Doug’s GTD Story

Tell us a little about you and your work
My name is Doug Crane and I am a librarian by profession for over 22 years. I currently have the honor to serve as Director of the Palm Beach County Library System in southeast Florida where I oversee the major executive functions of a busy seventeen-branch public library system.


Doug Crane's GTD Story


How did you hear about GTD?
Not surprisingly, I found it at the library as an audiobook version on CD! I was looking for a better way to stay organized and keep on top of my work, so the title caught my eye. As I listened to David Allen’s voice reading his book on my commute home, I connected with the material very quickly. At that point, I knew that GTD was for me.

How long have you been practicing GTD?
I started in 2011. I am one of those excited people who dove in head first and did a total implementation of the GTD process within the first month. One of the best support tools for the early years of practice was the 10 CD set of David Allen’s complete GTD two-day seminar. I pretty much listened to it on repeat in my car. Each time I listened, it took me deeper into the GTD process. I still dive into seminar from time to time for a refresher.

How has GTD made a difference in your work and life?
Within three years of implementing GTD, I promoted from a Branch Manager to Director of the entire library system. GTD provided me with a level of clarity and focus to my work that was not possible without it. The understanding on how to function effectively as an executive completely transformed my approach to knowledge work. The practice of capturing what has my attention and putting reminders into a trusted system for work and life is an essential skill in this busy age.

On a deeper professional level, I am exploring how productivity and efficiency practices intersect with the values and principles of librarianship. I recently wrote an article on the topic called “Efficient Librarianship: A New Path for the Profession” that was published in Public Libraries magazine, a major trade publication. I believe that GTD practices map on to the core principles of librarianship as my profession transforms to meet the needs of our members in the digital age.

What areas of GTD are you doing really well (or at least better than you used to)?
I have run with Inbox Zero (paper and electronic) for seven years. It was one of the first parts of GTD that I implemented and found to be a huge game changer. Processing the inbox every 24-48 is an easy win and huge stress reducer. I love it.

What areas of GTD would you like to get even better at doing?
Like most people, keeping an up-to-date project list is my Achilles Heel. I have tried several different approaches, but unfortunately found it easy to let the project list slide when I am busy. Of all the areas of GTD it is the one that I need to keep working on.

What is one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out with GTD?
I have been sharing GTD and related productivity practices with my colleagues in Florida and across the country through book talks and seminars for many years. I love communicating this information and getting people hooked on the process. For those who are reluctant or skeptical, I challenge them to try out the Two Minute Rule. It is simple to implement and provides immediate positive feedback. For anyone starting out, it is an easy path to quick wins at work.

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  1. Great article and adoption of GTD Doug! You are clearly leveraging GTD as a holistic lifestyle, versus just a set of tools.

  2. Hi Doug, your mention of the 10 CD GTD seminar set intrigued me. Any idea where I can get hold of a copy? Thanks.

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