The pandemic has brought about newfound creative interests in people, whether it is painting, starting a Youtube channel, etc. Having time for personal hobbies is essential, in order to keep the mind creative and engaged. But some folks are still struggling to find a balance between giving time for either. Somehow, the work tasks seem to overload by the day, and employees don’t get any spare time for personal development. But luckily there’s a technique to help get around that.
Getting things done (GTD) is a productivity method and best selling book, created by productivity consultant David Allen. It’s been around for a long time and a staple of productivity enthusiasts everywhere. The end goal with GTD is to spend less time doing the things you have to do, so you have more time for the things you want to do. The method helps one to organize their to-dos, priorities, and schedule in a way that makes them all manageable. It also has a strong emphasis on getting your to-dos out of your head, and into a system, you can refer to. This helps clear any distractions that might pose a hindrance.
The principle of the GTD philosophy involves performing five simple steps –
- Capture – The first step involves capturing all; to-do tasks, recurring tasks, emails, action items post meetings, ideas, etc into one place. This place can be an app, a notepad, etc. The idea is to create a place where you can store your ideas and tasks quickly- so that you don’t have to think about it again until it’s time to do it.
- Process – After jotting down all the items into your notepad, clarify them into actionable and non-actionable tasks. If there are tasks you can get done in under two minutes, Allen advises completing with them right away. If you believe some of the tasks will take longer than two minutes, then they need to be entered into a separate list which is known as an action list. This process has to be repeated for every single item.
- Organize – After clarifying the tasks, they need to be organized into three separate categories – Project, time, and context. In the project category, actions both professional as well as personal and related to a particular project fall under this category. Tasks that have specific deadlines fall into the time category. And finally, the context category comprises tasks such as replying to emails, shopping for errands, etc.
Normally, people list these tasks in one word, thinking it will trigger their memory when they glance upon it later. It’s hardly ever the case. So this category was invented to create more context for these tasks so that they can be remembered.
During this stage, every individual can mix and match between the three categories and divide the tasks based on his/her preference. The key factor to keep in mind is understanding what the next action is going to be after defining the task.
- Review – Reviewing the tasks on a weekly basis is ideal in order to make any necessary adjustments and keep things running smoothly. A monthly review is also recommended, to assess one’s progress, both in their professional as well as personal life.
- Engage – Now that all the items have been categorized, it’s time to get to work. All the tasks have been broken down into manageable actions based on priority, and now there’s more clarity on which to focus on in the immediate phase, and which to leave off for a later date.
Surprisingly Allen has also said the big secret behind the GTD technique is not about getting things done. It’s about being free and clear in one’s head to direct their intentions to wherever they chose to engage.