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Year with GTD – Six Months with GTD and Going Strong

by Steve Fisher on June 19, 2009

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Categories : Smart Working,Year with GTD




It is nearly the end of June and about six months after I started implementing the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. Things are starting to smooth out and it has become natural to use this system once you find your mix of tools and how you can most effectively leverage the system based on your existing behaviors and personality.

As you know, about three months in I was falling off the wagon. I was not really using the system and like all things we try on January 1, it collects dust or is chalked up to another New Years resolution FAIL. However, I was determined to make this process work so I started to simplify things and leverage my three core priniciples:

Principle #1 – Keep Your Contexts SIMPLE

Principle #2 – You can’t automate everything with software

Principle #3 – Do this every day or you will fall off the wagon

Once I integrated this into my daily processes I finally realized the core of what David Allen had been trying to tell me in his book: with everything off your mind and stored, you are free to just be you and enjoy life a little more.

Then I came across this article in GTD Times and added Principle #4: Do a weekly review.

Now weekly reviews are nothing unusual and it is something that Stephen Covey is adimant about doing and he calls it “Sharpening the Saw”.

What I discovered from the article that the weekly review can be a “backup dump” in combination with a review and prep for the week. I am a planner and want to get the most out of my time so I can give the most to the task at hand.

Here are the crib notes from the GTD Times article:

•    Find all loose papers
•    Go through last week of calendar
•    Go through next week of calendar
•    Review projects and action items. Should I add a project for any action item?
•    Am I waiting for anything?
•    Go through Someday/Maybe List
•    Are there any new, wonderful, hare-brained, creative, thought-provoking, risk-taking ideas I can add?

This actually allows me to remove tasks I have already done but not checked off on the system I have set up. It allows me to rework my calendar based on new items I add to the list (usually 10-20 more) to get the most out of the GTD system.

Do I miss a week? Sure. I have some weekends where I just am happy to get to bed at a good hour to get up on Monday morning without being a grouch. If I miss my Sunday I work it in some time on Monday afternoon or evening after work.

Looking at the next six months things hopefully will be smoother and will get even more efficient. In preparation to increase my GTD success I went through this awesome checklist http://gtdmastery100.com/ and found that I scored 32 out of 100 – That is “Adept” in their score. Above Beginner (0-25) and below Warrior (51-75) and Jedi (76-100) it keeps me humble and shows me that I still have a long way to go. It means that if I can follow all those things my efficency and success with GTD will dramatically improve. So my task is to take that score of 32 as close to 100 over the next month and see how things improve.

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    • http://BlueParabola.com/ Keith Casey

      Good call Steve.

      I adopted GTD almost two years ago now and I was *not* good at it. I struggled with it for the first couple months and fell off the wagon a number of times. It's only about that time that I got into the right mind of “write it down”… that nothing counts unless it's either a) done (for 2 minute tasks) or b) on the list.

      And once it's on the list – or in the “later” file with a date to check in – I've found that I can just happily forget about it. My rolling calendar will display it for me when the time comes.

      It's the only way I've retained my little semblance of sanity. ;)

    • Dan

      For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:

      http://www.Gtdagenda.com

      You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
      A mobile version is available too.

    • Dan

      For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:

      http://www.Gtdagenda.com

      You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
      A mobile version is available too.

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