Do you ever feel overburdened by the weight of all the things you have to get done with during the day or during the week? We all do! Believe us when we say this, each one of us thinks, at least once a day, that maybe 24 hours of the day weren’t put in place for us to do this much of work. Or, maybe we need to manage our tasks better? Definitely the latter!
But, how exactly? A question many of you might ask. Let me introduce you to the GTD method.
GTD or Getting Things Done is a popular time management method and the title of a best-selling book by author and productivity consultant David Allen. After years of research and practice, David Allen came up with this technique of getting all your to-dos done by following a systematic series of steps.
Often times, you may have a plethora of tasks in front of you which need to be taken care of, or you may experience a sudden outburst of inspiration to pull off an idea. Now, as David Allen says, ‘Your mind is for having ideas, not storing them’, therefore GTD comes to your rescue to pull these ideas out of your brain and converts them into actions.
GTD is not merely getting-things-done, but a step-by-step way of accomplishing tasks through the basic concept of transferring ideas from your mind into an external system, breaking them down into actionable steps and then finally, getting them done.
By following the GTD method, your brain will not have to remember and keep track of every other thing (which is humanly impossible anyway).
The correct implementation of the method can free up some of the brain power and thus, increases the overall productivity of an individual or a team.
Let’s dive in to discover the basic pillars of the GTD method and how it can be implemented.
GTD Method Implementation:
The GTD approach is implemented through a sequence of steps which essentially makes up the 5 pillars of this method, which are:
If there’s something you need to do that’s stuck in your mind, you have to get it out, to get it done. Clearing your mind of all the clutter and properly organizing your tasks is one way of effectively dealing with things.
The first step of implementing the GTD method is to collect what’s stuck in your mind. This can be anything ranging from professional pending emails, phone calls, appointments, to simply cleaning your wardrobe. Transfer all these tasks to an external system which can be a task management tool, a simple to-do list app or even a paper.
Often times, the human mind acts like a big hoarder of ideas, no matter how trivial they are. In order to properly convert all these muddled ideas into viable actions, you need to distinguish the actionable and non-actionable tasks to get rid of the ones that cannot be done, thus clearing up some brain memory. This makes up the second step of the GTD method.
Start processing the tasks that are jotted down in front of you and break them into smaller, more manageable actions to clear the clutter and get a clear picture of what lies ahead.
After you’ve decided the actionable tasks, categorize and prioritize them according to due dates or urgency to effectively organize them. There are numerous tasks in front of you, some of which you don’t need to do right away, but the only record, so put them away in a place where you can retrieve them later when needed.
But, how exactly do you organize your tasks? Through the decision tree of GTD method! A simple decision-making process assisting you in categorizing your tasks via a series of questions which eventually lead to appropriate actions.
You need to decide if your particular tasks are actionable and then move forward towards other questions to decide what exactly you need to do.
Let’s have a look at this tree for a better understanding:
It’s not as confusing as it might look, because once you get a hold of it, you can easily make decisions about your next course of action.
This is also where the concept of ‘contexts’ come into play. Categorize your tasks according to the context they’re referring to and link similar tasks together. For instance; important follow-up emails that need to be made will be grouped under the ‘email’ context. Doing this makes tracking of tasks extremely convenient and quick.
For GTD to work effectively, you need to frequently review your workflow. In-depth analysis for monitoring the progress and identifying the next to-do actions greatly help in reflecting back at your decisions and what adjustments you need to make.
Finally, just get started with the tasks and begin working on them. Everything is right in front of you, from due dates to priority levels. You just need to get to work and get done with things.
The 4 Best GTD Apps in the Market
Now that we’ve covered the basic concepts revolving around GTD method, you’re probably wondering if there are any getting things done tools and apps which help in implementing it, and yes there are! Numerous applications are specifically designed and developed to work with this distinctive method.
We’ve gathered and tested some of the best GTD apps that help you in getting more done. These are:
nTask makes it to the top of our list of the best GTD apps merely because of the fact that this simple to use application has everything that makes GTD implementation smooth for you. The software is packed with capabilities which make way for the method to work perfectly well and synchronize effectively with the core components.
