Getting Things Done (GTD), an organizational work-life managament system created by productivity consultant David Allen, provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress free productivity.

It rests on the principle that a person needs to move tasks out of the mind by recording them externally. That way, the mind is freed from the job of remembering everything that needs to be done, and can concentrate on actually performing those tasks.

It helps manage commitments, information, and communication. It is the result of many years of consulting services, private coaching, training, and organizational programs with millions of people internationally.

GTD enables greater performance, capacity and innovation. It alleviates the feeling of overwhelm, instilling focus, clarity and confidence. Step by step it will learn how to:

  • Capture anything and everything that has your attention and concern
  • Define actionable things into concrete next steps and successful outcomes
  • Organize information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access them
  • Keep current and “ahead of the game” with appropriately frequent reviews
  • How to keep track of the bigger picture while managing the small details

So, how does GTD work?

Powerpoint style, you iterate through the following list:

  • Identify all the stuff in your life that isn’t in the right place (close all open loops)
  • Get rid of the stuff that isn’t yours or you don’t need right now
  • Create a right place that you trust and that supports your working style and values
  • Put your stuff in the right place, consistently
  • Do your stuff in a way that honors your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment
  • Iterate and refactor mercilessly

So, basically, you make your stuff into real, actionable items or things you can just get rid of. Everything you keep has a clear reason for being in your life at any given moment—both now and well into the future. This gives you an amazing kind of confidence that a) nothing gets lost and b) you always understand what’s on or off your plate.

Also built-in to the system are an ongoing series of reviews, in which you periodically re-examine your now-organized stuff from various levels of granularity to make sure your vertical focus (individual projects and their tasks) is working in concert with your horizontal focus (side to side scanning of all incoming channels for new stuff). It’s actually sort of fun and oddly satisfying.

What are some handy resources?

Be sure to consult the books by David Allen if you plan to learn this.

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