Getting Things Done GTD Step-by-Step

It may be helpful to group your projects based on your “Areas of Focus” — the GTD term for the various areas of responsibility you have in your life. These areas are a tool to draw attention to your broader life goals while deciding what to work on next. If a task does not fit within the scope of any of your areas of focus, it may be time to reassess if it’s something you want to spend your time on. Or you may just want to separate your projects between “Work” and “Personal.”

gtd system

After mastering the basics of the GTD system, you can elevate its efficiency and clarity by integrating color coding. This method involves assigning specific colors to different categories or aspects of your tasks and projects, providing a visual cue that makes your system more intuitive and accessible. This GTD weekly review checklist includes all the things you should review on a weekly basis so that you don’t leave anything out. Instead of storing your next actions in a Next Action List, you can store them in the Calendar. This is a great visual way to store actions with a deadline or target date.

Does it take more than one step to complete?

You then define next actions for your project and enter specific deadlines for it in your calendar. Also, keep a reminder list for all the tasks that you’ve delegated to others. This allows you to keep track of the tasks others are doing for you. First, you need some tool to capture and organize all of your ideas, to-dos, responsibilities—everything you need to remember. You likely already have a favorite to-do list app, journal, and planner that you use to stay organized. When the boss surprises you with a new task while you’re working on something else, you want a tool that lets you get that task out of your head and into your system as quickly as possible.

For example, instead of writing Call Mel, you’d need to write Schedule call with Mel on Thursday to discuss project budget. The Getting Things Done method revolves around five simple steps to help you manage tasks effectively. In Todoist, your inbox will be the default place to hold all your inputs until you can organize them. This guide will introduce you to GTD principles and workflows and what we think is the most intuitive way to implement them.

Getting Things Done: a productivity system for all areas of life

That defeats the purpose of GTD which is to free your mind of these thoughts. This includes things that need to be done, are incomplete, broken, or things that have some decision about potential action tied to them. Move all these items into your “in-basket” to process at a later stage. The author stresses the importance of using your brain for the things it does well.

  • Then you’re a perfect candidate for the Getting Things Done self-management system.
  • They are constantly on your mind whether you are aware of it or not.
  • Now, you can keep your project list clean by collapsing your sub-projects underneath the parent project.
  • That way you won’t have to work your way through a huge to-do list in order to decide on your next action.

In the future, as soon as you come across something that requires action, you will automatically move it into your “in-basket”. Schedule your weekly review by setting up a recurring date in any task field. Simply enter your date in natural language, like “every Sunday at 5pm,” and Todoist will automatically recognize and schedule it when you save the task. If you can delegate a task to free up your own time and energy, you should.

Processing the “in” list

All three are great for GTD, even if they’re a bit heavy and feature-rich. You might think that David Allen himself uses some expensive planner, or a plethora of to-do apps to do what he does. In fact, his workspace always has notepads nearby, so he can jot down ideas and to-dos quickly and get them out of his head. Getting Things Done, or GTD, is a system for getting organized and staying productive. It may seem complicated on the outside, but the end goal is to spend less time doing the things you have to do so you have more time for the things you want to do. Let’s break it down and see how you can apply a simplified version to your life.

gtd system

Use a calendar (or next action list) to manage your daily list of tasks (instead of the traditional daily to-do list). In this step, you deal with actionable items that cannot be completed in 2 minutes or less. Once you have collected all the physical things in your environment that need processing, you’ll want to collect anything else that may be in your “psychic RAM”. These are things that have your attention and are not already in your in-basket. He argues that as individuals, when we try to keep in our heads (such as our “to do” lists) , we are tying up valuable RAM.

Time Blocking 101: How It Can Boost Your Team’s Productivity

Attach reference materials – photos, documents, links, notes, or even audio files – to the relevant tasks. Todoist makes is easy to capture and organize all your “open loops”. If you’re in the car and you’re 15 minutes away from your destination, you shouldn’t start a phone call that you know will take an hour of your time. A better choice might be to stop at the supermarket to cross some things off your shopping list. If you can complete a task in two minutes or less, do it right away and don’t add it to the Getting Things Done system. That way the next time you look at your to-do list, there should be no confusion over what you have time to tackle, or what’s most important.

It must be a place with access to all the things you need and where you feel comfortable working. Ideally, you will want identical workspaces gtd system at home and in the office so you can be equally effective in both. Store the “next action” in the Next Actions List or in your Calendar.

In the future, after this initial gathering, your “stuff” will be stored in your in-basket. As soon as you come across something that requires any action or processing, move it to your in-basket. GTD is the work-life management system that has helped countless individuals and organizations bring order to chaos. It alleviates the feeling of overwhelm—instilling focus, clarity, and confidence.

Todoist syncs across platforms — computer, phone, web browser, email client, smartwatch, or smart home assistant — so you can enter tasks anytime, from anywhere. Your inbox is only used to collect the chaos of your thoughts in order to get them off your mind. The rest of this article will cover the specifics of each of the five GTD practices above and walk you through how to implement them with Todoist.

When you start, stick to the fundamentals and add supporting tools only when you’ve got the hang of the basics. Digital tools such as Asana or Trello, or a calendar app can be used as inboxes to capture tasks as they come in. This model helps individuals decide which action to take next by considering factors such as the appropriate context, priority level, energy required, and available time. While reviewing your list, you will notice some tasks that you don’t want to devote time or effort to now or in the future.

gtd system