For example, creating a project plan for your next project will take a lot of time and several steps to complete. Start by asking yourself what outcome you desire for each task. Once you have defined the desired result, identify the next possible physical action to move toward that outcome. Unlike a to-do list, you have to be definite and clear about the item or task on the list. For example, instead of writing Call Mel, you’d need to write Schedule call with Mel on Thursday to discuss project budget. Write down any task or stuff as Allen calls it that takes 2 minutes to complete; feed the cat, meet with new clients, check the project budget.

what does gtd

These can be places, task collaborators, certain tools you’ll need to get the work done – your contexts are totally up to you. If you’re using a project management tool, you can easily create separate labels for the contexts you need. Each week, set aside time to review your lists, organize your tasks, and keep your system running smoothly.


We tend to take on even more projects because we’ve got great ideas, but we underestimate the time we’ll need to complete them. Eventually, those balls can start dropping, throwing you into a tailspin where you feel like it’s impossible to plan and execute on all the tasks you’ve got to do. Getting Things Done, also known as GTD or the GTD method, is a self-management method developed by David Allen in which you record all your personal and professional tasks in to-do lists. Since you no longer have to expend any energy on remembering these tasks, your mind is free to concentrate on the task at hand. GTD is the commonly used acronym for the time management and productivity method called Getting Things Done ®.

  • So you don’t have to think about it until it’s time to act on it.
  • Without regular weekly reviews, you won’t enjoy the stress-relieving, clarity-providing benefits GTD has to offer.
  • If you’re thinking that applying this to everything you do must be a massive undertaking… you’re right.
  • These kinds of features come in very handy, especially when you’re trying to put together an effective work schedule for yourself or keeping things organized for your weekly review.

This is the step where you identify all the “stuff” you give attention to in life. They may be fleeting thoughts, recurring questions, ongoing projects, long-term goals, and more. They are the things you purposely and sometimes haphazardly think about because you believe they are important in some way. You can use the GTD Incompletion Trigger List to make sure you identify them all. Examples of action items are making a phone call, writing an outline, and scheduling a meeting.

Does the Getting Things Done method work?

It is within your control to do something to move closer to a desired (or forced upon you) result. You might not want to pay your taxes or schedule a colonoscopy, but you know it’s the right thing to do, so you will. GTD is for anyone who feels overwhelmed by all they have to accomplish, has too much to do, or has trouble knowing how to spend their time. In short, it’s for anyone who feels their life is out of control and their to-do list is no help.

what does gtd

Before you can organize your work, you first need to capture it—in a place outside of your brain. David Allen calls this your Inbox—regardless of what tool you’re using. That’s because any task, piece of information, or reminder (or, as Allen likes to call it, “stuff”) goes directly into your Inbox. Think of this less as an email inbox and more as a task list of data to be processed later.

Not all tasks can be done at all times, in all situations and places. Identifying the proper context a task requires helps you identify what you should spend your time when. When you have time to do something, context can help you more quickly choose a task to complete without wasting time and mental energy considering those that need a different context. In this way, context enables you to prioritize, given your current situation. Capture, or collect, is what you do first when implementing the GTD framework in your life.

Organizing is a critical part of the GTD method—but the exact organizational system you set up is up to you. In Asana, everything that’s assigned to you automatically goes into your My Tasks. You can create additional sections in your My Tasks to organize high-priority work that’s due today, work that’s due this week, and longer-term work. During the Organize step, move items into the appropriate projects in your work management tool. You can think of projects like virtual folders to store important, related information. By organizing and moving to-dos into their relevant projects, you turn these to-dos from notes into actionable work.

what does gtd

This external system could be a piece of paper or your to-do list app. Feeling swamped leads to a growing list of unfinished work, causing stress to pile up. On the other hand, being reactive wastes valuable time on activities that contribute little to our overall productivity. When faced with gtd methodology a never-ending list of tasks, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or to react to each task as it comes. Plus, download the Asana mobile app to capture everything you need on the go. If you aren’t sure where to get started, run through the four Engagement considerations before getting started.

what does gtd