Getting Things Done – “GTD” – My Way

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Getting Things Done – How I do it…

One of the biggest issues I have on a daily basis is staying organized.  Often I get hundreds of emails a day plus service requests, phone calls, texts, you name it.  There is always something to do.

I am going to quickly cover how I stay organized using my version of GTD (Getting Things Done).

I suggest reading the book, “Getting Things Done”, by David Allen

Honestly I do not follow the GTD formula exactly as it is laid out in the book, but I think that’s ok.  GTD is different for everyone.

My primary focus is on email and tasks.

Tips for email

  • Keep the inbox clear
  • Use special folders
  • Use email rules to place the emails in the special folders
  • Check the special folders a few times a day

A clear inbox makes for a clear mind.  The only items that I keep in my inbox are critical and need attention now.  The other folders can wait.  If you find something that is important in one of the special folders, drag it out to your inbox.

The key here is by keeping the inbox clean, you are not thinking about each one of the emails that are usually just sitting there.  Thinking to yourself, did I read that email?  Did I take action already?  As you get busier, it will happen more often.. Worry, worry, worry.

Here is an example of my special Outlook email folders:

GTD Mailbox

I use special characters in front of the name or numbers to keep them in the order I would like to use.

  • ! Clients
  • 1 AR
  • 2 Info
  • 3 Vendors

Notice I used an exclamation point to move Clients above AR.

Link How to Setup Outlook Rules



Here are some concepts that I use for my GTD:

  • Is this a task that can be completed in 5 minutes?  Yes, then do it now.  Do not wait.
  • Critical?  Keep it in your inbox until it is completed.
  • Not critical?  Keep it in a special folder and assign it to a scheduled task.
  • Do not think about it again until the scheduled task alerts you.  Keep your mind clear.
  • If you go weeks without doing the task, it probably isn’t important.  Delete the task.

If you find that you are having a difficult time keeping up with items that are not critical, use a GTD app.

My favorite is Nirvanahq.  The standard version is free.

Many people like Todoist.  They also have a free version.

Both Niranahq and Todoist are excellent applications.  Of course, there are many other apps that can be used for GTD.  Some are not specifically designed for GTD, but it is really up to your process and what you feel gives you the best results.

Nirvanahq is specifically built using GTD methodologies, so I suggest you try that one first.

Use the apps to prioritize your tasks, set alerts, categorize (tag) your items.

This was a very brief overview of how I do GTD.  The full GTD concept is much more involved and can be very useful.  Give it a shot, you will feel the stress drift away!


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