What GTD system do you use? Are you Consistent?

Moleskine notebook and diaries.
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I started reading David Allen’s book on Getting Things Done just over a year ago now. Yes, I finished…It was an eye opening book for me. You should get a copy(or PDF…) and see if it helps you get organized…One of the biggest things I took away from his book was that if you write EVERYTHING down, or in my case put it in Remember the Milk, it does one thing I was unprepared for…It takes away stress. Big time! I was always forgetting things, and stressing that I was forgetting something, which made me forget things… It wasn’t because I had a bad memory. It is because I had(and still have sometimes) so much to remember and concentrate on. One thing I realized is that I was trying to subconsciously remember things that weren’t important to me! Now when I do a weekly review/recap, I have peace of mind in deleting or archiving things that I know I will never do, or have been sitting around for a while. I also have a huge @someday/maybe list. haha. I like to ask myself what the next action step is. That helps keep a task or project on track…

How it started for me was that I had decided I needed to get a better organization system when I changed careers and became a mobile mortgage specialist. I wasn’t in the office anymore. I was always on the road, answers phone calls, meeting people, building a network of contacts and generally getting myself known in the area I served. The problem I came across was how heavily I previously relied on Outlook to remind me of my work obligations. My personal life had no place at my office as well. At least from a remembering stuff to do perspective. I relied on Google Calendar and Gmail to remind me of my personal tasks. I would set a date something was due, or email myself and hopefully achieve it on that day. But that didn’t help with those moments where my fiancee would give me a few errands to run on the way home, or I didn’t have access to a computer. If I didn’t have Google Calendar to key it in and I wasn’t in the office when something would come up for work that I needed to remember, then I scrambled to remember it some other way. Scrap pieces of paper were all over the place.  And, I lost them.

GTD converted this thinking for me. My life is not two or three different and distinct entities. I needed a single reliable place to put everything! I  was attracted to that idea from a personal project a few years back  on getting all my loose paper into an electronic database. I bought a fantastic application for the Mac called Devonthink Pro Office. It is a great application! But it didn’t work as an organizing my current tasks tool. I used to use Omniweb as my main browser for years, and started reading about Omnifocus. They introduced me to GTD! Thanks OmniGroup! At the time I listened to quite a few podcasts. One site that I have followed for a while is 43folders.com by Merlin Mann. I used to listen to him on the Twit podcasts. He has some great ideas on how to become more organized and had mentioned Getting Things Done…

Some of my biggest challenges with keeping on the wagon for me? Remembering to do a weekly review, and giving myself a self-imposed due date for a task when there isn’t one. It’s not so much that I don’t review things, it’s just that I get a few too many irons in the fire, and need to do a better job scheduling the weekly review.  I do miss writing my To Do lists like ‘in the old days’. From my understanding, David Allen doesn’t even use technology to keep himself organized. He uses a notebook. Just the other day, I read how some people use Moleskine notebooks for Getting Things Done! Really cool…I have a Moleskine notebook(or two), and if I didn’t use RTM, I would probably look at this hack…

What system are you using to keep your sanity? Do you think GTD is a good way to stay organized and REALLY get things accomplished? Has anyone used a different system than David Allen’s? What works for you?


5 Replies to “What GTD system do you use? Are you Consistent?”

  1. I use the separation of process steps from GTD (capture, process, etc.) I also use the concepts of @Waiting-for, @Someday/Maybe, and project lists.

    For my main task management system—the one that handles all the tasks you toss into it—I use a different system. I use Superfocus V3 by Mark Forster. It’s simpler than David Allen’s task management system and has a built-in mechanism for forcing you to keep your task list clean over time. That was my one problem with pure GTD; I’d never take the time to do the weekly review, so the system gradually filled up with too large a backlog.

  2. P.S. I have tried every electronic to-do list I could find. I have settled on a pocket-sized, softcover Moleskin notebook and Pilot G-TEC-C 0.25mm tip pen to write with. Especially since Superfocus works smoothly with a written system, the paper book is just far more flexible than the online systems.

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