Newbie: your BEST tip please


I don’t know whether you’re allowed to do this from a security point of view, but can you look into having your clients calendar feed out as an overlay into your personal calendar? My work is based in office 365, and I’ve been able to sync that calendar to my ICal by using the “subscribe” function. That way, I can choose on ICal whether to turn on/off the view that includes my work appointments, and thus have the option of seeing everything in a single view.

So that could be a project or a someday maybe: “Investigate syncing client calendars to master calendar”?

everybody here is right though about the weekly review. It’s when you get to spend 1-2 hours a week being a Field Marshall instead of a Private!

and if ever you feel overwhelm by looking at the number of projects and actions on your lists, consider the alternative of trying to keep all that in your head (!!!!) That’s where most people on the planet are putting those details. Everybody is keeping lists of their commitments, whether they like it or not. The real question is: where are you keeping them, and is it the best place? By having all your actionable and non actionable items out of your head, you get the freedom to write them down once, and then let go until you need to be reminded or review them. The alternative of keeping them in your head means that your brain is constantly writing and re-writing and re-writing them as it spins in short term memory.

So you’re on the right track!
Hi Peter, thanks for your tips. I’ve got a ’reasonable’ work around for my Business Outlook issue. I’ve opened a personal Outlook account and when appts are booked in my work calendar, I forward them to my personal address. It’s not ideal, but I forward them, accept them and then my client meetings appear in my personal calendar. As I said, not ideal, but a decent workaround for the time being and enables me to keep track on my ‘master’ personal account.

Yes, I totally agree with your info about keeping lists of commitments in short term memory. It has been exhausting me. Until I started writing them down I really had no idea how many things I was trying to remember, and now that I’ve written them down (but can’t action them yet) I’ve at least got the tangible sense that I have some ‘clear’ space in my head to actually ‘think’ which is great. I like the feeling of not frantically worrying that I’ve forgotten something because I’ve put it on my huge list, so now I need some time to process them effectively. Bit by bit eh?


I would definitely recommend tinkering with your calendar system until it works. The calendar is a critical part of GTD and, personally, working off of mutliple calendars would make my head explode. Whether that means forwarding or setting up a syncing system, you need a single trusted place for your day/time-specific commitments.
Yes, it IS doing my head in. It’s part of being a small business owner (sole trader) and being contracted by various companies who will only communicate with me via THEIR systems. They create me an email account so I can represent their company with certain clients and I can then log in to their systems / shared drives / Teams and Outlook Calendar etc.

It’s a pretty common practice so my name then just becomes an address on the ‘global’ or ‘sectional’ emailing lists, rather than remembering to add me to correspondence. So yes, it means I have three companies to check through, thankfully all using Outlook via Office 365. YES, my head IS exploding. Business Outlook does not play nicely when trying to share a calendar to an address ‘outside’ the organisation, so I’ve opened a private Outlook email and now forward my appointments from each calendar to my personal address, or if I make an appointment I copy my personal address in the Invitation, so ALL appointments are sent to my personal (and now Master) calendar. It’s not ideal, and I really don’t like there to be cracks for things to potentially slip through, but it is the best solution I can come up with that works within these constraints. (Insert exploding head here).


When you feel the most overwhelmed, that's when you need a weekly review the most. Your instinct may be to tackle specific work, but your mind is thinking about what isn't getting done and worrying about it. Completing a review allows your mind to rest in the knowledge that you've made a deliberate choice to work on something and are fine with that decision as opposed to jumping on whatever is screaming the loudest for your attention.
Thanks Thomas, it’s good to know that it will get better. I’m a bit stuck in the beginner stage where it feels counter-intutive to stop and try to learn a system when I could be using that time to actually do some of the urgent stuff on my list. I KNOW on some level I have to stop and plan to be more effective, but it just feels so wrong at the moment. Hoping that will lift soon as I start to see my ‘completed’ list.

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Thanks John, I’ve captured such a ridiculously long list things I’m not really relieved just yet as the list is huge, but I am amazed at how much energy I was expending holding (or trying to hold) that much stuff in my head. I’m steadily sorting through it ....
Hi Louise,

One reason people initially feel grief after a mind sweep is that, consciously or unconsciously, they are telling themselves it's a to do list. It's not. It's a collection of "stuff" that you've captured. That's great, and it's only step one of the five steps of GTD workflow. Next is the clarify step, or as you said, "steadily sorting through it." During that step, there may be many items that get trashed or incubated. The result is that the to do list(s) may be much smaller than the orginal collection of stuff appeared. And when the actionable items are organized (step three) into context lists, more relief can show up, because you're only looking at the things you can act on. Keep at it, and thanks for sparking this discussion.


LouiseGTD, I love your name . . . very elegant. I would suggest practice not thinking/seeing anything you don't want to more than once . . . twice at the most . . . thrice and I'm flipping tables. Be HAPPY either "Writing" with YOUR Easiest/Favorite medium for your Favorite(s) Inbox (Please do yourself a favor and avoid my mistake of going nuts with too many Inboxes!) for Clarifying/Processing or Do it especially using the Two-Minute rule as guide. Keep working the GTD methodology by continuously asking each of the Five-Steps "how can I make this easier and more enjoyable . . . if your humbly feeling like smarty pants then your on the right track: Capturing, Clarifying, Organizing, Reflecting, Engaging" . . . like being a GTD Easierologist and Enjoyerologist . . . it's your life, why not? As John expressed being Cool-&-Patient with yourself is a great catalyst for getting up to speed. Last but not least use calendar only for what is absolutely going to be used that day . . . excessive calendar renegotiating can be a real time / energy waster. Hope that helps


Welcome @LouiseGTD !

I have been using GTD for several years. A couple things! I remember how completely overwhelmed I was when I started. My list was .... long. And somehow capturing everything felt fabulous. To keep things current, here is what helped me:

- the weekly review is GOLD. Don't miss that. It's the best part of the system
- if possible, find someone to do this with you. This forum is awesome and there are some great Facebook groups on GTD, weekly reviews, etc.
- be open to tweaking your system; if something isn't working, don't be afraid to try something new
- once a (fill in the blank - month, quarter, whatever works for you) do a mind sweep. It's remarkable to me how much I think of, even doing weekly reviews, when I dedicate some time to the mind sweep.
- reread the book periodically. I have read GTD several times (hard copy and Audible) and I always learn something new.

Make sure to check out the resources available here!
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