Wednesday, 30 January 2008

GTDing the GTD

I have been trying to embrace the notion of getting things done (GTD). Although, I don't strictly follow the methods that David Allen's books, there are a number of things that you must do to ensure that it works. This is true no matter what GTD system you are using.
  • Write down all everything - In your list, make sure that you write everything that you want to do. Be as specific as you can. Writing something like, build a toy for my son, is probably not useful as it is too generic. Something like, build a small swing in the back corner of the yard for my son, is probably something that you can aim at.
  • Prioritise the task - Attach priority to each task that you have. With the priority, you are associating importance to the task. A task like picking your son up from child care this afternoon is more important than remember to buy the milk on the way home from work.
  • Read your list everyday - At the start of each day, don't just look at your list. Make sure that you read it, and check if you are able to complete any of it.
  • Simplify the tasks - If some of the tasks on the list has been there for a more than two weeks, it is a good chance that the task is too complex, consider breaking it down to simpler tasks.
  • Carry your list with you all the time - Having your todo list with you at all times allow quickly jot down that task whenever it pops into you head. For me, I found that if I don't jot it down immediately, I tend to forget about it and it never gets done.
My current system is the todo application my Palm T3 organiser and Outlook at my work desktop PC. Every morning, I synchronised the todo list with Outlook's tasks. I would spend some minutes in the morning and going through the list, perhaps re-prioritise some tasks or add more tasks. I have found that I am ticking off about 10%-15% of the tasks by the end of the week. This well short on meeting my number 1 goal for 2008, but I am making headway.

By the way, David Allen has published a series of free articles which you can conveniently download and read offline.

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