GTD – Getting Things Done, the productivity process by David Allen, is a powerful, yet incredibly simple, system to reduce stress in your life, get organized, and increase your productivity. There are 5 basic steps to the GTD process, Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Doing. I highly recommend you get the book, but here it is in a nutshell (but really, get the book!)
Pay attention to what is grabbing your attention, Empty your head
When those nagging little thoughts keep popping up, you can’t focus on the job at hand. Thoughts like “oh, yeah, I have to pick up milk on the way home”, “Kiddo has a recital at 7 tonight”, “dangit, I was supposed to get that proposal to Bob an hour ago”. Instead of doing what you are supposed to be doing right now, you are stressing over the things you have to do, remember, and what you already forgot. Find a system that works for you to COLLECT this junk and get it OUT of your head. For some, its simply a notepad that is never out of reach, others use apps on their phones or computers. There is no right or wrong way to collect, as long as you find something you use consistently. Once you trust that system, you won’t be stressing over those thoughts because you know the moment you have one, it will be on that collection list, and therefore wont be forgotten.
Make decisions when things show up, not when they blow up
Your collection list is like your inbox – you have process those items and decide where they go next. Take care of the little things, get them done and off the list. Delegate what’s not yours
The system suggests ways to organize your info – someday lists, action, ‘tickler’ files. The point is to get these things where they belong and get them back out again at the right time and place. Calendars are one of the organization points. If you have to do something on a specific day and it isn’t on a calendar, then you have to worry about missing it when that day comes around.
Keep current and “ahead of the game”
Regular schedule of reviewing calendars, folders, lists ensures you aren’t missing anything, and helps you to ‘tweak’ your process.
Notice how you choose to spend your time, Make trusted choices
And of course, DO those things. Get them done, off the list, and continually evaluate your process of doing to make sure the important stuff is getting done and on time.