 2 min tasks into my lists instead of just DOING it. Bad habit that I’m working on.

  29. CoachGayle says:

    Easiest: processing
    Hardest: remembering to look at my Next Action list frequently during day to keep on track

    Looking at that tells me that I need to make a plan for looking at list, so here goes:
    When the clock chimes on the hour, I am going to pause, breathe, and then look at my list.

  30. Patrick S says:

    Easiest – Capturing for sure.

    Hardest – I totally agree with Coach Gayle on finding it extremely difficult to remember to look at the Next Action list during the day.

  31. Dan P says:

    @ Coach Gayle and Patrick S – when I started looking at GTD, I found a copy of the Pomodoro Technique link somewhere (maybe on this site?) – pretty useful, one key component was to set a timer for 25 minutes, to accomplish things somewhat uninterrupted – so I’ve got a Widget that I set to countdown 25 minutes and restart all day – timer is good for the 2-minute rule too during processing – I’m not Italian, so I call it the Tomato Method (or really the ‘Mater Method since that’s more fun). Makes my timecards easier to do, and I find I plan and execute the day better by establishing what ‘Maters I want to accomplish.

    And to stay on topic…

    Easiest – capturing

    Hardest – weekly review (of course) and dealing with projects (I’ve got say 10 “projects” in our construction division parlance, with each “project” having tons of “GTD-defined projects” with next actions and desired outcomes that I should do a better job of identifying – I use Toodledo somewhat, and one day I may pony up the extra $15 to go Pro and use their subtask feature).

  32. Jan van der Ploeg says:

    Easiest: Capturing

    Hardest: prevent doing during the weekly review.

  33. Janeen Demi-Smith says:

    Easiest: Getting it out of my head.

    Hardest: Getting my inbox to zero. (Ironically, since so many others have posted it is the easiest.)

  34. Ari says:

    Easiest: writing everything down

    Hardest: keeping “higher priority” to do items off of my calendar and leaving them on the lists. I typically look to my calendar as my “daily to do list”, which is really a mistake, and I usually end up dragging unaddressed items to the next day/week, just like David says.

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