GTD: Getting Things Done

GTD - High-Level

Five steps of GTD

  1. CAPTURE - Collect what has your attention
  2. CLARIFY - Process what it means
  3. ORGANIZE - Put it where it belongs
  4. REFLECT - Review frequently
  5. ENGAGE - Simply do

Horizons of Focus

  • Horizon 5 (AKA 50k ft level): Life; Purpose, principles, and values
  • Horizon 4: Long-term visions
  • Horizon 3: 1-2 year goals
  • Horizon 2: Areas of focus and accountability
  • Horizon 1: Current projects
  • Ground: Current actions

GTD Concepts that have been useful / important to me

There is no carved-in-stone method or set of tools / technologies

  • and it will not work until you make it your own, and actually use what works, for YOU
  • start SIMPLE; suggestion:
    • paper & pen
    • OR plain text file
  • if you move to an electronic tool, ToodleDo can be a useful place to start
    • there’s a highly-functional free level, to try it out
      • via browser, and app (ex: iOS)
    • it supports both import and export

Capture is critical

  • make it quick
    • capture the essence only, and keep moving
  • LATER, in a Weekly Review: Clarify & Organize the InBox, to get items to the appropriate “place”
  • BOTH of these are critical, to a trusted system
    • and if it’s not trusted, it won’t be used

Weekly Review

Context is key

  • act, in the CONTEXT you’re in right now
    • no sense paging through Tasks that can’t be done in the current context
  • what is a context?
    • the capacity to do some things (and not others)
    • not simply a physical location
    • can be:
      • the resources available (or not), in different situations; ex:
        • have internet?
        • can make a private phone call?
        • have the physical objects needed for a task?
      • your energy level
        • different tasks, require different types of energy
    • for many of us, Computer is far too general a context; probably want to slice more finely; ex:
      • screen (any device)
      • internet / broadband (when more bandwidth is required)
        • when tasks require THAT device
        • AND there’s enough for this to be a separate context

Next Action:

  • The very next thing to do, in a project or Area of Focus
    • MUST be an ACTION
    • MUST be small enough, to pick up and complete (if not: split)

Treat time as the limited resource that it IS

  • if you don’t explicitly ALLOCATE time for something, it will likely not get it

Area of Focus (OR Responsibility, OR accountability)

  • something continual; to be maintained (ex: health)
  • without a finished state


  • has a start, and finish; can be checked off / completed
  • (if it repeats, maybe a checklist?)