How to Start Getting Things Done!

wrote this on June 21, 2011 / 1 comment

* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.

I’m in the process of reading David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

In all honesty, I’ve never really been an organized person. I’ve relied heavily on my memory in two ways. The first (and most obvious) was my attempt to remember most of my daily tasks without recording them anywhere. The repetitive tasks that I do on a daily basis, like deciding what to do for lunch and watering my plants, weren’t too difficult. However, the less repetitive tasks like picking up the dry cleaning, replying to the barbecue invitation I got last week or getting ready to file my taxes on time definitely required effort.

The second way I relied on my memory was with those less repetitive tasks I actually wrote down. I, probably like most people, write things down on the nearest piece of paper, create a to-do document on my laptop or on sticky notes , flag my emails, put notes in my smartphone , etc. That took the onus away from pure memory, but I still had to remember where I put everything and on which device. I can’t even count the number of times I forgot that I even took that note, let alone where I put it afterwards!

In short, my methods needed work. When I began working for IQTELL, I started to place a great deal of the information I accumulated throughout the week into my IQTELL app. Because it links to my email and contacts, it’s more than a simple Task management system. That immediately lifted some of the burden I placed on my memory. But, I was my own worst enemy. I didn’t realize that passively using an organizational tool is akin to not using one at all. I’m only 45 pages into Getting Things Done and I’ve already learned two things:

1. The key is to take your brain out of the equation.

Allen describes the process as “getting it all out of your head.” His philosophy is that you need to collect and process new information quickly. That doesn’t mean you have to do or complete a project the moment it lands on your plate. What it means is that when you get that email, phone call, text message or assignment, get it out of your inbox! Quickly decide if you need to take an action. If you do, decide when it needs to be done and create a reminder for those that can be done later. Leaving items in your inbox keeps them on your mind and distracts you when you’re working. Process those items, get them out of your inbox and get them out of your head!

2. This quote from the book exemplifies the second thing I’ve learned

“The big difference between what I do and what others do is that I capture and organize 100 percent of my ‘stuff’ in and with objective tools at hand, not in my mind.”

I’m already using the tool that does everything Allen’s talking about. I have my Collection bucket, Processing center and Organizational tool all in one place. In addition, it allows me to Review all of the items I’ve already processed, and start Doing! I’m excited to peer further down the GTD rabbit hole and see just how far IQTELL can carry me.

I can already tell that using David Allen’s method with IQTELL’s tool is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And, as it turns out, the beginning of a series of posts that will describe in more detail how I’m using my IQTELL Workspace to follow the principles of Getting Things Done, how I’m increasing my peace of mind and how you can do the same.


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