“Getting Things Done”

Today I would like to tell you about a very effective way to organize your work. It is the “Getting Things Done” approach from David Allen. Some people argue that due to its simplicity it does not deserve to be called methodology. In my view this is a completely academic argument. On the contrary I would even argue that one of its main success factors is exactly that simplicity.

In a nutshell, whenever a new task comes in, you do one of the following things with it

  • You work on it right away
  • You delegate it to someone else
  • You decide to work on it later
  • You don’t do anything but ignore it

The nice thing is that this approach works very well with emails (most of which represent a task anyway). To make things even easier, there is a nice Outlook Plug-in that automates steps that would need to be carried out manually otherwise. There is also a book describing things in a great more detail.

I personally never read more than the first 50 or so pages, because the core principles are so easy that they fit onto a few pages. Perhaps I missed some great points and would like to hear from you if you think so. I did, however, spend a few bucks on the Outlook plug-in which is a great tool.

One tip for the plug-in here: Set up a rule that puts you on CC for every mail that goes out. You can then either have it sitting in your inbox as a reminder. Still better is to treat it just like any other email and create a “Waiting for” task from it, while you wait for a response.

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1 thought on ““Getting Things Done”

  1. Hello Christoph,

    I use the tool WikidPad for the GTD approach.
    WikidPad is a Python-based stand-alone wiki Todo / PIM tool appropriate for capturing unstructured knowledge in the beginning of a project that might tie up later.
    I added some user extensions for GTD, especially the one from http://www.ziemski.net/wikidpad/

    What I like it to have text information plus todos/activities/contacts all interwoven, but you have special views to extract the tagged information in a structured way.

    Try it out.

    Georg from your old two-letter IT company …..

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