So my friend Michelle Lin was kind enough to solicit a “How I Work Smarter” piece on her excellent ALIEM blog. One of the things I mentioned in that piece was a book called Getting Things Done. I’ve since gotten a bunch of questions and comments about the book. I’d like to take a brief diversion from the main topic of EMCrit and discuss a bit about the book and productivity for docs and resuscitationists.
- Getting Things Done by David Allen (A new edition, the first in years will be out in 3-4 months)
- The Organized Mind
A clear mind eliminates stress and allows creativity, so…
Capture all the things that need to get done into a logical and trusted system outside of your head and off your mind, and…
Discipline yourself to make decisions about all the inputs you let into your life, so that you will always have a plan for next actions that you can implement or renegotiate at any moment
(altered from Mindzone Wiki)
Problems with the Book
- Mindset of the Author
- Based on an erstwhile paper-based world
- Can be read as Dogma
The Steps of GTD
1. Collection/Universal Capture
- Index Cards
- Drafts for IOS
- Paper Landing Station (The Traditional/Actual Inbox)
- Pocket for Web and IOS
What is it?
Is it an action, spam, or something non-actionable you want to keep?
- Decide if you want to Do it, Don’t do it, Delegate it, or Put it in your system
- Is it a project?
- What is the physical next action that must occur to bring you 1 step closer to completion
Next Actions & Projects
Things you just want to keep or references for actions
3. Organize-If you are not doing it right now, put it in the system
Only things that absolutely must happen at this date/time
Lists on Task Management System
Especially important to have a someday/maybe list, a waiting list, and have a thorough understanding of scheduled events.
- Try to process all email
- Kill all paper
- Clean off Desktop
- Look at Calendar
- Look at Focus and Inbox
- Make a To-Do Card
- Pack for next day
(this list is from Mindzone wiki)
- Loose Papers
- business cards, receipts, etc. – put in in basket for processing
- Process Your Notes
- Previous Calendar Data
- review for remaining action items, reference information, etc.
- Upcoming Calendar
- Empty Your Head
- write down any new projects, action items, etc.
- Review “Projects” (and Larger Outcome) Lists
- ensure that at least one kick-start action is in your system for each
- Review “Next Actions” Lists
- Mark off completed actions & review for reminders of further action steps to capture
- Review “Waiting For” List
- Records appropriate actions for any needed follow-up & check off received items
- Review Any Relevant Checklists
- Review “Someday/Maybe” List
- Check for any projects that may have become active and transfer them to “Projects” & delete items no longer of interest
- Review “Pending” and Support Files
- Browse through all work-in-progress support material to trigger new actions, completions, and waiting-fors
Higher Level Goals and a super-thorough version of weekly review
Vision, Life, Clean Out All Files, Am I going in the right direction?
Happens naturally if you use the method above. However, I alter the canonical method with my daily to-do card and the focus section of nirvana
The Initial Dump (this comes first, but is being discussed last)
You will fall off the wagon
Not a problem, redo the initial dump and start up again
Here is a pdf of the simplified workflow from DavidAllenCo.
A more elaborate version is here:
Other People’s Take
- Official GTD Site
- Minezone Wiki Summary
- Patrick Rhone’s Version (a bit outdated, but concepts are good. pdf)
- The Email Charter (not really gtd, but worth a look)
- Want a poster of the image you see above from Aaron Levie, just go to his site
- A Pattern Language for GTD
Things to Do Immediately
Please tell me your thoughts on this episode. Use the comments section below
Update: Numerous readers have also recommended doit.im