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where do i start?

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  • where do i start?

    i am trying to figure out where to start implementing the GTD methodologies and I don't seem to be getting very far...

    is the first step to get a group of boxes and start putting everything in the categories of:
    Waiting On

    I've started this, but then sidetracked.... likely I just need to continue along that path.

    My biggest problem is where and how to put the task list together, especially how to organize the subtasks / sub lists.
    I keep making lists and then not keeping that list or location, and then starting another list.
    The completion of tasks seems often to be simply putting out fires as they start or completing tasks because I have no choice.
    In other words, I'm reacting not acting....

    I would really like to find a system and go with it. I'm sure that on some level I just need to stick with a method and keep it going until I see need for tweaks, etc.

    I'm not much for motivational seminars, but it seems like listening to and reading about things related to GTD get some people motivated or inspired..

    Is there a question in here?!
    Oh yah, where do i start?

  • #2
    Buy and read the Getting Things Done book by David Allen.

    Originally posted by gregory85 View Post
    Oh yah, where do i start?
    Buy and read the Getting Things Done book by David Allen.


    • #3
      The iPad has now pretty much taken over as my primary GTD tool.

      OmniFocus for my list manager (areas of focus, projects and next actions, plus checklists and the like)
      Dropbox and Evernote for much of my reference and project-support material (early days with Evernote, but it's looking promising)
      iThoughtsHD for mind mapping (also early days, but looking good so far)
      Mail, Calendar, Contacts and 1Password for...well, you get it...
      Quickoffice for online/offline viewing and editing of word-processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations
      Ignition/LogMeIn for remote access of my other computers

      Hope that helps!


      • #4
        There's many ways to do it. One method is to decide how to organise your system, then follow the GTD book and finish each step completely before moving onto the next. As a previous hoarder, that wasn't practical for me.
        I chose to start with one area of my life - work only, just to get it started, and pick a date from which to start, and everything (emails etc) before that date was to be considered backlog and becomes a separate project on its on. Select a date such that you can reasonably collect, process and organise all of that stuff within a few hours or half a day, and get GTD up and running. Then you start planning your projects and setup your project support and reference. Then you write up what your setup is and how to follow it, and re-read your instructions every day to remind yourself of what you've planned to do. Stay with the one setup for at least two weeks or a month before reviewing and seeing if it needs major changes (like digital versus paper or different apps/software). It takes a while to get the hang of the system, and you should really give it a good test run before modifying your setup.


        • #5
          Get your general reference filing system under control


          I had trouble doing a 100% cut from disorganization to GTD organization. Difficulty is normal. But not, insurmountable. The one biggest help to getting on the GTD wagon for me, was getting my general reference filing system under control. Here is the process I advise new GTDers to follow:

          Separate your office paper into three boxes:

          Box 1: Projects: only live projects.
          Box 2: General reference: might ever have a next action.
          Box 3: Recycle

          If this is too draconian, you can add a 4th box with "maybe" on the outside. Then, fill up the box and keep it in your garage until you realize you don't need it (put a 6 month appointment on your calendar to tickle you).

          This will jettison 80% of the paper from your office. Now you have some room to work.

          I'm a huge fan of for reference filing. Once you have a general reference box filled with paper, you need to scan the papers to PDF, and then enter the PDFs into Evernote where they will be OCRed and become full-text searchable. Now you have some room to work, and you can find stuff quickly and without frustration.

          How to scan?

          You can use your company copiers to scan to file, scan to email (every evernote account has an email address that you can send files to), or you can get a desktop scanner. I love my Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 which scans both sides of the paper in 1 pass, has a 50 page input bin. I converted a 94,000 page file cabinet into Evernote in 1 week with this scanner. I scanned 17,500 pages in 4 days in December 2010.

          Once you have your general reference file in Evernote, you will not have paper clutter in your office. Evernote's Web Clipper and Clearly browser add ins make capturing internet pages and snippets trivial. I have found that evernote is my GTD home base. A home system that is very forgiving to come back to, when I fall off the GTD wagon.

          Hope this helps!

          bill meade