Basic GTD: The Principle
GTD is a tool whose goal is to eliminate the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. It is based on the principle that we must negotiate our internal commitments effectively.
Most of the stress we experience comes from not managing well the commitments we create or accept… and, often, from making more agreements than we can handle.
Each of your internal commitments, big or little, requires that a part of you pays some attention to it. They are open loops that don’t belong where they are and, to deal with them, you have to do three basic things:
- Take them out of your head. If they are there, your mind is not clear. You must capture all the things you consider incomplete in a trusted system, out of your mind.
- Clarify what your commitments mean and decide what you need to do, if anything, to progress in their compliance.
- Once you’ve decided what to do, you must keep your actions organized in a system you can review regularly.
“This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy.” ~ Kerry Gleeson
Things remain in your head because you have not clarified what they really mean, or because you have not decided what the very next physical action is, or because you have not stored a reminder of the outcome and the next action in a system you trust.
“The ancestor of every action is a thought.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Many people are reluctant to spend a little time thinking about the true meaning of things that come into their life. However, spending a couple of minutes to define the desired outcome is the most effective means to make it real.