GTD: A Year Later

It was on a trip to Jacksonville last November that I first read about GTD, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, in some blogs about personal productivity: one from Michael Hyatt, which led me to Marc’s Outlook on Productivity, which led to a presentation by Jeremy Wright, which I listened to and while following along with the Powerpoint.

After watching a presentation that seemed to make sense, and hearing everyone in these blogs (including Merlin Mann) talking about how fantastic GTD is, I decided that instead of reading articles from people who were applying David Allen’s system, it would be smart to get it straight from the source, and read his book. So I stopped by the book store on the way to the airport, and bought Getting Things Done for the plane ride home.

I was hooked.

GTD was one of the best purchases I’ve made. The system absolutely made sense, and what I loved most about it was how down-to-earth and practical it was. Books about strategic thinking can be both inspiring and deflating: they create aspirations for operating at a higher level, but don’t teach you how to clear the underbrush that creates all of the fires you constantly seem to be fighting. So as a result you develop the appetite for living more intentionally, but get either frustrated or guilty because the day-to-day press of “stuff” weighs you down.

GTD isn’t like that; it gives you immensely practical tools for dealing with the crush of “stuff” that is a reality in our always-on information society, so you can make time to do the strategic part.

Over the next couple of weeks, as I approach my one-year anniversary with GTD, I’m going to share some highlights of the practical benefits I’ve derived, the areas in which the immediate benefits have been tremendous, and some areas in which I still need work. I wrote about (and showed) some of the benefits in this post. I plan to elaborate on what has worked well (and also hopefully re-establish some habits that have become less habitual.)

I hope people reading this will find the example helpful, and that maybe you also would share your experiences, either through comments or trackbacks. I’d love to hear practical tips and pointers you can offer.

But more importantly, I hope you will do what I did: read the book for yourself instead of getting it second-hand.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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