Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Getting Things Done

I too use the 'Getting Things Done' system for my work. I posted on it several times before. Just recently I ran into Ton Zijlstra's "Thoughts on GTD System Weaknesses". It's always interesting to hear how others use GTD and value it.
Ton has been using the GTD system for about 9 months. What I clearly recognize in his post is that GTD is not one-size-fits-all.
I've been using for about two years now. You have to tweak it to make it fit for your (type of) work. I actually also don't use GTD strictly. For instance, I don't use the filer cabinet in the way David Allen describes in his book. And I do also prioritize my tasks with dates using my Palm, as commentor Oliver Gassner writes.

I would disagree with Ton that GTD is all about lists. It is also about lists. But the lists should be kept short and actionable. GTD says we should fill tasks in our agenda if they require a certain amount of time and have to be done before a certain date. So reading RSS feeds and thinking about them could be a fixed slot during the day, as Oliver also writes.
What did trigger me though, is what Ton wrote about lists and relatedness of tasks. I wonder if it should be possible to relate tasks in a network-ish way. This relates to what GTD calls "projects". But projects are very list-y in GTD. One more thought is to be able to share these lists or network of tasks with friends, would be nice too. "Social GTD"! Maybe something new for the GTD plugin for Outlook?

"Staying aware of my social network and context" is indeed important. I think that strict GTD would say: this is a task. For me: this isn't a task. It just something you do. I have my things to do during the day/week. All other time is used for social stuff. GTD helped me feel comfortable to take time for socializing. Before that, when I was socializing, I usually had that nagging feeling that there were things to do (tasks). Getting a grip on those tasks gave me more rest in my head to really concentrate on my social contacts when interacting with them.

I like Ton's idea at the end of his post:
One way in which the GTD method could become more valuable is if I could get patterns from it about what I do, that became inbox items again. Another if I could shape my GTD reviews to help me tune my antennas for the peripheral vision better as I described above. Something to think about further.
I agree, this is interesting. Although this would have to get patterns from my digital and physical work world!
Thanks for sharing you thoughts on GTD with us, Ton!


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