Getting Things Done

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wikipedia:Getting things done:

Unlike other time management experts, Allen does not start his emphasis on setting priorities. Instead he advocates creating lists of tasks that are specific to a context, for example, having a list of telephone calls to make or errands to do downtown. He also suggests that any new task which can be completed in less than two minutes should be done immediately. The psychology of GTD is based on making it easy and fun to store, track and retrieve all the information related to the things you need to get done.

GSD System

Joe's Goals- Free Online Goal Tracking

creature of habit log | Ask MetaFilter


Software available -- Nice comparison

Tracks (Rails)

Tracks (Rails) edit

Kinkless GTD


Depends on: OmniOutliner

Environment: Mac OS X

Kinkless GTD: Allen's Getting Things Done ideas implemented in software. Looks pretty good.

Three cool tricks in Kinkless GTD | 43 Folders

kgtd - Kinkless ( Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

Kinkless GTD is a free set of Applescripts that work with OmniOutliner Pro to create a framework for implementing David Allen’s Getting Things Done task-management methodology. If that doesn’t make sense right away, don’t worry. I made a movie: [1]. ...

Task Shorthand Syntax

The syntax works as follows:

  • Task Summary > Project Name @ Context

You can leave out any of those items, but the need to be in that order for now. So you could enter:

  • Task Summary > Project Name (will go to a project, but will be inactive as it has no context)


  • Task Summary @ Context (will go to your “default new task” location as set in kGTD Settings… “Inbox” by default, but can be “!Single Tasks” or any project name)


  • Task Summary (goes to the default task location and has no context set)

Project names

The task shorthand also tries to be clever about guessing parts of projects and contexts. You can type just the beginning of a project name and the task will go to the first project kGTD finds that starts with that. Thus, if you have a project named “Clean up Office” you could use:

  • File papers > Clean @ work

I tend to prepend my projects with little shorthand codes that allow me to send tasks to them easily.

Context names

Finally, the task shorthand can also guess the context if you just enter part of it. So if you have 5 contexts that all start with mac, you can enter just the last “unique” bit of the context. Thus, if your contexts include:

  • mac-design
  • mac-write
  • mac-research

You could use a task shorthand entry like this:

  • Design new logo @ design

That task would be set to the “mac-design” context unless you had an entirely separate context named “design” as well.

Miscellaneous/Ideas/Tips : Mozai:

Something that helps me is a clock with an hourly chime. I frequently get focused on something, get distracted but still have that same narrow focus. When the chime goes off, I stop whatever it is I'm doing for a short while, and do something else. Usually this is stepping outside, and looking at my to-do list. If what I was doing isn't on my to-do list, then I change what I'm doing to something that /is/ on my list.
Stopping myself with the chime is annoying ("obey the clock," I will mutter to myself), and it feels disappointing to break concentration, but I find I really am more productive by taking breaks to reassess whatever it is I'm doing. : parma

For me, a small timer (I use TakeABreak) that forces you to take a break every while can help me focus.
I work 10minutes full force on a task, whether it can be finished in that time or not. Timer goes off, I click "Take A Break" button which I have set to 2 minutes, during which I force myself to stretch/break. Then alarm goes off, I get back to completing tasks until the 10 minute alarm goes off. (I can get lots done in a single hour - and the periods fit well - 5x10min=50min and 5x2min=10min time slots ==> 60 minutes.)
Once I start moving on getting things done earlier in the day, I tend to be able to get into producing a lot. The key is those 10 minutes, when I can block all the distractions floating around in my mind (tasks I think I might be neglecting/forgetting, etc.) and have a clean mental slate so to speak, so I can do nothing else but work.

How to Actually Execute Your To-Do List: or, Why Writing It Down Doesn’t Actually Get It Done ( Retrieved on 2007-05-11 11:18.

