Do you feel that you’re processing multiple tasks and projects in your head but not actually completing them? When you think a lot about tasks, projects, and goals, it becomes challenging for your mind to focus on productivity.
Through systematic task management, Getting Things Done (GTD) helps you reduce mental stress. Learn more about the GTD method, processes, and how to organize to accomplish tasks efficiently.
What Is Getting Things Done (GTD) Method?
The five steps, namely Capture, Clarify, Organize, Review, and Engage, construct the GTD system that makes professionals or freelancers more productive at work or home.
You’ll need to invest some productive hours in setting up the GTD method and its tools. However, such a small investment of energy and time will pay off for the rest of your life if you continually practice it.
As you implement the GTD system for every professional or personal task, you’ll start seeing the following benefits:
- You’ll save more time and will be able to achieve the right balance between personal and professional life.
- You’ll become more efficient and productive through task management. Thereby, you’ll be ultimately free from mental stress.
- You can avoid causing harm to the project by focusing on more significant tasks.
- You become more creative as your mind doesn’t have to process unnecessary data.
When Should You Adopt the GTD Method
You can practically apply the GTD system to complete any professional or personal duties. Freelancers and professionals who take care of many tasks should practice GTD to stay productive. The real-life scenarios that best suit the GTD system are:
- You fear that you might forget the small but crucial tasks of any project.
- You’re not confident about keeping track of all things.
- You perform multiple roles in your professional and personal life.
- You frequently find yourself initiating various projects but not able to complete them on time.
- You’ve never tried the Getting Things Done approach for managing tasks.
How the GTD Method Works
Step One: Capture
David Allen, the developer of the GTD method, emphasizes capturing tasks and ideas in writing or storing digitally to keep the mind stress-free.
Hence, you need to immediately store events, ideas, appointments, to-dos, tasks, subtasks, project references, etc., in your inbox. This inbox could be a paper-based filing system or apps like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Evernote, OneNote, etc.
An Inbox is a visual representation of the elements that you need to take care of regularly at work or home. It is the first step towards GTD-based personal time management workflow. This step requires a lot of energy and time as you need to go through extensive thought processes to capture all to-dos and ideas in one place.
You can efficiently capture all tasks in your GTD inbox by using GTD-based time management apps like Trello, Asana, Notion, Evernote, nTask, ClickUp, etc.
Step Two: Clarify
After you’ve populated ideas and tasks in the GTD inbox, you need to convert these cluttered elements into actionable steps. Follow the below-mentioned checklist for all the items of your inbox:
- Complete the task right away if it takes less than two minutes.
- If the project allows, look for task delegation opportunities.
- Put reference items like documents, files, contact information, etc., in the comment section of a specific task.
- If you need to complete a task in the future, assign a due date.
- Delete any elements that are irrelevant in a personal or professional context.
Step Three: Organize
To organize your tasks, you need to list them in the temporary to-do list for further processing based on the following items:
- Calendar: You need to enter appointments in your calendar. You can start using calendar apps, as these are more efficient than paper-based calendars.
- Next Actions: The tasks that are not fit for any project should be in the Next Actions list. You can have different context-specific lists like chores, personal, work, phone calls, etc.
- Projects: You need to organize projects in a separate list based on the contexts. Assign specific deadlines for each task of a project and review the project list daily.
- Waiting For: If you delegate some project tasks to others, then you should maintain a reminder list for those tasks.
To-do lists and note-taking apps like TickTick, Todoist, Firetask, Hitask, Evernote, etc., help you organizing and viewing your to-do lists.
Step Four: Engage
You systematically derive what to do next in the Engage step by using the following four criteria:
- Context: You’ll have different tasks related to work, life, and hobbies. These are known as contexts. You need to create separate to-do lists for each of these contexts.
- Time Available: If you have about 15 minutes while driving to your destination, you can probably stop at a grocery store to purchase items you listed on your shopping list.
- Energy Available: Schedule complex tasks for the time when you’re more energetic. Leave the simple tasks for low energy level hours.
- Priority: You can also identify what to do next depending on the priority of the tasks in a to-do list.
Task management tools that follow the GTD method will allow you to add custom task views with filters. These filters could be a priority, due date, assignee, keywords, creation date, etc. Such apps also automate the GTD method through views like today, upcoming, view next, contexts via a label, etc.
Step Five: Review
Reviewing GTD elements like calendar entries and to-do lists keeps your GTD system up to date. In the GTD method, you can practice weekly reviews for the best outcome. The review step enables you to refine your time management workflows and identify the next steps.
Task management tools that you might be using for Getting Things Done automates the review step. Apps like Infinity, Trello, Asana, Todoist, etc., come with in-built GTD review templates. These templates provide all the checkpoints that you need to go through for a successful weekly review of your GTD workflow for any project or task.
The apps also allow you to customize these review templates to suit your project needs. For example, you can create a bi-monthly review rather than a weekly review. You can create task comments or sub-tasks to determine your weekly reflections and focus for the next week.
Become More Productive With the Getting Things Done System
GTD method splits the entire task management process into five simple steps: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Review, and Engage. GTD system and getting things done tools help you utilizing brain capacity more on task completion than unproductive thoughts.
For optimal productivity, know how to choose the best app for task management while regularly adopting the GTD method.
If you’re looking to choose a task management app to manage your projects more efficiently, here are some things to consider!
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