What Really Is GTD?AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
When I have to explain to someone in a few minutes what Getting Things Done (the GTD methodology) is, what it is about or what it consists of, I have a hard time focusing on a more or less complete answer in a short space of time. In the end, I almost always end up explaining the basics of the methodology so that the listener does not feel overwhelmed, and I am left with the feeling that I have not conveyed a real or complete idea of the concept.
The other day I came across a description of GTD by David Allen himself in his book Make It All Work and I loved it. It seems to me to be a brief, beautiful and at the same time complete explanation of what GTD is, what it broadly consists of and what its benefits are:
Sophisticated without being confining, the subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its radically commonsense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all your commitments, organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles, and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment. GTD embodies an easy, step-by-step, and highly efficient method for achieving this relaxed, productive state.
- Capturing anything and everything that has your attention.
- Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps.
- Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on how and when you need to access them.
- Keeping current and “on your game” with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions).
Implementing GTD alleviates being overwhelmed, instills confidence, and releases a flood of creative energy. It provides structure without constraint, managing details with maximum flexibility. The system rigorously adheres to the core principles of productivity, while allowing tremendous freedom in the “how”. The only “right” way to do GTD is getting meaningful things done with truly the least amount of invested attention and energy. Coaching thousands of people, where they work, about their work, has informed the GTD method with the best practices of how to work (and live), in that most efficient and productive way.
GTD’s simplicity, flexibility, and immediacy are its attraction. Its ability to enliven, enlighten, and empower is its magic. What, indeed, is GTD? More than meets the eye…