GTD Implementation – some tips

Today I would like to give you some of my tips on how to implement GTD. This is mostly based on my mistakes that I have done when I started my GTD adventure. Hope your will find some value in this. Here they are (in no particular order).

Brain dump – Write it down. This applies to anything and everything that sits in your head. Write them all, your ideas, things to do, dreams, goals etc. Be strict and consistent. The fewer things in your head the more benefit your will get. Personally I think this is single most important element of GTD implementation that gives the most visible effect. You can literally feel weight lifted from your shoulders.

One thing at a time – Single things out. Focus on one thing at a time and consistently work through the lists and inboxes. Resist the urge to do things and browse through the stacks. The idea is that you pick one examine it, make decision (defer, do, delete) and move the the next one. This might be hard at first but should be easier over time.

Decide on the system – Setting up your system and tools is the most difficult time consuming part. You will probably spend hours trying various different approaches. My tip is asses your needs. Look at the effects of your brain dump and try to think what will be sufficient for you. Don’t try to over do your system, keep it simple i the rule no.1.

Pick your tools – Now when you’ve assessed your needs pick your tools but try to keep things simple and consistent Try to use tools that will support your system and each other. Tools that can easily exchange information and allow you to use them whenever your are and when ever you need them.

Stick with your choice – That’s very hard especially in the beginning. When the new habits have been created yet, when methodology is fresh and unsettled it’s easy to be lured by some new tools. The fact is: "it’s not going to work". Most of us like to play with new things, spend a little time with it and when bored move to another. But in this case you should change your tool only if….

Check if it’s you  – When you find that your system is limiting you and does not meet your needs make sure this is systems fault. Often you consider something as system failure but in fact it’s your fault. You didn’t keep your system current, you have neglected some parts of the process, your haven’t clarified some thoughts. If that’s not the case and your implementation is not sufficient for you switch to something that will better fit your needs But this should be the only situation when you make a change. Otherwise you will spend more time transferring data across different platforms and wont get your things done.

Make notes – This is something that I discovered recently. I didn’t put enough attention on my implementation how it works, where are my in baskets, how do I file etc. so it was kind of loose and unstructured. Making notes on your system gives you an option to see, reflect what works and what doesn’t. I know, system should be simple and at hand and that 100% true but in order to do that your need to see your system form higher altitude, get some perspective.

Keep your system current – That sounds obvious but I always need to remind this to myself. It’s necessary to makes sure that the system is constantly fed with new items. Make sure you log all actions, projects, waiting for’s. Check if the inboxes are empty and calendar is accurate.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you have some more tips and would like to share them please feel free to leave a comment.

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