The GTD Method is the acronym for the English term “Getting Things Done” or, in free translation, “doing things” and consists of focusing on one action at a time to have more results, and can be applied both in life professional as well as personal.
Every day, our mind is bombarded with countless information, which ends up interfering with our ability to perform important tasks. With that in mind, the GTD method was developed to ensure more productivity in our routine.
The methodology can be applied in both professional and personal life, and is a way to organize ideas, manage time and deliver better results within the proposed deadlines.
Have you never heard about the GTD method or still have questions about how to use it? Keep reading to learn!
What is the GTD Method?
GTD is the acronym for the English term “Getting Things Done” or, in free translation, “doing things”. It is based on a book written in 2001 by American David Allen. In Brazil, the publication won the title of “ The Art of Making It Happen ”.
David Allen published this book after 30 years of research — and practice — based on the argument that the mind needs to be free to create, rather than worrying about retaining all the information it receives throughout the day.
The idea is to balance personal and professional life in order to organize chaos, regain control of actions and make better decisions.
It is important to emphasize that, in this case, productivity does not mean doing more, but rather giving your best in each task, being 100% present in what you propose to do.
Who is this method aimed at?
Do you have a lot of activities to do each day? Do you have a habit of doing several things at the same time and suddenly realize that it’s almost time to end the workday? Is accumulating overtime , for days in a row, something routine in your life?
Does your team have a series of tasks accumulated? Does decision making happen at the last minute? Are meetings tiring and poorly organized? It’s time to apply the GTD method!
Productive professionals are those who make the most of their available time. If you have 40 hours a week, your tasks should be productively organized in that time frame. But how to achieve this?
It is essential that, when performing a task, the professional is truly immersed in it and not doing a thousand things at the same time, as has become common in the daily lives of many companies.
Believe me: focusing on one action at a time will provide much more results than insisting on performing several functions at the same time.
We know how difficult this can be. And this is precisely where the GTD method comes in. It will help you empty your mind of what is not important and stay focused on the task at hand.
How can the GTD method be applied in practice?
Now you will know tools to start applying the GTD methodology, in practice!
The first step is to always have a notepad close by, so you can write down the information and focus on what matters.
Instead of keeping everything in your head, it is necessary to empty your mind and transfer all ideas to a notebook or agenda . It will be much easier to list priorities, set goals and organize your activity calendar.
For those who prefer applications, it is worth knowing some of the tools below:
- Evernote : digital notebook to take notes, organize information and bookmark links to read later;
- Trello : task management tool that allows you to organize tasks in a list, in addition to including project details, due dates, responsible members, among other details;
- Google: has a series of tools that go beyond the search engine. The company offers a calendar, meeting app, drive (for cloud data storage ) and collective agendas.
It is important to remember that in order to use these applications in a way that they can effectively help you to apply the GTD methodology it is essential to have a good internet connection .
What are the steps of GTD?
The GTD method consists of five steps:
- Collect/capture information;
- Clarify and process data;
- Organize, reflect and review;
- Put into practice.
But, calm down, we will explain exactly how each one works.
Do you know when you need to focus on some task, but you can’t, because you focus on other “urgent” tasks, which are still pending? This is what David Allen calls open circuits.
When we talk about emptying the mind, we are talking precisely about capturing that information that is taking the focus away. Write everything down in your GTD tool (which can be good old notepad or one of the indicated apps).
And anything goes! Any planned task goes into your notes. So instead of thinking about it all day, you’ll invest energy in that idea at the right time.
The list needs to be revised, to cross off tasks that have already been completed and add new things.
2. Clarify / process
At this stage, it will not be necessary to perform tasks, only the quick ones. The author of “The Art of Making It Happen” recommends using the two-minute rule: if the action can be done in two minutes, do it now! Otherwise, leave it for later or delegate.
Actions that cannot be performed within that time frame should go on your to-do list. At this point, make a careful analysis: What is your responsibility in the face of these tasks? Is it your responsibility or someone else’s?
The third step of GTD is to organize the to-do list. You will need a calendar, to set deadlines, and to define in which category the task should be classified.
- List of projects: actions that need more than one step to be carried out completely;
- Everyday Actions: Routine tasks that need to be done constantly, even if they don’t have a due date. Here, the ideal is to group tasks that can be done at once, such as answering a series of emails or scheduling meetings for the week;
- Special attention: tasks that need to be delegated and that don’t depend on you to happen. Here, it’s time to leverage your team members’ best skills .
Write down everything on your list or calendar and leave time in the day to solve possible unforeseen events.
The open circuit does not stop. So once a week, review your tasks. What information needs to be updated? Do any deadlines need to be revised? Cross off the tasks already completed and organize the to-do list for the next week.
According to David Allen, Friday mornings are the best time to do this review. But it’s up to you to set the most suitable time on your schedule.
5. Put it into practice
With all these tips, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. Use your lists to efficiently set deadlines and priorities. And when performing one task, forget about the others. Be truly present in every activity and always give your best.
Tasks must be performed as per the planned lists, at the time you set them to be done. It is very important to be disciplined, so that the GTD method really works. So, no procrastinating!
Avoid working out of the plan as much as possible. Changes happen and lists can be revised, but this may not be a regular part of your routine. The more priorities that come up at the last minute, the more difficult it will be to maintain a method of concentration and efficient deliveries.
What are the advantages of GTD?
The main benefit of the GTD method is to increase productivity, from the simplest to the most complex tasks. The team begins to understand their daily demands qualitatively and quantitatively, which only brings gains. Furthermore:
- It is an important factor in reducing stress, as the focus remains, at all times, on one task at a time;
- Actions gain a different meaning and are no longer performed on autopilot;
- The team feels freer to organize the routine;
- People become more creative and organized.
See other tips for using the GTD method
It is very important to point out that the GTD method is not miraculous. It encourages the change of habits, the creation of a new organizational culture and the practice of a more organized, productive and even healthier routine.
Remember that results will not appear overnight. You must count on the cooperation of the other people who work with you, so that everyone follows the method and works in an aligned way.
Start by always having a notebook nearby, to organize your ideas, and gradually start following the five steps of the methodology.
Keep in mind that the entire process can be tweaked and that when done cyclically, the results will be constantly evolving.