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Posted by on Nov 13, 2012 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

How to organize your tasks with GTD

How to organize our tasks with GTD

One of the lines that we usually address Bitelia is the , since optimizing the use of our time, as well as help us better fulfill our work, we can provide the possibility of having more time to enjoy our hobbies or out with our friends (instead of being anchored to the table in our office). Sometimes, when it comes to productivity, you tend to talk about tools but as we mentioned on more than one occasion, the tools themselves do not make us productive because, well, we have to do our part by following any scheme or methodology or some guidelines that allow us to organize our work and take advantage of tool for us to meet the objectives entrusted to us in a timely manner.

Around productivity certainly sounding names as we Pomodoro technique or the Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen, time management methodologies that can serve as a basis for planning our workday and avoid that when we get home , we have the feeling of not having done anything that we had expected and we have spent the day forth “putting out fires” as if we were firefighters (working instinctively and reactively to the various tasks we arrive ).

When we do not do a lot of email management commented that we should transform our messages in “something”, a task to be undertaken, one to collect data, a task that we have to stop waiting for a third party, an idea that is supported precisely in the Getting Things Done by David Allen, a technique that is applicable both at work and personally pursued and transform all things that require our attention on activity or tasks that we can plan and track.

Personally, I find very interesting to put some order in the chaos of our day to day where the various actions or tasks we have to perform reach us by different ways and means. Email, a management tool for tasks or projects that we use internally in our company or our department, telephone helpdesk or tool are some of the typical tasks inboxes we can find in our daily and require an order, planning and, ultimately, a management process that would allow for our daily work plan.

In this sense, GTD can help us organize our work relying on five pillars that once we have them internalized, we can move the tools we deem appropriate:

1. Collect

As mentioned, there are multiple inboxes by reaching us tasks, ie multiple inboxes as our email, phone or any other tool that we use. To begin, it is important to have identified inboxes we have and for which we receive tasks, since the doors will be watching and that we will collect all that we will arrive. Also, so we can work effectively, the number of inboxes to manage must be something finite and affordable since, otherwise, it will be impossible to control that eludes us all.

It is important that all tasks arrive by “authorized channels” and if it is not always possible, then we should channel it and “make it stated” not to rely too much on our minds and we end up being in the pipeline tasks that address.

2. Process

Once we have identified the task inboxes, it is logical that we approach them to “get the mail”, ie, the different elements that we have arrived. Not everything that comes into our inboxes has its translation to a task and, for example, we receive emails that do nothing and go straight to the trash and, sometimes, we received information that goes directly to a file or annotation in our notebook.

If we receive things that do depend on our actions we find several situations:

  • If it is something we can do in less than two minutes, not worth postponing and calendarizarlo (lose more time) so it is advisable to run immediately
  • If the action does not depend on us, then we will have to delegate and not worth leaving it stuck in our inbox (although not mean ignore delegate, we will take a follow-up)
  • If it’s something we have to do then becomes a project (if concatenated requires multiple actions) or a performance to plan and, therefore, we will assign a deadline or a date and we will track the same

3. Organize

Once we identify the elements that require our attention, we have seen that we have a small tree in the decision we have to classify what comes into our actions to be undertaken. GTD recommends that at a minimum, we address four classifications of the elements:

  • Projects: In this “drawer” keeping items collected will go to become a series of concatenated performances that also mean that we have a commitment to completion. We could consider offering a course project because we have to prepare class material, sending students and assist the classroom to impart.
  • Calendar (or planned): Shares that have a specific date of completion or achievement, for example, we make a report or pay taxes committed before a certain day.
  • Upcoming performances: we have identified actions that we perform but have not committed a specific date and, therefore, as we go clearing the previous two groups going to go or planning projects.
  • Pending actions: actions that do not depend on us and therefore we have delegated and are waiting to be unlocked by a third party. Delegating does not mean we have to ignore but check that tasks are performed and, if necessary, contact the person you delegate its realization.

It is important in our work attach their context, ie if our work tasks, if personal tasks, if they require a purchase or use of a particular resource, whether to perform them in a particular place, etc. All this context information, in addition to the information that we collect (e or calls received for example) will help us make decisions when moving tasks between one group or another or, for example, deciding what things are higher priority or require less effort (and can better fit the slot of time available).

Over time this can complicate somewhat classification and the classification add new “boxes” or “filing” for personal tasks, a list of tasks to “do when we have time”, etc..

4. Revise

Each day, for example, to start our workday or shutdown (and it ready for the next day), we will have to take a moment to review the tasks we have in these four groups and go moving them as needed.

If it turns out that the day before we had finished a task committed, the tacharemos (marking it as done) and review the plan to see if we can anticipate something urgent or, for example, we can schedule tasks in “projects” or “next performances. “ In addition, we will require tracking ongoing tasks (completing the scoring information or advances and / or conclusions) in addition to interest, often by the delegated tasks.

Our task system should see it as a living thing, therefore, it is we who must give movement and be methodical in its review.

It will also be important to set “windows” on the day in which we review the performances inboxes (email, helpdesk, etc) to go feed the system.

5. Do

Once we are clear about what we do in the day or week, the next step is to get down to work assessing the time available and the effort required to complete these tasks. How to prioritize? The priority is not only an indicator linked to business also depends on our own energy, time or resources available, combining the two variables we can plan the day, week or month to carry out our commitments.

Now what?

Knowing clearly that GTD is an aid and therefore we see it useful for our work, but we have left to get down to work and organize all the inputs that we are coming under this methodology.

And where we write down the tasks? How do we implement the listing of shares? And the file with the information? If the first thing that comes to mind are the tools we can use, really, the universe is quite large since a classic paper notebook can become a GTD manager if, for example, we scored there schedules for each day and take notes or reminders progress.

Evernote, Google Calendar, Trello or even Remember The Milk can also help us to work with GTD and precisely to go deeper into the issue, continue with GTD and some practical implementations using some of these applications in the cloud.

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1 Comment

  1. For implementing GTD you can use this application:

    Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.