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Tips for Starting GTD

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  • Tips for Starting GTD

    I just read GTD and I must admit, I am excited about implementing the program in my life. However, I have about a month or two befeore I can take the two days and do the Collecting and processing actions. Is there anything I can do in the meantime to get started, as I need to start seing results immediately? I have am a director of a training program and I have my own I need to desperately implement something. Would love to hear some ideas.



  • #2
    I am also doing an on-the-fly conversion, and got the most value out of converting To-Do Lists to the suggested bins of:

    - Projects
    - Context-specific Next Actions
    - Waiting For
    - Calendar
    - Someday/Maybe

    and then always having with me a subset of about 50 Next
    Actions in context-specific lists. That's actually as far as I've
    gotten! (I do do a sort of Weekly Review...)


    • #3
      Start learning and practicing the workflow flowchart on anything new that enters your life. At least that way you will not be adding to the piles that need to be processed when you get your two day window of opportunity; and, you will begin to master the skills necessary for full GTD implementation.



      • #4

        Here's my suggestion regarding how to get a quick start implementing GTD, in a easy, low tech way. Get an In/Out tray. Create the following file folders, and put them in a "ascending" wire rack on your desk (within reach w/out moving your chair).

        Errands - Work
        Errands - Home
        Someday / Maybe
        Waiting For

        Put a list at the beginning of each folder (I suggest putting multiple lined pages inside one of those report covers-- you know the ones with a colored "spine" that slips on, and clear acetate covers the front and back. . . the ones that back in middle school you'd use to make a mediocre book report look like an "A" ). Note that for Agenda, you'll want multiple lists inside the folder (e.g., a page for Staff Meeting, for the names of your direct reports, your boss, etc.)

        Follow the processing flow chart in DA's book when processing any new "stuff." If it's a letter you receive that you need to make a phone call about, you can record "Call so and so" along w/ the date you made the entry on your Calls list, and tuck the letter in the file folder (assuming you'll need to refer to it on the phone when you make the call). Any outcome you find yourself committing to that will take more than one action step to be "done" should go on your Projects list (if you've read the book, you likely know the drill). For any projects that you have hardcopy items for, I suggest adding to your filing cabinet files that begin with PROJ (followed by project name, e.g., "PROJ Marketing Presentation"). You can also create a Projects folder on your C drive w/ a folder dedicated to each project, as well as sub folders in your email, all filed under PROJECTS.

        If you get a ton of email, you can mirror the next actions file folders you created in your email. You may still wish to "log" the items on your hardcopy list to stay consistent.

        Finally, when you've got the time, check out the demo of the Outlook Add-In. I highly recommend it for getting command of your email. I've been using the trial version for a couple of weeks now, and for the first time in 5 years I've been able to manage my email from a "zero base", consistently. It's an amazing and liberating feeling!

        I believe you've found the right system-- it's just a matter of implementing it and staying consistent. Good luck!



        • #5

          Thanks for the advice peeps! Organizing the new stuff is a great idea. And then I can just start adding everything into the current system. Maybe I'll be done by the time I get my two days. Also, I started the Outlook plug in last night...and I got through a considerable amount of email.

          Now I need to figure out how to run my home system and my office system. What needs to stay home and what needs to stay at the office. Do I need to calendars, to seperate general filing systems, etc



          • #6
            Starting GTD - Home vs Office

            You will probably need to keep your filing separate, since there is likely to be very little overlap between files and there may be privacy or confidentiality concerns at either end.

            However, I would strongly encourage you to keep ONE calendar, ONE set of NA lists, ONE project list, etc. Otherwise, you will need to keep both sets available at all times, and will need to refer to both of them constantly. For example, you may want to run a personal errand during your lunch hour (or on the way to a client meeting), or you may have business and personal errands in the same place or area.




            • #7
              Get Started

              I've been doing GTD for about 18 months and I still havent done that 2 day collecting and processing thing! I doubt I ever will.

              My advice: dont wait until you have things all lined up to get started! Do it with the next phone call, email, or piece of paper (ready-fire-aim).

              Dont think its all or nothing. I'm definitely not 100% with GTD (or anything else in my life) but its made a HUGE difference.

              To quote the famous philosopher, Jerry Lewis. Its about 90% half mental.