GTD: A Productivity System For All Areas Of Life

Getting Things Done

by Shamsul
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GTD: A Productivity System for All Areas of Life


If you always delay your appointments, important tasks, and commitments, then you are the ideal person for the GTD – Getting Things Done self-management system.

What is the GTD Method?

Basically, GTD is a productivity and time management system. This system is really helpful for those who always forget about their upcoming appointments or feel astounded by all their commitments. This self-management system helps to meet commitments and complete your daily tasks in an easy and efficient way. It involves a wonderful system of calendars and lists. The basic thing in GTD is to write down all your upcoming tasks and commitments so that you won’t forget anything. You won’t feel any type of stress of remembering any of your upcoming tasks because you have already written them. It also aids to recall constantly, which gives your mind a sense of peace. As a result, you will see improvement in your sleeping pattern and everyday dealing.

With the Getting Things Done method, you can easily complete your tasks on time. Your mind can focus better and you will feel relaxed. In this method, you convert your large tasks into smaller ones and set particular deadlines as well. Regular follow-up will keep you on track and it also shows your strengths and weaknesses. So, you can make improvements as a person for achieving your tasks.

David Allen (a productivity consultant in the US) developed this system. He presented this method in his book named “Getting Things Done.” The book has got popularity internationally and gained millions of followers.

Definition of Getting Things Done (GTD):

GTD (Getting Things Done) is a self-management system, developed by David Allen in 2001. In this method, you write all your tasks, commitments, and personal dealings on a paper in the form of a to-do list. You don’t require to put extra energy into recalling these tasks, which makes your mind stress-free. So, your mind can focus on other things that you always wanted to do. The main benefit of this method is that it enhances your productivity level.

5 Steps of the Getting Things Done Method:

Getting Things Method is based on 5 important steps. Here we will take a deep look at these five steps,

1- Capture:

First of all, collect all your ideas, appointments, and everyday tasks in inboxes. Whether physical or non-physical form, you can collect these tasks in any form. But, make sure that it must be in written form. You can use analog and digital boxes like OneNote, email inbox, vertical filing, or physical trays systems. Keep in mind that this method takes some time to arrange your tasks. After successfully making an inbox, you can effortlessly add future tasks within a few minutes.

2- Clarify:

You must review and process no matter what you have added in your inboxes. It helps to arrange things without any effort. For each task or goal, ask yourself the following questions,

  • What type of task is it?
  • Is it doable?
  • What is the next move?

If a task is not actionable or important, you can choose the following options,

  • Trash it.
  • Archive it.
  • Put it on the maybe list.

3- Organize:

Initially, add all important tasks in the temporary trays and process them directly from there.


Just enter important appointments in the calendar. Add important tasks that you want to complete to the Next Actions’ list. You can also break down these tasks into smaller subtasks.


In the GTD method, a task that needs more than one action is called a Project. Whether it’s a campaign for a new product or home renovation, you can put all of your important projects on this list. You can review them regularly. To achieve them in a specific time, you can set a specific deadline for each project. If you have given different tasks to others, you can set a reminder to track progress.

Next Actions:

If something is not associated with your current project, then you can keep it in the Next Action. You can enter various tasks into this list such as work tasks, personal tasks, errands, phone calls, etc.

Reminder List:

For assigned tasks, keeping a reminder list is crucial. Keep an eye on these tasks, set dates in your calendar and check the progress they have made.

4- Reflect:

You will get clarity by arranging your tasks, appointments, and ideas. Well, this specific factor is not helpful in boosting your productivity. There is a need to do a lot more. Make sure that you gain everything done in the given time. To achieve that, you need to review your lists occasionally.

Try to utilize an up-to-date system in order to review every list. It increases your focus and won’t miss any of your appointments or tasks. Analyze your to-do list and calendar on a daily basis. In the Getting Things Done system, you must review your tasks at least once a week. This review is based on the following factors,

  • Free Your Head:

Whatever you have in your mind, write it down at the end of the week in order to keep your mind or head stress-free.

  • Inboxes:

You must add new appointments, dates, ideas, and tasks in inboxes where they fit in the Getting Things Done system.

  • To-do List:

Keep your to-do list up-to-date every time. Tick in your completed tasks and write your upcoming actions.

  • Project Lists:

To move forward, check whether you have achieved your previous projects. Try to keep your project list up-to-date.

  • Maybe Lists:

It is a list where you can move your tasks to your actionable tasks. You can process your maybe tasks anytime according to your need.

