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5 Steps To Getting Things Done: The GTD Method

Getting Things Done (also know as the GTD method) is a self-management method developed by David Allen. In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Allen writes about the 5 Steps To Getting Things Done, in which you record all your tasks in to-do lists. This method has helped people be more productive and less stressed.

5 steps to getting things done

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5 Steps To Getting Things Done

1. Capture

The first thing you need to do is figure out your method for writing down your tasks. For me, I have a document on my computer, a notepad in the kitchen, a notepad in the shower, and a notes section on my phone. These are my outlets for when I need to jot something down.

Then, start writing! Write down every task you can think of no matter how small. Get it all out of your head, so you can figure out how to process it.

2. Clarify

The next step is to review your list and decide if each item is actionable. If it is, you will organize it in the next step. If it’s not, you need to decide whether to trash it or save it for the future.

3. Organize

Now you need to decide where things belong. I have a document on my computer that is broken down into four sections. The first section is a list of things I will always need to do or plan. This list includes: work schedule, gym schedule, family activities, meal planning, cleaning, and bible study time. I reference this list every week as I plan out my schedule.

The next section includes big tasks that will take more time and need to be broken down further. For example, when I decide to redecorate my daughter’s bedroom, there will be a lot of little tasks that go into that.

Then I have a section for smaller tasks that don’t have much direction yet. An example would be cleaning and organizing the guest bathroom. There’s not a ton I want to do in there besides tidy it up, so I may or may not have other items to think about when I decide to do that task.

Lastly, is my list of one and done items. This would include things like, looking up new interest rates for my school loan or sending my friend that recipe she wanted. Once you have all your sections complete, it will be easier to see what you have time for and how to go about it.

4. Reflect

Review your to-do list on a regular basis. I have my document on my computer pulled up at all times. It’s important to review and update your list on a daily or weekly basis, so you can stay on track. And remember to only cross off items when they’ve been completed.

5. Engage

The last step is to decide what tasks should be done next. Use these four things to help you:

  • Context – What makes most sense?
  • Time available – How much time do I have for my next task?
  • Energy available – What can I do next given my current energy level?
  • Priority – Which task is most important?

Getting Things Done is a method that works, but I know it’s not designed for everyone. My advice is to give it a try and tweak it to fit your needs. If it’s still not working, then it’s probably not for you.

Also remember, any new plan is going to take some time. If you aren’t in the habit of making lists and organizing things in your life, it’s going to be a little more difficult. But if making a positive change and being more productive is something you want to do, I encourage you to make the time and develop a plan.

Have you tried this approach? Or do you have a different approach that works well for you? I would love to hear about your goals and plans, so leave a comment below!

Related posts:

15 Clever Ways to Organize a Small Bedroom

A Realistic Cleaning Schedule That Actually Works

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