There have been a number of posts addressing the question of how you explain, in a minute or two, GTD to someone who's never heard of it. I am wild about GTD so this is an important issue for me. I love to proselytize and I am always looking for better methods for diffusing information about this incredible innovation.
The definition provided by Davidco is a useful start. I took great interest in seeing what they left in and what they took out.
I have no trouble telling people that I love GTD and that it is a wonderful boon to a busy professional. So I would edit out much of the motivational material in the Davidco definition. But after I tell people how great GTD is, I do have difficulty telling them pithily and precisely what GTD is. As I read it, the definitional content of the Davidco "definition" is:
Sophisticated without being confining, the subtle effectiveness of GTD lies in its radically common sense notion that with a complete and current inventory of all your commitments , organized and reviewed in a systematic way, you can focus clearly, view your world from optimal angles and make trusted choices about what to do (and not do) at any moment. GTD embodies an easy, step-by-step and highly efficient method for achieving this relaxed , productive state. It includes:
- Capturing anything and everything that has your attention
- Defining actionable things discretely into outcomes and concrete next steps
- Organizing reminders and information in the most streamlined way, in appropriate categories, based on
how and when you need to access them
- Keeping current and "on your game" with appropriately frequent reviews of the six horizons of your commitments (purpose, vision, goals, areas of focus, projects, and actions)
I personally could not use this to present GTD to the uninitiated because I believe that it relies too heavily on jargon understood only by the cognoscenti. I would avoid using the word "capture" because it presumes too much prior GTD knowledge. I would avoid the word "actionable" because it is ugly and repellent to all nonlawyers. (DA says everything either attracts or repels us, in the GTD Fast audio series.) I like the bullet point on organizing. I would avoid listing the "six horizons" since, again, in this context they amount to little more than jargon, if the reader is not already familiar with GTD.
I would take the above and rewrite it something like this:
I have tried to take the Davidco bullet points and translate them into language easily understood by non-GTDers.
GTD is a planning system that has you:
- move all of your commitments to do things out of your head and onto a written list,
- formulate those listed commitments as discrete actions,
- group those listed commitments into categories, so that whatever situation you are in, you can find a group of listed commitments appropriate to that situation,
- review your list at least once a week to check off completed actions and write down new commitments to act.
The most obvious criticism is that I do not give sufficient attention to nonrunway activities. What David says clearly on GTD Fast is that the runway is the focus of his program. He says that conceptually it makes sense to start with defining the purpose of your life and work down from there. But he has discovered empirically that this method does not work. He has found that people spontaneously engage in higher order planning after they have successfully incorporated their runway commitments into their trusted system. That is the reason I have chosen to minimize nonrunway activities in my pithy definition.