GTD® (Getting Things Done) is a productivity system devised by renowned consultant David Allen which is aimed to help you systemize all your ideas and accomplish them with less effort. It’s a set of rules to let you remove useless thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on what’s important immediately.
When piling up all the complex information in our head, we treat our brain like a notebook. By filling our heads with thoughts about unfinished tasks, upcoming meetings and other commitments, we recklessly waste the ability of our brain to think, which prevents us from concentrating on real work.
To work as efficiently as possible, we must free our minds from anything unrelated to the task we perform at a given time. With GTD all information about all your tasks is stored in one place, so you can move from one task to another without any hesitation.
Getting Things Done system is based on 5 following principles:
One of the main principles of GTD is to write down everything. This way you can free up more mental space and use all its resources to work. Everything that requires your attention, all small and large tasks, important and insignificant messages, documents and other things that we are distracted and worried about must be recorded. Pull it out of your head and move it to where you can easily find it to make your consciousness cleaner.
After you have collected all the necessary information, it is time to analyze and process it. There should be no tasks like “Organize Conference.” Break it down into manageable chunks, e.g. to assemble a team, to prepare a budget, to book the venue, etc. With the vague list of tasks, we spend more time on figuring out what to do than on real execution.
Once you’ve processed all the tasks, you need to organize them into lists. This means grouping them by different categories and priorities. For instance, if there are tasks that can only be done in a certain place, then arrange them in separate categories like “Home”, “Office”, etc. If there is something that can be done within two minutes — do it right away and forget it.
The GTD methodology places great importance on the “Reflect” step. It is crucial to constantly revisit your list of tasks and optimize them. Determine where you’re going, review your next steps and your desired results. Check to see if they are consistent with your strategy as a whole. To-do lists quickly become outdated: something loses its relevance, something is postponed until better times. During your review, you should look thoroughly at each list. Are your tasks still up to date? Maybe some of them are already completed.
The last stage is the actual performance of the tasks. When everything is organized, you can start to fulfil your plans. Choose a task from the category you need, see what specific actions are required from you, and start working on it.
How to Use Flowlu to Get Things Done
To collect and organize all of your tasks and thoughts, you need a notebook, post-it notes, planner or any other tool that you usually utilize for capturing information. But remember that this tool should be easily accessible to record all the ideas as fast as you can. Flowlu’s task manager is inspired by “Getting Things Done” methodology and lets you convert your ideas into tasks instantly so you can concentrate on what needs to be done at the moment. It’s a perfect tool if you want to simplify your life, spend less time thinking about what you should do next and more time doing meaningful work. Let’s find out how to get things done in Flowlu.
Step 1: Record Everything
Often, people write down only the most important tasks and keep the rest in their working memory. But this is exactly how we overload our brain — even though these plans are insignificant and the brain cannot hold so much, it still tries to store it. To pull this information from your mind, you need to record absolutely all new tasks wherever they come to mind.
To do this, head to the “Tasks” section in Flowlu and use the “Quick Add Task” option to enter everything you need to do to the Inbox. Once the task name is typed in, hit enter, and the task will be automatically saved.
If a task requires additional description or related attachments, open the task and add this information. Use the checklists to ensure that nothing is missed out. You may also link a task to a project or workspace.
Step 2: Structure Your Tasks
Now, you need to define categories for tasks due to which you will be able to organize them. This way, you can focus only on necessary tasks given your current circumstances.
With Flowlu’s Task Manager, you can create any custom to-do lists. Just make sure that they fit you perfectly and you really use them. To customize the lists, go to “Tasks” and click the “Plus” button.
Here are several types of task arrangement to help you define your lists:
- Activity. In this type, each task list is a specific area of activity, e.g. marketing, sales, events, development, training, personal, and so on. For example, the tasks from the “Development” list will always be the highest priority for me, so I will perform them first thing in the morning.
- Place. These are the tasks to be performed in a particular place — office, home, anywhere. For example, watching a tutorial is better at home, in a more relaxed and calm atmosphere.
- Status. This type comprises the tasks that are performed in a certain mood or a state of mind. The task lists might be named such as “Complicated”, “Inspiration”, “Tired”. The tasks from the “Complicated” list should be performed with a fresh mind and in total silence. On the other hand, small, more mundane tasks from the “Tired” folder can be done at the end of the working day.
- Time. This type is a perfect fit for people who value every second of their working time. The folder names might include “5 minutes”, “30 minutes”, “3 hours,” etc. For instance, when all the important things for today are done and there are 15 minutes left till the end of the workday, you can perform tasks from the “15 minutes” folder.
- Action. Switching from one activity to another takes a lot of your time and energy. You can name your folders like “To Send”, “To Read”, “To Discuss”, and perform the same type of tasks in a row. So you don’t have to think if you sent or discussed everything, you just have to look at the right folder.
Now you need to distribute all the tasks by the lists created. To do this, just move the tasks to the desired list using the drag and drop.
Step 3: Decide When to Perform Tasks
Once everything is recorded and organized by lists, you can proceed to the next step. You have answered the “What should I do?” question. It is now time to answer the when-question. Some tasks cannot be defined by time, and the others must be done at certain dates, e.g. conferences, meetings, product presentations. To make it easier for you to focus on dates, Flowlu includes the following task folders:
|Today||These are the tasks to be completed or started today.|
|Tomorrow||These are the tasks that are to be completed or started tomorrow.|
|Next 7 days||These are the tasks to be done within 7 days from the current date.|
|Later||These are the tasks that are to be completed no sooner than in 7 days.|
|Next||These are the tasks that have no specific time frame, no start date, no end date. This means that they have to be done as soon as it is possible to do them. Following GTD, these are the Next Actions.|
Flowlu will not let you forget about overdue tasks either. They are always displayed at the top of the to-do list for today. This allows you to concentrate on what you need to do now, and not to worry about missing a deadline anymore.
Step 4: Delegate Tasks
The best way to do more is to delegate. You can easily assign a task to a teammate in the “Assigned to” folder. All delegated tasks are automatically placed there.
When an assignee completes a task, it automatically moves to the “Need my Approval” folder in your account. You can approve or reject it to request certain changes with one click.
Once the task has been finished and approved, it will be displayed as completed. In the “Completed Tasks” folder, you will always be able to quickly find any task to which you have been assigned using the search.
Step 5: Review To-Do Lists Regularly
Hooray, you have done a great job! But it is also important to regularly review your task lists, for example, on a weekly basis. With Flowlu, keeping your lists up to date will no longer make you feel stressed as the system sends instant notifications on important task updates. You will become more flexible in managing your time and complete more tasks with less effort.
By applying Getting Things Done principles, you can eliminate confusion over what you need to do next and free your mind for new ideas. It is a great tool that helps you get rid of stress and never miss a thing. But you need to remember that no system will be able to do all the work for you, so do not get too engaged in making lists. Remember to act.
If you ever have followed GTD principles, share your experience in the comments. What have you managed to accomplish and what goals GTD allowed you to achieve? If you are following other methods to organize your work, we’d love to learn more about it too.
Getting Things Done® and GTD® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.