GTD Method Summary: What Is GTD System & the 5 GTD Steps?

Planning your work day in advance allows you to focus on the work that is most important and helps you overcome procrastination and inevitable distractions. If it’s not actionable but it is reference material you might need later, put it somewhere you can easily recall it. If it’s time-sensitive, like a meeting or an appointment, put it on your calendar. If it’s not important, you may decide just to trash it and not worry about it anymore. You may have heard of the Getting Things Done system before (we’ve even got a special GTD method section on our website) but perhaps you aren’t sure how to implement it. On the surface, GTD can be a bit intimidating when trying to get started with it.

gtd system

While there are lots of productivity systems out there, GTD® is one of the most flexible and enduring. So much of what you read about productivity online is derivative of Allen’s core ideas. Bearing this in mind, it’s instructive to learn about productivity systems other people have developed. One classic system that remains relevant today is Getting Things Done® (GTD®), described in David Allen’s book of the same name. In a remarkably short span, the spread of the coronavirus shut down offices around the world. This unexpected change amplified the inefficiencies latent in our haphazard approach to work.

Find more productivity methods

With these roles come responsibilities and their respective tasks. When you leave the office, you take on the roles of your home life. Between your tasks at home and work, you need an approach that’ll help you stay on top of everything.

gtd system

I might maintain my GTD system for a couple of weeks, maybe even a couple months if I don’t have too much going on. Some of the links that appear on the website are from software companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all companies or all available Vendors. Please view our advertising policy page for more information. The offers that appear on the website are from software companies from which receives compensation.

Having a False Urgency for Tasks

If you’re trying to improve personal productivity, consider using a to-do list to track your work. Alternatively, if you work with a team, try a work management platform to not only capture and track your own work, but to organize and manage your team’s work as well. The GTD—or Getting Things Done—method operates with the belief that the more information you’re mentally keeping track of, the less productive and focused you are. Instead of relying on your brain, the GTD methodology encourages you to store all of your work information in an external, organized source of truth. That way, you always know the answer to “What do I need to do next? It may be helpful to group your projects based on your “Areas of Focus” — the GTD term for the various areas of responsibility you have in your life.

gtd system

These areas are a tool to draw attention to your broader life goals while deciding what to work on next. If a task does not fit within the scope of any of your areas of focus, it may be time to reassess if it’s something you want to spend your time on. Or you may just want to separate your projects between “Work” and “Personal.” If you’re just starting out with GTD, do a full mind sweep of all the “open loops” you can think of — anything you might need to take action on in the future. Consult the GTD trigger list to help jog your memory for commitments you may have forgotten. Let’s say you’re in the office and you have an hour of unscheduled time before your performance review.

Get the Right Tools

Our Certified Trainers and GTD Coaches around the world are ready to take your productivity to the next level. Connect with our partner in your region and it education see how they can help you or your organization get started. As mentioned above, create a column where you will put everything that comes to your mind.

With your project lists and tasks sorted, you’re now ready to tackle contexts. In GTD, contexts identify tools, places, or people that you require to complete a given task. In other words, contexts allow you to focus on what you can actually get completed, given your current circumstances. For example, if you are at your office, you don’t want to waste time sorting out all the next actions you have at home.

gtd system

I use OmniFocus, a Mac and iOS productivity app designed specifically for GTD. It’s always a tap away on my computer, iPhone, and Apple Watch, so I can capture a task or idea at a moment’s notice. Many other to-do apps, including Asana and Todoist, are also built with GTD in mind and make it equally easy to quickly add tasks and ideas. The apps also allow you to customize these review templates to suit your project needs. For example, you can create a bi-monthly review rather than a weekly review. You can create task comments or sub-tasks to determine your weekly reflections and focus for the next week.

  • David Allen has called this weekly review a “critical factor for success” because frequent review of your system will ensure that you aren’t just doing things, but that you are doing the right things.
  • From there, you can move on to the next action, and the next, until the project is complete.
  • When in doubt, work on mastering the baby steps above in the order listed.
  • After your projects list and plans, the next horizon of focus is the 20,000 feet horizon, i.e the Areas of Focus.
  • How you organize those to-dos is up to you, but remember, don’t over-hack your method.

Club Hours

Tuesday – Friday

7:00 a.m. – Close
(Kitchen closes at 9:00 p.m.)


Club Closed
*Check Club Calendar for Theme Dinner