Dec 20, 2010

How I'm using GTD (Getting Things Done) during the holidays

If you are not familiar with the GTD methodology, then I suggest you read David Allen's book "Getting Things Done". GTD is a simple, yet powerful method to de-clutter your mind and get control of your life. On the whiteboard in my office I have written 4 bullet points that I gleaned from my study of David's amazing process. They are as follows: 
  1. Pay attention to what has your attention
  2. Decide outcomes desired and actions required
  3. Free your psych with a trusted system
  4. Share these ideas
These four simple instructions are what I try to live my life by.  If I think about what is going on in my life right now, I am very tuned in to the upcoming holiday season.  So if you were to ask me what has my attention, I would say getting ready for Christmas.  That is what I am paying attention to.

Moving on to statement number two, I have determined that there are several outcomes that I would like to make happen.  One that comes to mind is to purchase gifts for my spouse and children that they will enjoy and find useful.  The actions required to make this happen are many.  First, I need to get a list from each of them to see what their gift expectations are.  Then I will need to make a list of the events that I know they will be involved in over the coming months.  I must then try to determine if any of the gifts that they have listed can add value to any of the activities that I have identified.  Their list may or may not contain anything that will fulfill the outcome that I desire.  This will require me to go shopping at the mall armed with the knowledge that I have and hope that I stumble upon an acceptable gift for each of them.

My thought process will generate many ideas and actions.  That is where the third instruction comes into play.  During the holiday season it is very easy to get overwhelmed with everything that you need to get done.  Having a trusted system that will hold all of your thoughts is imperative to keeping your sanity.  I use Evernote to capture everything that I need to remember.  That helps me keep my sanity and not lose track of the good ideas that I come up with.  Evernote is my trusted system.  It is free and I would suggest that if you try it, you will find that it will become your trusted system too.

The final instruction on my whiteboard is to share the GTD process with others.  By sharing or talking about the process with others it allows me to reach a deeper understanding of the process and learn new ways to incorporate it into my day to day life.

I hope that I have sparked your interest to learn more about the GTD process.  This is my Christmas present to each of you.  I hope that one of your next actions will be to purchase "Getting Things Done" from and to download the free version of Evernote.  Happy Holidays!


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