7 ways to make GTD stick

31/8/2011 |

I was recently asked how I help make GTD stick- Here are my top tips!

1. Read the book! Not sure if you have already, so thought I’d start at the beginning! It’s useful to come back to and dip into. In addition, I’ve found reading other books to compare and contrast – at the end of the day, it’s about finding what suits you, and GTD ‘pure’ is not for everyone. Others to check out:
– Tim Ferris –‘ 4-Hour Work Week’ (great for thinking about automation of tasks, and some good stuff re: 80-20 and Parkinson’s laws)
– Sally McGhee – ‘Take Back Your Life’ (great for how to use Outlook as an organising tool)
– Mark Forster – ‘Get Everything Done’ (lots of nice ideas re: using energy and attention)
– ‘The War of Art’ – Stephen Pressfield (beating procrastination)

2. Make it a game! If you’re stuck on a bit of GTD, and thinking more about the system than the tasks, make it a game. E.g. with emails, getting your inbox to zero becomes the game, rather than actually what you’re sending in the emails – forced decisiveness is the result. Check out http://tinyurl.com/2sncx2 and other articles in the inbox zero series.

3. Do a weekly review. If you’re ever stuck with GTD, I find this is the tool to get unstuck. I use a tailored version of the GTD weekly review checklist. It’s a great discipline, and the ‘thinking time’ invested pays off, big time. http://tinyurl.com/3n295jw

4. Cut down how much you actually do. Counter-intuitive, but part of my weekly review is about reducing what’s actually on the lists without doing them – I have a ‘force delete’ then a ‘force delegate’ section on my checklist. It’s a great tool for being ruthless in renegotiating with yourself what there is to do.

5. Morning habit – develop a morning routine. I have to say this is the one I’m failing at right now, but working on! I’ve previously had a really good rhythm going which included eating breakfast, jogging, and ‘worst first’ – completing the worst and most nagging thing on your to-do list first, and almost using the other parts of the routine as a way of ‘tricking’ you into starting the day with great momentum.

6. Think about, and write down your good and bad habits. Then expand upon the good and eliminate the bad. Sounds easy, but not something we often think about. I think the key is in giving yourself structures that allow you to change your habits without thinking about it. Personally, my natural style is strategic, flaky, intuitive, spontaneous, etc – but GTD and the other systems I use give me a much greater certainty about how well I’m doing, how much is on my plate, etc.

7. Get some training! Ok, we’re a training company, but check out our email training to help you get your inbox to zero as well as our GTD inspired training course, How To Get Things Done.

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