The Getting Things Done Productivity Method in a Nutshell

The complexity of the Getting Things Done method of productivity scares a lot of people away. It’s not a perfect method, and it does take time to learn. But if you stick with it, there is a simplicity on the other side of the complexity that will help you, well, get things done. David Allen summarizes the system in his book, Ready for Anything (pages 15-16):

Why people need a productivity system: “It’s not one thing but five things all wrapped together: People keep stuff in their head. They don’t decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about. They don’t organize action reminders and support materials in functional categories. They don’t maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments. Then they waste energy and burn out, allowing their busyness to be driven by what’s latest and loudest, hoping it’s the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is.”

In a nutshell, how does the GTD method solve those issues? “It’s a combined set of five best-practice behaviors. Get everything out of your head. Make decisions about actions required on stuff when it shows up – not when it blows up. Organize reminders of your projects and the next actions on them in appropriate categories. Keep your system current, complete, and reviewed sufficiently to trust your intuitive choices about what you’re doing (and not doing) at any time.”