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I'm considering spending the $48 per month on the GTD (Getting things done) system advertised by David Allen.

Is this a complete time management and productivity system ?

Do you need to purchase additional software, or pay for additional services ?

I am intending to use it as a complete personal time and goal management system - which I am currently trying to set up.

Does anyone have any experience of this service.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'd start by reading David Allen's book: Getting Things Done. It's only $10 for paperback and there's a Kindle version as well.

Read that first. Chances are you won't find that you need any tools from his company that require a monthly subscription and there are lots of apps and tools that are compatible with GTD because it was intentionally designed to be "tool agnostic".

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I suspect you are looking at the "GTD Connect" subscription. That won't give you a working system. It will give you access to ongoing education about how to be more effective using a GTD system to organize yourself. There are many people who like the continuing education material, and feel it helps them maintain an effective system. There are many others who effectively use GTD without it.

As Adam suggested, start by reading the book. It will tell you what you need to know about how GTD works, and how to set up a system for yourself. Google will also turn up an amazing number of blogs and sites that will help you implement GTD. One suggestion, begin with the lowest-tech implementation you can stand to use. If you can stand to hand write on paper (I can't if there's any way to avoid it) you will learn how to use GTD most effectively with an entirely paper based system. Then move to something with a higher technology as you find a need for it. IMHO starting with a "GTD Application" is going to teach you to rely on the application developer's decisions, not necessarily the GTD approach.

If you really want to spend money to get started, the GTD Implementation Guide from DavidCo (https://secure.davidco.com/store/catalog/GTD-IMPLEMENTATION-GUIDE-LETTER-SIZE-p-16636.php) is pretty good, and more step-by-step than the book. There are also implementation guides for various standard platforms and tools currently available, e.g. iPhone, Outlook, Blackberry, Lotus Notes, Omnifocus, and so on. I haven't seen any of those, no opinion on how useful they might be.

At its root, GTD is "advanced common sense", as David Allen says. Keep a list of the stuff you're committed to doing. Keep a list of the next thing to be done for each of those. Sort that task list ahead of time so you can grab something off it to be done based on your resources right now (if you're not online, no point in seeing a task that requires visiting a web site, for example). And review your lists often enough to be sure things aren't falling through the cracks. Software can help with making the mechanics efficient, but can't automate the decisions you have to make about what you are going to do.

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The genius of GTD is that it can work with anything from a pad of paper and a paper calendar up to highly customizable applications like OmniFocus. Before spending any sum of money, I would read the book and see if the system will work for you. It fits my way of working and approaching work perfectly, but I know friends for whom it was all wrong.

$48 per month is, to me, a sizeable monthly commitment. It might ultimately be worth it to you, but I would spend more time learning about GTD and test-driving it before spending the money.

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I'm considering spending the $48 per month on the GTD (Getting things done) system advertised by David Allen.

I don't know what kind of product you think of. But I learnd the things I know about GTF from a book which was lent to me (I don't remember which it was) and online sources.

Is this a complete time management and productivity system?

It is a toolbox with certain principles, which can be applied partially or as a complete system. However GTD itself does not specify if you use a paper notebook, a collection of text file, a certain app...

This is very well covered by a lot of GTD users: You will find a lot of recommendations on how to use GTD in outlook, evernote, "hipster PDAs" (index card clamped together with a foldback clip).

Do you need to purchase additional software, or pay for additional services?

Most likely not. I don't know if you currently use any software to store data/to do lists or similar. If you like this software, try to google "[software] GTD" to see how people use GTD with this program. You might also want to use a program which works also on your smartphone (if you have one). Also look around in this stackexchange, a lot of questions with the GTD tag will talk about software.

Does anyone have any experience of this service.

I personally did not have to deal with a lot of complex projects at the same time I had to track. But the lessons I learned after reading about GTD are these:

  • collecting tasks in one place is crucial
  • breaking down projects into smaller steps help
  • defining what to do next is important. there has to be a "next task"
  • a weekly review helps in organizing tasks
  • organizing your tasks does not magically complete them. You will still have to do them.
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