THE GTD FRAMEWORK

GTD Framework

The GTD framework is an organizing methodology that primarily uses to-dos .

GTD? Sounds rather obscure, doesn’t it? Well, it is not.

GTD is nothing but “Getting Things Done”. Simple, but holds enough power to make your life a lot more organized and relaxed.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GTD FRAMEWORK?

The Getting Things Done (GTD framework) is a structured way of planning and coordinating your life, in a way that ensures productivity and efficiency. Now, you are probably thinking that such a clichèd phrase wouldn’t make your life any easier. But it will! If you faithfully follow the GTD methodology, framed by David Allen. To put it simply, GTD framework will help you get things done, both at home AND work.

 Yes, every single thing, from walking your dog to finishing that one elusive project. 

Magic? Nope, just detailed organizing and planning. 

In essence, the GTD is a tool that assists you with micro managing, being in control of your life and thereby, staying at the top of your game. 

WHY DO WE NEED GTD?

Your brain is cluttered, and that’s a fact. Ever feel like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode with all the information crammed in? Losing focus from this constant buzz in your head that just won’t go away? Yeah? That’s your stress. 

This is where the GTD theory comes in, because it does nothing best than clearing your mind and reducing stress. Talk about a buzzkill, haha! The Getting Things Done framework is all about emptying your brain and transferring your ideas, tasks and assignments on paper. 

In a way, it is a no-nonsense to-do list that means business!

 Moreover, it is alleged that over a hundred thousand companies have incorporated the GTD framework into their work policies with several CEOs testifying with their success. 

HOW TO USE GTD?

By following a complicated, thousand step regimen? No. 

It is a simple five-step process. Five. Let me walk you through the steps.

STEP 1: CAPTURE

The first step literally means “capturing” all that you need to or want to do. To do this,

  • Capture all your ideas, tasks, projects, to-dos, commitments, etc. and trap them in an external object, that is not your brain. 
  • Put them down on paper, or make a list on your laptop, or even make a slideshow. It is entirely up to you.

This is your in list. Once you have done this, your brain will ideally feel freer, acquire better clarity, and be less chaotic; which makes you ready for the next step.

STEP 2: PROCESS

Processing entirely focuses on dealing with the ideas and to-dos that you have put down. For successful processing, ask yourself if the idea or to-do item that you have captured, is actionable i.e. can you act on it? It goes something like this:

Is it actionable?

  • If YES

Can you complete it in two minutes or less?

    • < 2 min = Go ahead, do it. For example, calling the doctor’s office for an appointment.
    • > 2 min = Put it in an “actions” list, scheduling it. Ex. Applying for a new job
  • If NO, you can
    • Trash it.
    • Keep it as a reference, for future use.
    • Put it in the someday/maybe list.

So, each of the information or ideas in your captivity needs to be processed this way.

I bet that you will feel more in control, satisfied after doing this.

STEP 3: ORGANIZE

Here is where your ideas and to-dos are categorized, labeled, and tagged appropriately. Fundamentally, there are three categories under which your “actions” can be classified, they are:

  • Projects – Large actions that require many small actions for completion.
  • Time-related – Actions that are chiefly influenced by time. This includes actions that need to be completed on time, where time is the crucial factor such as birthdays, deadlines; and actions where we are waiting for others to complete their tasks so that we can do ours. The latter list can be conveniently labeled as the “waiting for” list.
  • Context-based – Similar actions that share some common elements can go into the context category. For instance, the list of people you need to reply to can be put under a single “context” list.

While organizing actions might appear simple enough, they can be a little frustrating

 It is important to organize with the utmost diligence in a way that you will be comfortable with. Taking into consideration the next possible action would be the best course of action to complete this step. 

Organizing will definitely help you function better and focus on each action properly. Though basic, this step is the most vital one.

STEP 4: REVIEW

Reviewing helps you keep track of things, and lets you know in which direction your life is headed. In addition, reviewing is also useful for prioritizing actions and making necessary changes. For successful reviewing, try this:

  • Review periodically, say every week; and review your progress towards your goals, monthly.
  • Look through your Trigger words – These are nothing but keywords that help you remember the things that you didn’t add to one of your lists. Ex. Boss, colleague, blue file, etc. It would be wise to add them as you remember

Weekly reviews are a “critical factor for success”, admits David Allen himself. Therefore, going over your lists and tracking changes, unmistakably reveals your progress or decline.

STEP 5: ENGAGE

Ready. Set. GOOOO!

    • Focus
    • Act
    • Cross the list
  • EXECUTE

This is the step where all your detailed planning becomes action. It is the “it-step” that goes a long way in making you successful in whatever area you choose. 

So, what are you waiting for? Look at what needs to be done, and get hustling!

RECAP:

1. CAPTURE

  • Put down your to-dos
  • Make an “in list”

2. PROCESS

Is it actionable?

Yes

      > 2 min = “Actions” list

      < 2 min = Do it

No

  • Trash
  • Archive
  • Someday/Maybe list

3. ORGANIZE

3 types of actions:

  • Projects
  • Time-related
  • Context-based

Keep in mind the “next possible action”

4. REVIEW

  • Review periodically, every week
  • Use Trigger words

5. ENGAGE

Act. Don’t think.

  • Just do it