Getting Things Done: A Simple Step-By-Step Guide

Though the basis of GTD are these five simple steps, they’re not always easy to execute. Allen doesn’t even make a case for digital over analog systems. Rather, the key to any lasting productivity system is to keep it as simple as possible and to use it as often as possible.

gtd project planning

When you have an item that needs to be broken down into its constituent actionable steps, you are in the “Project Planning” stage. In Toodledo, you can create a folder for this project and start gtd methodology brainstorming a list of the steps that must be taken to complete the project. For each legitimate task that you encounter, you should determine if you can complete that task in under 2 minutes.

GTD Project Planning Steps

You then need to ask yourself what the next action for this item or project is. This is the next physical, visible thing you can do to further the project. So, for example, “set a budget for a bathroom renovation” is a concrete next action. In the previous stage (capture) you gave no thought to the things you moved to your collection tools. During the “Capture” phase you will get all your “stuff” into one place (your “in-basket”). The first time you do this it should take between 1 and 6 hours and you will most probably have much more “stuff” than can be stacked in an in-basket.

gtd project planning

This is where you store things like documents, letters, tickets, cards, etc. If you spend a lot of time in transit, you may want to think about a mobile setup that lets you get things done even while commuting. Many people lose opportunities to be productive because they are not equipped to take advantage of the time they waste in transit or whenever they are out of the office.

Consolidate your inboxes

For your GTD system to work, you need to build a habit of adding the correct labels to each and every task. The fewer labels you have to choose from, the easier it will be to remember. Now, you can keep your project list clean by collapsing your sub-projects underneath the parent project. For example, while you’re at work, you can keep your work projects in view while your personal projects are hidden and vice versa. These are tasks that take longer than 2 minutes but only require one step.

You can also view all the tasks tagged with a specific label by clicking on the label’s name in the label list to the left of your Todoist. To view a full list of next actions across all your projects, type “@next” into the Quick Find bar at the top of your Todoist. In Todoist, your inbox will be the default place to hold all your inputs until you can organize them.

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You can provide more information in the fields on the right, such as status, due date, and priority. In the task type field, indicate the department responsible for the task, such as Marketing or IT. An integral part of the GTD system is a “collection tool,” i.e., a template to tie them all together. GTD templates are pre-built frameworks that enable you to gather, organize, and prioritize tasks while tracking the progress of each step. To help you find the most suitable task-planning tool, we’ve created a list of the top 10 free GTD templates. We’ll explore their capabilities and show you how to make the most of each.

gtd project planning

For example, if you need specific data to complete a project report and are waiting for a colleague to provide it, you would add that task to your waiting for list. Make sure you conduct weekly team reviews to understand the schedule of their projects and if the workflow is being managed according to the directions given. Wrike enables you to access your project lists in one place with reminders on pending and overdue tasks. This way, you can always remain in the loop with your deadlines as well as overview your outstanding projects or open loops. David Allen advocates for five easy steps that will help you manage your workflow by eliminating any mental distractions that might inhibit your productivity.

Step 5: Engage

When your GTD workflow is set up right, you’ll be able to confidently answer “what should I be working on? ” at any given moment without worrying that you might forget something important you need to do later. You may have jotted down items that represent more than just one task. For example, imagine you got inspiration to create a new ebook, and you added a quick reminder to your Inbox. Creating an ebook takes many steps and involves many stakeholders. So during the Clarify step, break that initiative out into several, separate tasks.

It is also about freeing the mental bandwidth you need to think. You need space (physical and mental) to be creative and innovative. However, when that space is cluttered with too many details and stuff you don’t have the space to be creative or innovative. The GTD program will help you free your mind and your workspace so that you are optimally available to deal with any issue in your life.

Click the cell to the right under Task Subject and enter a description. Click the Date Due cell and enter a date for the task to be completed. In the Notes section, add any helpful details about the task. This template comes preformatted with sample data, but is fully customizable and ready to track your own tasks. This way, when you’re ready to start the task or project, you’ll have all of the information you need close at hand. One of the core tenets of GTD is to get tasks out of your head and into your external system the moment they come to you.

  • She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.
  • They are constantly on your mind whether you are aware of it or not.
  • You should do these tasks right away because the time it takes to record and manage these types of tasks is longer than the time it takes to just do them.
  • This will ensure you have a place to jot down random thoughts and to take advantage of any time you have.
  • During the “Capture” phase you will get all your “stuff” into one place (your “in-basket”).
  • Use it appropriately to organize your plans and prioritize your to-dos to make them manageable so that you can work through them stress-free.

Create a task for “Outline ebook,” a task for “Review outline,” a task for “Draft ebook,” etc. Before you can organize your work, you first need to capture it—in a place outside of your brain. David Allen calls this your Inbox—regardless of what tool you’re using.

This is where you put items that you are not sure you ever want to do, but maybe someday you’ll think about them again. For example, you may want to climb Mt Everest, but not anytime soon. In Toodledo, you can set the priority of a task to be “Negative (-1)”.

gtd project planning