Introduction to GTD

I always forgot something. When I was in school, I forgot that I needed to take a notebook or protractor for class tomorrow. At the institute, I forgot about laboratory work and the deadlines for completing term papers. Something very important constantly flew out of my head, and I did not know what to do with it. Dad told me then:
Write it down. Record everything.

To some extent, he was right. Paper does not forget. It can be lost, burned, torn. But if something is written on it, then it can no longer disappear spontaneously. Imagine the situation, you wrote down in your notebook the date of your anniversary with your girlfriend. A month passes, another, third ... The eleventh is coming to an end and you suddenly remember that you soon need to run away to buy flowers and compose congratulations. But when exactly? Tenth ... or seventeenth ... it seems that it was the same date that the first release of windows 95 saw the light of day. Or maybe 98 ... Damn, of course, you forgot (who remembers such things the first time?). You are almost ready to sprinkle ash on your head and go to be shot, hastily compose excuses and assure you that the next time you will write it right on your forehead ... Stop. You wrote it down! You are saved. You climb into a notebook and the page is ... blank! Notepad forgot the information you put into it! Unbelievable! And what is the result? As a result, you quarreled with a girl, your personal life is going downhill ... An unpleasant situation, right? It’s good that this does not happen, and in real life we ​​know for sure that having written down information somewhere, we can not worry that it will disappear.

But this is not a guarantee that you can use the information. There are several reasons.
  • You may lose the notebook itself as a storage medium;
  • You may forget to look into a notebook or look into it too late;
  • You may not find the record you need, among the rest of the records;
  • You may not understand what is written there, because you were too lazy to write in detail.

Here, for example, what does it mean to “Call N. at 10PP if in G”? Call Natalia at ten in the afternoon if I'm in town? Or if she will be in the city? The value of such incomprehensible information is small. Moreover, the longer you wrote this garbage, the greater the likelihood that you will forget what you wanted to say.
And this is only a small part of the reasons that may prevent you from finding what you need. How to be? Perhaps notepad is not the best idea and I need something else? More suited to doing business? And here (right here, right on this place!) You understand that all you need is a cool organizer with a diary, an alphabetical list, a bunch of branches, lined pages and a cool bookmark that can be fixed anywhere. But alas, the same fate awaits him. I know a lot of people who use organizers and daily logs while doing business quite successfully. Such people are not fiction. But experience shows that these same people could easily get along with an ordinary notebook. And if this is not our case, then we need to look for something else.

And this is different. The GTD system, which was invented by one smart American, David Allen. Here is one of his quotes:
Army Wisdom: Give credit to what is moving. Drag motionless. Can't drag - paint. ”

And this man is teaching us how to deal with business? Yes, that’s what he does. So, GTD or Getting Things Done. Trying to retell the entire book in one blog article is a completely futile exercise. Therefore, I will briefly tell you what GTD has become for me now, when I can’t imagine myself without it. So…

You should always have at hand a tool for recording your thoughts, deeds and ideas.

It can be a dictaphone, tablet, phone, player, anything, if only it would allow you to quickly write down an idea and know that it will not go anywhere. I agree, a pretty obvious thesis. But the main problem lies precisely in it. You should have a “basket” in which all your affairs that need to be done in the future are placed (it doesn’t matter how far away). This basket should always be with you, wherever you are. For example, the most valuable thoughts come to me during the morning shower and I really regret that I can not immediately put them into the iPhone. You have to ask someone to record it, and then record it yourself. In GTD terminology, such a basket is called Inbox. What is the main difference between Inbox and the usual to-do list?
Inbox does not require any processing. You just have to fix your idea. You will deal with it later.

It would seem a paradise for lovers of procrastination. An overcrowded inbox is what awaits so many who decide to try GTD. They understand that the inbox has become very similar to their many todo lists, and they are throwing this bad job. They simply did not read to the end.

Lists of specific actions

A very important point. Each case should be divided into several small steps that will lead to the final result. Consider the situation. You are driving in a car when suddenly a stone falls into the glass of your car and the glass breaks. Unpleasant situation. Having recovered from the shock and having properly walked around the relatives of road service employees, you begin to look for a solution to the problem. It would seem that everything is simple. Need to replace the glass. And here the key moment comes. You could take your todo-list and add the “replace glass” business there. In general, it is logical, but that's just most likely you will begin to replace the glass very soon. This line in the list will oppress you, stop you from living, you will constantly carry over this business until, finally, your patience does not burst, you do not begin to do anything in order to replace this unfortunate glass.

Stop. Let's stop for a while, put the “replace glass” case in the inbox (so as not to forget) and take a close look at the situation. You need to start doing something. What exactly? We will mentally go all the way from hitting a stone until the moment you leave the car service with new glass. You need:
  1. Find a suitable car service
  2. Find the car's VIN so that you can order glass
  3. Call the service, explain the situation and order glass
  4. Wait for his arrival
  5. Bring a car for repair
  6. Wait until the repair is completed.
  7. Pay for the service
  8. Pick up the car.

It turned out 8 steps. And this is the minimum. Each of these eight steps can be done in one sitting. You do not need to interrupt in the middle of any of these steps. Most likely, the implementation of each of them will not take you more than an hour. And most importantly - it’s completely clear what needs to be done! This is what is called the "list of concrete actions." Now you can with good conscience drop the to-do lists in the inbox and move on to the next item in the program. The beauty of GTD is that after a month every more or less simple matter will begin to unfold in your brain into concrete actions completely spontaneously.

Each case from the list of specific actions should be sorted into context and project.

Here we come close to distinguishing the GTD from everything else. Contexts and projects are 50% of GTD (for me personally). If you understand what it is, then problems with disassembling the inbox no longer arise. In this article, I will not consider these concepts in detail. So far, we can assume that the context is a description of a certain state in which it will be appropriate to begin to carry out the work, and the project is this very main goal (“change the glass” from the previous paragraph). Remember we have 8 steps in Inbox and actually “replace the glass”? It’s like you are doing the convert to project operation for the “replace glass” element from inbox, and you are subordinating 8 steps to this project. It turned out quite a working scheme.

Now that the project is created, for each case you need to set your own context. The topic of contexts is extremely extensive and 100% individual. Even if I give a list of my contexts here, you are unlikely to get an objective idea of ​​what a list of your contexts should be. Moreover, I have been continuously improving this list for a year now, trying to ensure that it reflects the real situation in my life.

I'll try to give a definition of the context as clear as possible:
The context in GTD is a certain state in which you are in and which is necessary for the performance of an action.

Conceivable and complicated. I will try to explain on the fingers. Suppose you need to call your insurance agent. What is the minimum set for this? Most likely, this is just a mobile phone. So, whenever you have a moment and you have a phone in your hands, open your GTD scheduler and look at the “phone” context. You will immediately see a list of your calls. Second example. You need to buy a heating pad (I just recently bought a heating pad and I know for sure that you can buy it only in a pharmacy). You start the context of the “pharmacy” and add it to the “buy a heating pad” business. It's really cool if your GTD scheduler supports GPS context coordinates. In this case, you can also indicate which pharmacy you need (I, for example, indicated a pharmacy on the map, by which I always go home). Now that your device detects that you are near a pharmacy, and you have things there, it will let you know and you will come in and buy a heating pad. Sounds good, right? And most importantly, it really works! I will definitely write more about contexts in a separate article.

Instead of a conclusion

The review article turned out to be somewhat longer than I expected. But I managed to describe the most, in my opinion, the main differences between the GTD system and other ways of doing things. The goal I pursued was to generate interest in the system and show people who suffer from constant forgetfulness that there is a real way out. Try and achieve high performance!

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