You can almost see it now. The picture is beginning to take shape. You already know what it will look like — a set of eight antique cars on an octagonal board. After all, this is your favorite jigsaw puzzle.
The cover of the box illustrates the completed puzzle. You could use it to help fit the pieces together if only you still knew where to find it. Instead, you are working from a vague impression in your memory.
The music starts and everyone begins to walk around the circle of chairs. You are focused and alert, listening for any clue that the music might suddenly stop. As soon as it does, you will need to rush to the nearest chair to sit before there are no chairs left.
What does it mean to save time? No one can put aside three hours from today and choose to use it next week.
When someone says they want to save time, she typically means that more efficiency is desired so that more time will become available for other things. Those things might include enjoying more quality time with family, reading more articles about time-saving tips, or perhaps focusing additional time on more highly valued tasks.
When I first began using GTD®, the first behavior that produced a feeling of clarity for me was Capture. I have an average memory, but I frequently forget thoughts I had only moments ago. Perhaps this is because I often have numerous additional thoughts in quick succession and I just cannot retain all of them. It turns out that nobody can — at least not without intentionally using memory tricks (which is not something that I typically do).
In my last article, I wrote about the time-consuming nature of using the Getting Things Done® method of productivity. Often it can seem to take more time to maintain my GTD® system than it is worth. To look at this another way, despite being worth it, I often don’t have the required time to maintain my GTD® system.
The weekly review has been my scapegoat. With the difficulty of finding a two-hour block of time for quiet reflection, every week, I stated that even when I do squeeze in a weekly review, I am often so low on energy and focus that the outcome of the review is less than optimal.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen is the singular most influential productivity book that I have ever read. The methodology that is laid out provides me with a framework to easily track all of my current obligations, remind myself of projects that I may want to do someday, and most importantly decide what is the best thing for me to be doing at any given moment.
GTD®, as it is known, recommends certain behaviors to accomplish this organizational wizardry. The five stages of GTD® are Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Engage. Each stage identifies certain steps you must follow in order to successfully implement that part of the process. Some steps are simple and straightforward while others are more challenging and complex.
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