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Getting Things Done - a PSA

Every week when I think about a potential blog post there are so many ideas that come to mind sometimes it's hard to choose. One of those recurring thoughts is to share a very valuable "life resource" with you. I follow many blogs & podcasts and a few months ago through the "Beyond the To Do List" podcast I learned about a little book called "Getting Things Done" by David Allen.  Actually, I kept hearing the reference "GTD" and the "GTD system" that finally I just HAD to look it up.

This book isan extremely valuable resource not just for getting things done, but for streamlining your work process and get things off your mind. I figured getting back to work after having our first baby would be the perfect time for me to learn more about it. So I went to the library and devoured it within a few weeks. (I only had to renew it once - c'mon I had a 4 month old at the time!) I kept laughing at the irony of me reading about "getting things done" instead of actually just getting things done... but I knew this would transform my habits and so I wanted to learn about it before getting back into the swing of things. 

The tips & methods he details for processing information have been insanely helpful. One of the things I often felt when things got busy was that there were so many "moving parts" it was hard to keep track of the loose ends. His tips for "closing the loops" in our minds have been so valuable I've really felt inspired to adopt this system for both my design projects and my personal life. So now I feel that I should return the favor and tell everyone about it! How did I not know about this sooner?!?

So here is a link to the book and website, and below are a few of my favorite parts of the GTD system. 
gettingthingsdone.com 

 

1- Email processing

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I love his tips for creating @Action, @WaitingFor, Read/Review and Reference folders. They really help keep things organized and make sure I am not forgetting anything. I am still working towards an empty inbox but I've enjoyed processing my emails with his tips. And since I use Gmail for work, it's easy for me to tag emails directly from my sent mail so I don't forget to follow up with people I've contacted! 

 

2- Master Project List

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Here's where my "too many moving parts" problem was solved. I don't know if working from home made this worse but I had this perpetual thought pattern every time I walked through the house of all the things we needed to get done. Then I'd look at my emails, open design projects and always try to assess what needed to get done next. It was becoming a perpetual mess! By having a master project list I am able to keep an inventory of every single aspect of my life, both work and personal so I can assess the use of my time holistically. If we're planning an event at home, it takes actual time from my life and I need to take actionable steps to achieve it just like a would I client project. Which leads me to the next favorite...

 

3- Action Items

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Splitting up a task or job by actionable items might sound like a no brainer, or maybe even a waste of time for those smaller tasks, but his idea of breaking things up by Action (emails, calls, errands, agendas, etc) has been a really helpful way for me to manage my to-do's. I'm still slowly adapting to this because I used to always organize my lists by job and it feels weird to separate them. But ultimately I do agree this makes a lot of sense and will be beneficial to view all my to-do's holistically. 

 

So what do you think?

Have you already heard about GTD? Have you been using the system, or like me wish you had discovered it sooner? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I hope you found this post helpful. 

 

Cheers, 

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