David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”
I am in the process of diving in and tearing apart David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” book. I am doing this because it has been beckoning me for about five years from a variety of angles. Just about every website I peruse as I develop “Freedom for the Family” talks about this book and Allen’s system for Getting Things Done. You have probably seen it somewhere as GTD.
An Empty Head
Allen explains that our mind should be used for creating things—not holding things. He is on a quest to help us free our minds and emotions from the burden of trying to remember all that stuff we need to do. His secret: put it all into a trusted system from which you can not only recall it at a moments notice, but organize it all too.
I am a veteran if Stephen Covey’s Time Managment course, and a master of the DayTimer system. As such, I have been intrigued by all the attention given to this book and the methods it offers. This is not a method that relies on or teaches prioritizing your work. It forces you to look at your tasks as projects and then ask revealing questions about the nature of the task and what the appropriate next action should be. It forces you to really think about the whole process in terms of the small actions required to complete, even monumental tasks.
I have begun implementing the suggestions he makes and I gotta tell you, it feels pretty good. Allen is as much about making us feel free, as he is about giving us a system for managing our stuff. While my jury is still out, I can tell you that I will be diligently learning and implementing all aspects of the GTD methods that seem right for me. The system works. The problem is that it was incubated in the 80s and 90s and published in the early 2000s, when there were no cloud storage methods such as DropBox that enabled synchronized storage across devices. For an on-the-go entrepreneur, sharing is vital. We need access to all our stuff, including our to-do lists, everywhere, all the time. The good news is that this is changing, because modern software packages deal with it. I’ll talk about that in a moment.
A Great Fluid Task List
My impetus for diving into this now, is that I have been struggling with my calendar program’s to-do list feature. I love a good, organized, to-do list. If I can have things in categories and set some priorities, then rearrange things as my fluid schedule changes, I can be pretty happy and pretty productive. My current calendar program, BusyCal, which I highly recommend, has a basic to-do list which can be manually sorted, the items are shared, but the sorting is not shared across computers or platforms. I can create a grand to-do list on my laptop, which shows up on my desktop computer—minus the sorted order. Last week, I began looking for alternatives for just the to-do list function and found a bunch of solutions.
There are many applications that work really, really well for creating and managing project lists or to-dos.The two I am looking at are OmniFocus and Things. This month, I will be diving into OmniFocus and will provide a complete review of it when I am finished. So far, I can tell you that it is a pretty deep and pretty rich application. Data entry, used to clear things off your mind and get them into a trusted system, is easy and ubiquitous. It does not matter what you are doing on your computer, a keystroke brings up a panel. Type your thought, hit enter and you’re done. The idea is captured and you are off and running without missing a beat. The very fact that you have written down a thought or a gotta-do gives you the right to forget about it. This is liberating!
Both OmniFocus and Things have been constructed around David Allen’s system so, for me, it is the perfect storm as my need for a better to-do list, Allen’s philosophy and software, all come together pushing my pursuit of the perfect system for managing all the stuff in my life forward. The creators of these software packages, realizing that Allen’s system was created in the pre connected world, have updated, modified and packaged their software to fill in the gaps time has carved. Allen himself seems to support their efforts and recommends their products.
See it in Action!
In our May meet-up we will be discussing the GTD philosophy and demonstrating the OmniFocus software. I hope you will join us. We meet at my home in South Florida and online so our international and non local friends can visit too via Google Hangouts. If you would like to join the mailing list for the meeting notes and announcements, fill out the form below. There are no membership fees and there is nothing to buy. We are just a group of like minded entrepreneurs trying to help one another develop our online business so we can experience Freedom for the Family. Put this on your to-do list for May 10th at 4:00pm Eastern.
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