Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

What are likely alternatives to the Getting Things Done productivity system?

  • Full fledged alternatives that "compete" with GTD

  • Group of smaller systems used together to replace GTD

  • "Simpler" systems

  • Different philosophies that can't coexist with most of GTD's principles

share|improve this question
I can recommend Zen to done. – hellectronic Nov 19 '11 at 20:01
This question is currently being discussed in this meta thread. – jmort253 Dec 7 '13 at 5:40

10 Answers 10

up vote 12 down vote accepted
share|improve this answer
I guess finally they found a productivity system for the One Minute Manager. – Vic Goldfeld Nov 19 '11 at 10:11

This is something I've thought about for a while. I've read GTD, and appreciate the results it brings, but seems too rigid or structured.

I've since found a few suggestions for simplifying GTD or using a different system system altogether:

There's some interesting ideas in the above, I've yet to decide which one to try (first)...

share|improve this answer

Yes, I've designed a system that is far more than a simplification of GTD.

It actually updates the core workflow to reflect the new capabilities of software versus pen and paper.

You can read about it here:

share|improve this answer
Pretty cool, I like your systemic approach! Covers far more ground than productivity systems for some reason usually venture into. – Vic Goldfeld Nov 26 '11 at 10:06
Thanks Vic, I'm open to suggestions for improvement – Joseph Buchignani Nov 28 '11 at 20:14
+1 for innovation. – jurassic Jan 31 '12 at 7:00
Excellent innovative ideas about personal workflow but what's a fast way of entering outlines for you may be slow for another. – nilo de roock May 31 '14 at 9:47

"First Things First" from S. Covey focuses on a weekly view with your goals aside so that you keep the perspective of what really matters. is a web tool that implements that methodology.

share|improve this answer

Total, Relaxed Organization may be what you're looking for. It's a distinct time management system that:

  • Blends GTD principles with Covey and other systems by Linenberger, Forster, etc.
  • Is simpler to follow (for example, no 1-hour weekly reviews)
  • Gives specific instructions for thousands of combinations of productivity tools
  • Tracks its results (time gained, stress reduced, etc.)

(Disclosure: I'm one of the creators of the TRO time management system.)

share|improve this answer

The life coach Mark Forster has developed several time management techniques that are in the same kind of space as GTD. His methods has evolved over the years, and the latest incarnation is called SuperFocus.

share|improve this answer

There are no alternatives to GTD.

David Allen's description of GTD is all encompassing. It is meta. It is the structure upon which all human productivity has depended and will depend on for all eternity. It is the way the brain works. It is the way biology works. It is the way technology and information systems work.

David Allen did not invent GTD. He is a student of GTD and has done a better job at explaining it than most.

Anyone who tells you they have a simpler system for GTD will only present you with a subset of GTD.

share|improve this answer

I've been impressed with this system:

share|improve this answer

I have started using the tools available via

Though not an entire system, it helps me to organize and simplify my task lists, ideas etc. And it is an easily accessible software solution for a brain dump.

share|improve this answer

I have found that a date oriented or week view system works best for me. One that let's me see exactly what I have to do today, tomorrow and so on. This way I don't have to "organize" my tasks in to categories or lists.

The apps below all incorporate this ideology in a simple and elegant matter.

I highly suggest this method for students.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.