It’s designed to help teams and project managers from all industries to intuitively organize their projects and tasks in a way that helps them in getting things done faster.
Let’s have a look at some of the features of nTask and how they facilitate a light and crisp take on the GTD method:
No matter how big or small a task is, with nTask, you can capture or list down all your to-dos in independent projects and create tasks and subtasks with them to get things done in an organized manner. You just need to deport all the things (whether professional or personal) which are in your mind into the nTask software and TADA! You just took a leap towards better task management.
Clarifying what exactly needs to be done is one the prime concerns revolving around the GTD method. By using nTask, you can conveniently divide all your big projects into smaller, actionable tasks and subtasks to get a clear picture of what lies ahead. The tasks which need to be done in future can be easily scheduled in your calendar, and you can even delegate tasks to respective team members by using the assign tasks feature.
The next step in the GTD method is organizing all the tasks according to their category and priority level. With nTask is action, with just a few clicks, you can set priority levels according to the need and urgency of tasks, and can even set reminders for the due ones to stay updated with the tasks in line. Through useful task filters, find and view the tasks that you need in front of you and work on them.
You can only achieve true productivity through constant review and feedback. Reflect back on your actions throughout the project and make amendments where needed. nTask makes reviewing the project performance easy through the built-in feature of Gantt charts. Apart from these charts, you can timely review your calendar to see where you stand at the moment and what can be your next to-do action with respect to the distinct projects.
If you follow the first four steps of the GTD method properly, the last step will be as easy as pie. When you have everything in front of you, systematically organized and categorized, the final execution will demand no additional effort from you and your tasks’ ship will be all set to sail smoothly.
Free and Pro plan. Pro plan is for $2.99 per user/month.
Looking for a perfect GTD tool?
nTask is free and lets you create unlimited tasks, checklists, meetings and more.
Second on our list of the best GTD apps is FacileThings. A productivity tool specifically designed to implement getting things done philosophy, FacileThings allow you to organize and manage your tasks by keeping in view all the essential components of the GTD structure.
It’s a GTD app which is meant for people who strictly follow the GTD methodology. The tool caters individually to each and every component of the method in a way that you have all the options to follow through the steps one by one or fill in details in a random pattern, all pertaining to your needs.
With an aesthetically pleasing design and easy to understand interface, FacileThings tries to fit every GTD component into one workflow to make getting things done easily for you. Easily capture ideas like a simple notepad, clarify and organize according to their course of action, and finally review them on weekly basis to monitor performance.
30 Days free trial and paid monthly plans. Paid plans start at $12 per month.
In complete contrast with FacileThings, Todoist takes a rather simplistic approach on the GTD method and works on quick brain-dump of ideas by creating to-do lists, organizing and prioritizing tasks, creating subtasks and dependencies as well as creating projects and subprojects.
With due dates and recurring tasks reminders, you can easily organize all your tasks according to their frequency of occurrence and check off the tasks that have been done. In this way, you can get a clear picture of all the tasks currently in progress and the ones which need to be done in future.
Furthermore, through Todoist, you can also review your project’s performance via visually appealing charts and graphs which help in understanding the current progress and future actions for goals achievement.
Free for Basic and Premium ($29 per year) plans.
Our last recommendation for the best GTD apps is Nirvana.
Nirvana is a cloud-based task manager which is specifically built for the implementation of GTD method. The application comes with built-in features of how much time and energy a task will need to complete, along with an option to set due dates to stay on track with the upcoming projects.
The application also comes pre-loaded with lists labeled as next, waiting, scheduled, and someday which make clarifying and organizing step of implementing GTD method extremely convenient to implement.
There are tags available to put your tasks into the professional and personal division for easy access. There are multiple other task preferences too which make the application highly customized and user-friendly.
Free (basic features) and paid plans. Paid plans begin at $5 per month.
Do you have a suggestion for a free project management software that follows GTD approach? Feel free to comment below with your suggestions.