GTD. Getting Things Done. We also hear of GSD, Getting Shit Done, which is more apt. Many of these things are unnecessary, so why must we get them done?
I recently felt the burden of a million abstract tasks. Work I was supposed to do. Countless forgotten todos. I turned to GTD as a way to grasp the breath of my day-to-day, and some way to capture my other goals in life.
To get this started I downloaded OmniFocus, created all of the projects and contexts I could think of, and patted myself on the fanny for being so organised.
Then the tasks flowed in. Almost all were without a home in my system. New tasks needed new projects, new sub-projects.
First lesson learned: I’m not intelligent enough to design this system so I’ll let it evolve as it wills.
This leads to the crux of GTD. Relentless capture. Store every thought that comes to mind. Emails to send, finances to organise, resumes to refresh. Anything and everything needs to be captured and not allowed to burden our minds. Do this for a week and we’ll be lighter humans. We’ll also make time for bigger things.
Second on a GTD wins list is our ability to prioritise. Having this list of tasks in front of us means we can see the twenty-five shitty tasks alongside the two meaningful ones. Both might occupy a day but only one pushes us forward. One set leaves us satisfied, the other leaves us feeling we survived to repeat the same tomorrow.
GTD is a tool that highlights these negative patterns. It gives us the perspective to dodge the trap of busy work.
But what do we do with these busy tasks? We can group them, schedule them. Do them after the harder work, after we’ve created. By the time we get to them, half will no longer be important after all.
GTD: it’s a cool tool. Essential to carry you through busy work. Expands your capacity and breadth immensely. Gives your head space to focus on what you care about.
Long-term, I hope to be rid of it.
Like a FitBit it’s a device that shows our life—our time—in a different perspective. Being stagnant, motionless, only moving to travel to the office, then back home at night. Use a FitBit for a month or two and we can observe the pattern. Keep pottering around, take breaks, walk, and we burn calories like nobody’s business. As soon as we spot the pattern the tool becomes redundant.
That’s what I’m hoping GTD does for me. Reflects on my life and resets my priorities. Changes habits such that I no longer need to organise.
In more concrete terms that means I’m creating. Solving difficult problems. Letting myself meander. Not falling into the trap of the busy worker.