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Getting GTD

Today was my first try at David Allen's Getting Things Done--GTD in blog speak. I read about this method of staying on top of projects through Lifehacker and Steve Rubel. With work piling up after a week off and the new job getting more demanding, I thought it was time to see if GTD could help me.

I haven't read (or even purchased) the book, but took the recommendation of GTD evangelist Merlin Mann (43 Folders blog) to check out this PDF and this wiki. They were enough to inspire me to get started with GTD right away.

Even after one day, it's helped a lot. GTD's first step--getting stuff outside of your head and off your mind--was liberating. No, invigorating. Could it be that I won't have to deal again with that helpless, overwhelmed feeling when deadlines are crashing all around me? Maybe not, but today I felt more in control than I have in months.

I took an hour to just clear out everything I had been thinking about--commitments at home, work, church--and I wrote them all down in an MS Outlook note (which I sync with my Treo; no, I will not use Merlin's hipster PDA).

The stuff that I could do quickly--GTD's guideline says 2 minutes--I did right away. Again, that feeling of control was fantastic. Then I created tasks for everything in Outlook, which, again, I sync religiously.

GTD says to differentiate between projects and one-off tasks. Here's how I did that in Outlook: I created a task for each project, using ALL CAPS to show that it wasn't just a one-off task. Then, I created tasks for all the project steps, beginning each task entry with a one- to two-word label like "Newsletter:" or "White Paper:"

Empowerment feels good.

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