The power of GTD checklists

New to GTD or a veteran, you can be more productive by harnessing the power of checklists. David Allen’s Getting Things Done has terrific how-to information on checklists in Chapter 7, Organizing: Setting Up the Right Buckets.  You’ll find David’s suggestions for creative ways that you can make checklists that improve your productivity.

For another perspective on the value of checklists, have a look at this video of Dr. Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. At 14:00 minutes in, he explains how checklists make experts better at what they do.


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  1. THANK YOU for this link. I watch a lot of TED talks. Several have touched me really deeply. I believe in this. I believe that the time of the individual is coming to an end and that we need to recreate community. This was a fantastic lesson in that!

  2. n was a fantastic and important TED talk. As a professor of clinical psychology (as well as a researcher) –well this applies so directly to everything I do personally, and everything I try to teach my students to do. One of my students, Emily Diamond (some years ago, she is now a professor herself) did a study (for her dissertation) in which she devised what was essentially a checklist for everyone working with suicidal, depressed patients in a hospital inpatient unit. They had had more than their share of suicides, something was wrong. Dr. Diamond created a checklist that everyone who had anything to do with a depressed patient reviewed each time they saw they patient, allowing each clinician –nurse, psych techs, psychiatrists, nurses aides to note what others had noticed, and add their own observations, as it was updated with each contact. The suicide rate went down dramatically. This was really a great talk and I am going to show it in all of my classes tomorrow or the week following. Thanks for putting it up here.

  3. Thankyou for the opportunity to hear Dr. Gawande. As a financial/insurance advisor we might not be looking after a client’s physical welbeing and have their life in our hands, but we do have the financial welbeing, and quality of life in our hands. The checklist is a way to ensure that we ask the right questions, implement the right solutions as we care for our clients in the appropriate way.

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