Contexts are forever a sticking point for new adopters of Getting Things Done (GTD), but they are also an extremely popular discussion point for long-time practitioners, including myself. They are highly personal and dependent on your daily routines, hardware, software, lifestyle, personality, company policies, and hair color. And that means there are just as many variations on how to use them.
As part of a new project that will be released in a few weeks, I recently reread Getting Things Done by David Allen. I found it interesting that David hasn’t changed his tune when it comes to information overload. Despite a dramatic increase in technology and the volume of inputs as compared to the original writing, he still advocates for the same capture mechanisms and clarification process.
When I started with GTD five years ago, I was certain it was the missing piece to my mental overwhelm puzzle. It was the five-step framework that would keep me from procrastinating and give me the motivation to accomplish everything to which I kept saying yes.
The longer I practice GTD principles, the more intentional I try to be with the time I spend updating my systems. I need my commitments to be thought through and my decisions to be made ahead of time. Knowing that I am prone to starting new projects before I have time for them leads me to a need for a recurring time of reevaluation.
It’s been a while since I’ve shared my entire GTD structure. And now that I’m rereading the book, I figured it would be a good idea to share what I’m currently doing before it changes.
Hobbies are great candidates for GTD. With all the commitments we tend to take on, free time to spend on our hobbies can be elusive. That means it’s helpful to have a system in place that keeps track of where we were and what comes next.
To be honest, I struggled with this article. I wanted to write it but wasn’t sure how to convey what I was thinking. GTD has helped me as a man more than I realized but the impact has been implicit, not obvious.
One of the greatest things a dad will ever hear is the sound of his kids squealing in joy while they play games together. It’s energizing and pure pleasure to see the delight and sparkle in their eyes as they ask to “do it again!” Those are the memories that we hope to multiply.
I find it easy to let my marriage slide. We love each other so it should come naturally, right? Roses every Valentine’s, daily love notes, and genuine conversations each night. If that’s second-nature to you, I envy you.
It never fails. I’ll be mowing the lawn or riding my bike and that’s when it hits me. There’s nothing I can do about it. I wish it would leave me alone until I could do something about it, but there I am; trying to figure out how I’m going to write those lines down.
Most of the time when I’m discussing GTD with a friend or online it’s in the context of getting more work done more efficiently. I agree that this is the easy target for the framework; our jobs and the work we do each day are the most pressing and stressing in our lives. We need as much help as we can get to stay on top of it.
A quick overview of how I see the higher Horizons of GTD and why they are important. Also, I talk about why I think our babysitter is awesome.
Before I got into OmniFocus, I used Evernote for GTD. I had a few different structures, but I think I ended with a simple setup that worked well for me before I outgrew it.
If you go through a job change, you’ll need to change your GTD contexts. I walk you through my recent job transition and what I did to determine my new contexts.
When I was getting started with GTD (Getting Things Done), I wondered what a week looked like for someone who used it. I never found anything along those lines and I recently had a week where I flexed it pretty hard. So I decided to give you a snapshot into my crazy week and see my GTD system in action.
For a long time, I kept my active Next Actions in Omnifocus and my potential (someday/maybe) actions in Evernote. It worked, but it felt a bit cluttered so I moved it all into Omnifocus.
I’ve always struggled with the contexts portion of GTD. I’ve tried tools, locations, energy levels, times of the day, mindsets, and on and on.
An inbox can be your mailbox, your email inbox, and even a physical tray. But those aren’t the only places that stuff lands.
There are a lot of articles about setting up GTD. But I don’t see many that show what a typical day looks like when you adopt the framework.
Deciding what to work on can be simple – it doesn’t have to be stressful. GTD can help you make the decision quickly and easily.
The Weekly Review is the most important part of the GTD process. Without it, you’ll have loose ends and you’ll no longer trust your system.
A lot of people write things down but fail to do anything with it afterwards. It just dies on the paper. Why write it down if you’ll never look at it again?
Capture is the process of collecting ideas and actions. You’re accumulating task items, reference material, or even trash and putting them in an inbox of some kind.
Why do we think we can manage our lives with only our memory? It’s certainly flawed. It doesn’t even remind us of what we need when we need it. It waits until we’re in bed and can’t do anything about it.
Using David Allen’s definition, a project is anything that requires more than one action to complete. This can range from building a new web application to replacing the refrigerator filter.
OmniFocus is a powerful tool designed to follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I go into the details of GTD here but the simple version is that it’s a method of getting things out of your mind and into a trusted organizational system. The main purpose is to free up your mind to have ideas, not hold them.