I drank the juice.*
Waaay back in the day, I found Hijabman’s post on GTD and immediately got excited. Y’all know how I love systems. I won't explain GTD exactly but just tell you about my experience with GTD.
I'm borrowing Hijabman's summary since it is more succinct than anything I could come up with:
Get everything out of your brain and organized into a system. If the system is good, you trust the system, and you don’t have to think about the bazillion things going through your head. This way you are more productive.
I put off the implementation but finally got around to it in April.
I collected. During the 'collection' phase, I gathered all my documents from all over the house and wrote down everything floating in my head on index cards. Each idea/task was on a separate index card. When I processed the idea/task, I just crossed it out and put the index card in my recycle bin. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I pull out my stack of already used index cards and re-use them.
I processed the information and then organized the information.
I set up the tickler file.
I started out with a notebook but have now settled on the ‘Amish Hipster PDA’ (index cards on a ring binder, with a pen attached). The index cards are split up into four sections:
- Daily Routines & Most Important Tasks to be done in one day
- To-Do, which is further broken down into sections: Calls; Emails; At Computer; Errands; Store/To-buy list
- Not tabbed but I took advantage of the already separate color index-cards to create a ‘Not-urgent’ section. This is also further broken down into the following sections: At computer (which has things like ‘research container system for recycling’) and; At home tasks (which has items such as ‘mend quilt’).
- Projects – This is a list of long-term projects that I’d like to do, some I'm actually doing and some I'm considering. I will probably put the inactive projects under a ‘someday/maybe’ pile.
I’m really, really happy with GTD – even though I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate ‘routines’ and big projects into the program. It's a work in progress but I am enjoying the results already. My email inboxes are almost always empty. I still have too much to do but I am closer to being able to say no to new projects. Before, I said yes to all interesting projects because I didn't realize how much work was involved. I plan on cutting out projects in the future.
If you want to try this out yourself, I suggest buying the book. The system can be implemented without it but I don't think I could do it without the book.
On a side note, don't go shopping before you've actually implemented this program. I read the book on and off for about a month, then it took a few months before I actually geared up and implemented the system. The book, a paper and a pen are enough.
Heck, you don't need the book right away either. It was helpful for me because I didn't quite understand GTD at first. DON'T buy a PDA, don't invest in software, just use what you have. Buying and setting up new gizmos is procrastination.
Hijabman has a good summary of GTD on his blog and subsequent posts that discuss his progress.
I think the best thing about GTD is that I get everything out of my head and in a centralized location. I get all the little ‘to-do’ lists that usually clutter up my little brain and make way for the more interesting things (to me, anyway) that floats around my brain. I also get the ideas out of my head and on a piece of paper. This way, I can decide whether I want to pursue it, keep it on file for later or just toss it.
This is still a work in progress for me – but I recommend it to others who aren't naturally organized or are just looking for a new organizational system.
I check these sites on a regular basis:
zenhabits - Start with this post first: Beginner's Guide to GTD
Go on, drink the juice.*
*I am hesitant about using this phrase because I googled it and it refers to the mass suicide from poisoned kool-aid. But let’s all just pretend that it’s light-hearted and just about my being really happy about GTD and not joining a cult, which I would never do because I have enough people telling me what to do.