111: Getting Things Done (GTD) for Leaders | with David Allen

by Joe Sherwood on May 1, 2015

Getting-Things-DoneBeing an engaging leader starts with engaging your own work and life optimally. Five years ago, Jesse had given up on the umpteenth system he’d tried for organization and productivity. As he went back to the drawing board, he discovered that a new approach had taken the world by storm. It was called Getting Things Done (GTD), and five years later, it still guides Jesse’s personal productivity as well as our project management at Aspendale Communications. Now, a completely re-written and updated edition of the bestselling book has been released. The book is Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. Jesse and David discuss what’s in the new edition, talk through some of the most powerful and easy-to-implement GTD practices, troubleshoot some of the pitfalls, and provide advice how to engage the rest of the team with GTD.

Examples of the Art of GTD

  • Mind like water (Get stuff out of your head, into a reliable system, so your brain doesn’t feel pressured to hold onto it. Your brain is for having ideas, not for holding onto ideas.)
  • Clarify outcomes
  • Decide next actions

Examples of the Practice (“Tricks”) of GTD

  • For actionable items: Two-minute rule (Dump it, Do it, Delegate it, or Defer it)
  • For nonactionable items: Labeler and one or more filing cabinets (General Reference files, Project Support files, etc. – with files simply alphabetized)

Tricks That Took Jesse Multiple Tries to Successfully Implement

  • Cloud-based organizer for Next Actions (since 2012 has Basecamp for client projects and Toodledo for all other tasks)
  • Weekly Review

Tricks That Jesse Re-discovered after Reading the 2015 Edition of Getting Things Done

  • Project List vs. Next Actions lists
  • Weekly Processing vs. Weekly Planning
  • Email Processing vs. Email Replies
  • Contexts

The Getting Things Done steps:

Capture—collect what has your attention

Clarify—process what it means (“what’s the next action?”)

Organize—put it where it belongs

Reflect—review frequently (weekly is appropriate for most items)

Engage—make the best action choices based on the context, available time and energy, and priority

Allen QuoteResources Mentioned in This Episode

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