  • Calendar:

Do not miss anything that you think is important. If you don’t want to miss any of your appointments and deadlines, then you should have to maintain your calendar. You can also mention your upcoming tasks in the calendar.

  • Waiting for List:

To keep an eye on the delegated projects, you must follow up with other workers if important.

5- Engage:

In order to determine what to do next, you need to use four important factors such as Context, Time Available, Energy Available and Priority in the Getting Things Done method.


In the GTD method, you have to create at least one to-do list. Due to the existence of different contexts such as work, family, hobby, etc., you should create different lists known as context lists. In this way, you can see different contexts of your work in shortlists. If you have free time and want to take maximum advantage of it, ask yourself these questions: What should I do next? What context is important? If your tasks are confidential, then do it wisely. But, you can send quick messages or respond to short emails at any time.

Time Available:

Calculate your time and find out how much free time you have? You should know how to utilize your free time so that you can make it productive. If you are 10 minutes away from your destination, then you should not respond to any phone call that you think will take an hour.

Energy Available:

Your energy level and mood vary throughout the day. Every person has a different energy level and biorhythms. It would be best to evaluate when you have low or high energy levels. It will help you in future tasks that need maximum energy, focus, and concentration. During maximum energy, you can complete any task without getting tired. You can do your best when you are in your highs. Some people are more productive in the morning but some are in the evening, and it is completely fine. You can reschedule your appointments or tasks on these bases.


If you have finally arranged all your tasks on the basis of the above three factors but still have options, let the priority decide which task or project is more crucial? Then, start your work with this task.

If necessary, you can give all your time to it. For example, if you are in the office and have some free time, you can make important phone calls or messages from your list. You can write a new report or work on a new idea. It helps you to prepare for your future tasks in your free time.


Strengths and Weaknesses of Getting Things Done Method:

The Getting Things Done method is wildly diverging, so it has many critics as well as devotee followers. Here are some strengths and weaknesses of GTD,

Strengths: GTD

  • Dependability:

The GTD is one of the most reliable methods for getting all your tasks done. If you occasionally forget your tasks, appointments, or so on, the Getting Things Done provides huge support.

  • Comprehensive Organization:

The key benefit of GTD is that it offers you a comprehensive organizational system for all your needs, whether work-related or personal. Consequently, you do not lose your interest and focus.

  • Get Things Done:

With the support of GTD, you can complete all your tasks on time. As this process involves various effective steps that keep you on track. Moreover, it also breaks down larger tasks into small ones, making them easier to achieve.

  • Clear Structure:

The GTD system allows you to utilize your free time productively. As a result, your productivity automatically increases. It clears all your doubts and keeps you on the right track.

  • Freedom:

Another benefit of the GTD system is that it gives you a lot of freedom. It does not dictate your schedule. It is completely up to you which task is important or which task to do next. In short, it motivates you to achieve your projects in the given time.

Weaknesses: GTD

  • No Assistance with Prioritizing:

You feel difficulty in prioritizing your daily or weekly tasks. There is no doubt that the GTD method provides complete freedom of prioritizing your tasks, but it does not provide support with prioritizing. You need the help of other methods such as the Eisenhower Matrix if you are not getting assistance with prioritizing.

  • No Daily or Weekly Structure:

When it comes to daily, weekly, or monthly planning, the GTD does not provide optimization. You feel difficulty in setting goals due to the unclear daily or weekly structure. You can’t decide your next action or move because of the indistinct structure. For better daily or weekly planning, the APLEN Method is way better than the GTD.

  • Difficult System:

GTD is not an easy method that you can learn in just ten minutes. It is a very complex system which makes it bad in the eyes of critics. You need to learn this system properly and practice it regularly if you want to take maximum benefit. The above weaknesses are proof of how complex this system is.

  • Change in Habits:

The GTD system brings several new changes in your habits. It is a weakness of this system, according to critics. You need to empty and review your inboxes regularly, which is slightly hard, especially in this fast-forward world. You must learn other organizational techniques that suit your work and personality. In a nutshell, the GTD is an overwhelming system that requires time and effort.

In Conclusion: GTD

It is absolutely clear from the above discussion that the GTD is a wonderful self-management technique. Thousands of followers have tested this method, but it is not a simple methodology. The GTD method carries some flaws, but it is an excellent tool for those who prefer an analytical approach. If you have clear thoughts about your priorities and goals, GTD can be useful. It can help you manage many tasks and projects easily. If you have so many professional and personal responsibilities, then GTD can create all the difference. If you want a well-managed calendar, clean up your inboxes, create a complete to-do list for work, personal, or both, the Getting Things Done won’t let you down in these cases.


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