Getting Things Done is a time management method widely used by both physical and remote work organisations. This strategy improves a team’s time management practices, boosts productivity, and stops that overwhelming feeling of having so much work to do.
What exactly is Getting Things Done and why has it drawn so much attention in the corporate world today? In this article, we’ll define this much-acclaimed strategy, look into how it works, and see how it fares when used in both physical and remote organisations.
What is the Getting Things Done Method?
Getting Things Done (GTD method) is a time management and productivity strategy rolled into one. It uses lists to efficiently tackle tasks in a stress-free and timely manner. The method was introduced in a book by leading productivity coach David Allen in 2001. The strategy was updated in 2015 to include changes brought about by information technology.
Here’s the concept behind the GTD method: Freeing up your mind from stressful ways to remember your tasks results in higher productivity. To do this, the GTD method recommends using a written organisational system (physical or digital will do) to record all your pending and completed tasks without getting anxious about forgetting anything. This should let you concentrate on actually completing the tasks.
The GTD method believes that optimal productivity can be achieved through a clear and focused mind. An outsourced system such as a project management tool or even a simple to-do list (for uncomplicated tasks) helps take care of work allocation and monitoring. That way, you don’t have to stress out keeping tabs on tasks you need to allocate, complete, and file away once done.
How Does Getting Things Done Time Management Method Work?
Getting Things Done time management method seems a bit complicated on the outside. However, it rests on five pillars: Capture, Clarify, Organise, Reflect, and Engage.
GTD doesn’t dictate a specific way on how you should do your work for optimal results. Instead, its five essential steps are all organisational concepts that let you define, organise, and select tasks that need the most attention.
Let’s delve into each step in more detail now:
The first step in GTD is to capture all your tasks, ideas, and appointments in a certain inbox. There’s no specific tool recommended for this, so you can use any of the following as long as it fits nicely into your workflow:
- Pen-and-paper method using a dedicated notebook
- Physical planner
- To-do apps
- Email inbox
- Project management tools such as Home Squad
- Physical trays or a vertical filing system for physical office papers
Your goal is to get a bird’s eye view of your entire work. This clears your mind from clutter and gives you a better idea of the extent of work that needs to be done. All these goals are achieved by allotting an organised and centralised inbox for all your tasks, projects, and ideas.
GTD’s second step is to sort and clarify each task you need to do. Go through your inbox and take each idea or task one-by-one. Then, ask yourself these questions:
- What type of task is this?
- Is the task actionable?
- What should be the next action for this task?
You now have to decide if the task is actionable or not. For non-actionable tasks, you may choose to:
- Remove the task
- Assign it to the Maybe/Someday list
- Place it in an archive for future reference
These actions may vary depending on the nature of the task and your organisation’s workflow. The general idea is to determine if each task needs to be acted upon or not.
GTD’s third step involves organising actionable tasks into specific categories based on their priority level. During this step, you’ll create separate folders where actionable to-dos, tasks, projects, and ideas will be placed.
Start by determining each task’s priority. Then, decide what actions need to be taken for this particular task:
- Get the task done
- Delegate the task
- Wait for a team member to do the task
- Decide on a future completion date
You can use a powerful yet easy-to-use project management tool like Home Squad’s solutions to make organising the tasks easier. Put the task in your calendar, set due dates, and create reminders for it.
You should get a clearer picture of tasks that need to be done and how urgently they need to be addressed after going through the Organise step.
The Reflect step focuses on reviewing your to-do lists once a week. Check your inbox’s content and scan through your folders, adding or deleting new tasks as necessary. You can also follow up on task progress, update projects, and move finished ones to an archive as necessary.
It’s a good idea to use project management tools to aid you in reviewing your tasks. For instance, Home Squad’s feature-rich tools allow you to check on current tasks, ask for work updates and communicate with your team as a whole.
Now, reflecting on your list lets you:
- Check on your project progress
- Ascertain if the work system is right for your team
- Adjust work priorities as necessary
All these things will boost your team’s productivity by allocating your time, energy, and resources to the right tasks.
The final step in the GTD time management method is to engage in your chosen tasks. Select the tasks you should work on based on these four criteria:
- Available Time
- Available Energy
Evaluate each task, choose those that demand the most attention based on the four criteria, and work on those tasks. Organising and determining the best tasks to do first seems daunting, but it becomes simpler now since you’ve already broken them down into smaller task chunks and assigned them based on their characteristics and priority levels.
Is GTD Really an Effective Management Method?
Yes, it is! Many organisations already have some of the GTD’s essential pillars incorporated into their workflow. The key is to make GTD work for your company by using the right tools and incorporating GTD into your own unique work systems.
GTD can even be integrated into other management systems; it needs not to be a stand-alone!
Getting Things Done time management method is a great strategy to organise your tasks and streamline your entire workflow. It consists of 5 essential steps to organise and break down tasks into actionable chunks.
Make GTD work for your organisation by utilising project management tools with robust features at an affordable price, just like Home Squad’s solutions.