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GTD- Get To Details

I’m a fan of productivity systems and especially GTD, Getting Things Done by David Allen. I am by no means a GTD purist- aside from continuously tweaking my structures (another blog post on this coming) I insist on keeping separate existence systems for work and home, even using separate tools in each environment.

One of the things I noticed as I implemented Getting Things Done was that I had a tasks which never got completed. When I really looked at them it was because they weren’t actually tasks they were projects, sometimes even involving other people for some of the steps. When they were all bundled together as one task it could seem so big as to be overwhelming or impenetrable. But when I broke them into separate, discreet and doable tasks they suddenly progressed. The un-doable got done.

So now my mnemonic for GTD is “Get To Details”. And what I’ve noticed is that once you get to details it’s easy and natural for things to get done.

If you find you have things hanging out forever on your to-do list (or however you manage your commitments) maybe it’s time to step back and have a look at it. One of two things is likely-

  1. you aren’t actually committed to doing that thing in which case it’s time to acknowledge that you aren’t going to do it and then do what you need to do to be able to remove it from your list- probably have conversations with whomever you promised it to in the first place or is expecting you to complete it.
  2. or like me you haven’t done sufficient thinking to break it down into steps that you (or someone else) can actually complete. It’s time to step back and do the thinking. Break it down into as many small discreet tasks as required. Then you just start with the first task and complete it and then the next until they are all done, one little task at a time.
Get to details, it works.