... “I start, but I get distracted and never finish.” If you start, you’ve already made a big step towards finishing. Now you just need to work on the distractions. My suggestions won’t be popular, but they work:

  • Small tasks. I mentioned this above, but it’s really important to repeat here. If you are getting distracted, it may be because you are working too long on a single task or project. To remain focused, do only a small task — you are more likely to stay on task. If the task takes a long time, focus on only doing 15-20 minutes of it.
  • Single-task. Don’t allow yourself to do multiple tasks at the same time. Just do the one task before you. If you tend to do email, IM, surf the web, read your RSS feeds, talk on the phone and all of that while doing a task, you will inevitably be distracted from a task. Do one task at a time. If you feel yourself being pulled from the task, stop yourself. And bring yourself back.
  • Unplug. The biggest distractions come from connectivity. Email, feeds, IM, Twitter, phones. Unplug from these connections while you’re working on your single task. This is always an unpopular suggestion, but before you reject it, give it a try. Turn everything off, and try to focus on one task. You’ll get a lot more done, I guarantee you. Right now, I’m writing this post while disconnected from the Internet. It’s much easier to concentrate.
  • Clear your desk. Distractions can come from visual clutter. It can be worth it to clear everything off your desk (see 3 Steps to a Permanently Clear Desk). Also clear your walls and your computer desktop, and only work on one program at a time if possible.
  • Focus. Once your desk is clear and you unplug, and you’re working on that single task, really put all of your concentration on it. Pour your energies into that task, and see if you can get it done quickly. You might even get lost in it, and achieve that highly touted (deservedly so) state of mind known as “flow”.
  • Take breaks. It can help you to focus for a short amount of time on a single task, and use a time to help you focus, and then to take a break. This allows you to reboot your brain. Then, get back to work and focus on the next task.
“I often don’t feel like doing any work at all. The idea of work seems horrible and I never start doing anything.” I know this feeling well. It plagues us all, and there’s no one good answer. However, here are some suggestions:
  • Groom yourself. If you work from home, take a shower. Often the act of grooming ourselves can make us feel much better.
  • Take a walk. I find that a little walk can get my blood pumping, refresh my mind, and allow me to think about what I really want to do today. It might not be what you need, but it’s worth a shot.
  • Exercise. Similarly, exercise can make you feel great. A jog in the park, a short strength workout, some pilates, or meditation … these things get your mood up and get you feeling productive and happy. Try it out — you might feel more like doing stuff when you’re done.
  • Again, think of opportunities. Think about tomorrow — not tomorrow as in the distant future, but tomorrow as in the day after today. Imagine yourself looking back on today from tomorrow. Will you be glad you laid around? Or would you be happier if you did something, and took advantage of the opportunities in front of you today? It’s useful to think in terms of your future self — because what we do today will open up opportunities and new roads for tomorrow’s us.
  • Baby steps. Don’t think in terms of having to tackle an entire work day, or an entire list of stuff to do. That’s overwhelming. Just think of doing one thing. That’s all you have to do — just that one thing. Make it something small and easy, and ideally something fun and rewarding. Focus on that easy task. Once you get started, you might be more willing to do another thing. Then another.
  • Find fun stuff to do. If you just have boring or unpleasant things to do, you won’t feel like doing them. Instead, change your path for today — see if you can find something that’s fun or exciting, but still moves you forward on a project or goal. That might be what you need to get you jump-started to do other stuff — or you might instead only spend the day doing only fun stuff (as long as it moves you forward — don’t just play solitaire or WoW).
  • Commit thyself. If motivation is your problem, commit yourself to making some progress with a goal or project today, or every day this week — tell all your family and friends, write it in your blog, or join the Zen Habits forum — it’s a great motivator. Then hold yourself accountable by reporting to others what you did today.
  • Rewards. Tell yourself that if you just do that first task, you’ll get a nice ice cream sundae. Or that you can buy a book, or DVD. Whatever your reward, use it to motivate yourself to just get started. Then let the rest flow from there.

Sources of information / Links

See also


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