My story begins with spittle. Two years and eight months ago my wife and I became first-time parents. We were the proud new owners of an adorable spittle machine.
This new machine had many more features than simply producing spittle. It could also manufacture copious amounts of other liquid and semi-liquid substances.
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).
I have enjoyed Sherlock Holmes stories in various forms since I was in elementary school when I first read The Hound of the Baskervilles. It left such an impression on me that I can still see the cover drawing of the well-worn paperback on my parent’s bookshelf. But I have to admit, the BBC series Sherlock is perhaps my favorite adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes character — it is witty, unapologetic, and super fun to watch!
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.
One of the great things about GTD is how every person can implement the system in a way that makes sense for them. It is a personal choice. A statement that represents how you work and how you think. No matter what tool, or tools, you choose, it is your choice to find something effective.