GTD Community Story with Rosalie Gale

Photo by Chris Leher –

We discovered Rosalie Gale’s love for GTD on Facebook. We interviewed her so our community could hear her story. Enjoy!

1. How did you hear about GTD?

I used to be the queen of making to do lists. I would write them out over and over again and become very overwhelmed by everything I needed to accomplish. It seemed like I never actually made any progress on anything I wanted to do. For Christmas one year, my husband thought it would be funny to get me an audio book called Getting Things Done. (Get it? Because you never get anything done? Get it? He’s hilarious.) The joke was on him though because I listened to it. Then, I listened to it again. Over the years — I’ve listened to that audio book many, many times and it has honestly changed my life completely.

I went from someone who was just wishing and hoping to accomplish things — to someone who maybe learned how to be TOO productive (is that possible?). When I started GTD, I was working for someone else — and now I run three businesses of my own. My husband and I invented Shower Art – waterproof art you can hang in your shower. I also created and maintain a website called Unanimous Craft where people can find places to sell their handmade and small batch work. In our spare time, we opened a retail shop in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market called Ugly Baby and La Ru.

2. How has your GTD system evolved since you started and what tools do you use now?

When I first started, I used index cards and pens. I love office supplies, so being able to splurge on cool stuff to track my projects made me love GTD even more. I maintained it that way for about a year before I decided I was just repeating too much work and went for an electronic system. I’ve tried just about every electronic to do list and project management system out there — and have been very happy using Asana for the last two years. I use Asana to track all of my projects, due dates and recurring tasks. Then, every morning I make a pen & paper list of what I need to accomplish that particular day. Best of both worlds!

The main way that my GTD approach has evolved over the years is that – when I first started – I assigned everything a due date. It was a mistake because it didn’t give me any flexibility and I was often frustrated when I had to move a task over to the next day. Now, I just assign due dates to things that actually have a specific due date. Everything else I hope to accomplish is just assigned to be done anytime within the month.

3. What’s your favorite thing about GTD?

The part of GTD that really blew my mind was breaking projects into actionable tasks. When I was making my to do lists — I would put huge projects on the list and then never get to feel like I was accomplishing anything by checking something off. For example, I would put “Build website” on my list of things to do. Well, that’s going to take a long time and has many, many tasks required to make that website happen. When you break up those projects into smaller tasks it makes everything seem manageable and possible. Life is much less overwhelming that way.

4. What’s still challenging for you, if anything, around your GTD practice?

I’m still a big procrastinator. I’ll do anything as long as it’s not the thing I’m supposed to be doing. It still makes me super productive but there’s a level of stress that comes with procrastination that I would like to banish from my life for good.



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  1. Fun article about Rosalie! She is a delight. And to think that I knew her when she was a very young lady. Very creative and fun loving…

  2. The Unanimous Craft website sounds great! I live on the edge of Lancaster County, PA, and while I’m not Amish, I’m making small sewn projects that I would love to get out there, however, I want my open time available for me to create rather than managing the marketing and distribution of things. At least with a resource like this, it’s give me a zoom in on potential outlets and save time on that research! And the Asana tip is great! Will need to check that out. Thanks!

  3. Rosalie,

    Thank you for your essay. I had an AHA moment while reading it. I’ve never been particularly fond of setting goals, but I love to get projects done. Rather than establish goals, I’m going to set up projects and break them down into tasks as you suggested.

    And to David, thanks for today’s newsletter. I like the idea that one can actually be organized enough. There’s no need to go overboard, just get to your sweet spot psychically and you’re on your way.

    Always enjoy your blog!

    1. Hi Terry – so glad you found it helpful. I set goals for the year – but in the system I use for tracking, Asana, they become like high level folders for holding my projects. I put projects that relate to my goals – under that particular goal. And if a project doesn’t relate to my goals – maybe it’s not the right thing to focus on right now and becomes a prime candidate for my Someday/Maybe list! If you don’t like setting goals – don’t – but that’s how I handle them within the structure I use for tracking.

  4. I’m running into the problem with my electronic lists that they still overwhelm me. I don’t trust them. What have others done to help build trust in their systems?

    1. I have struggled with electronic lists myself trying to get GTD to “stick”. I finally realized that starting out that way is like making a leap, instead of making baby steps. So I started my own, homemade, planner, using David Allen’s methodology of projects, next actions, calendar etc. I figure after a few months (or more) of getting into the habit, I can transition to an electronic form (or not). I think it is the habit that needs establishing, and ignore the platform. Of course, I do use some electronic systems (calendar-I sync with my planner) and Google Keep for my errands & shopping list. Good luck!

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