What Is GTDŽ?
Due the abundance of information out there about "Getting Things Done" (GTD), David & Co. has responded with a web page that provides an official definition of this term:
After going thru all the informational overwhelm and various opinions about gtd all the time, it helps to reread the beginning of GTD book from time to time. I did just few days ago and it was very helpful for me.
Very good definition! I shall link to it from lifehack.org.
Thanks, LeonGTD. David has actually just blogged asking people that use "GTD" on their site to do this:
Originally Posted by LeonGTD
Originally Posted by DavidAllen
Splendid work CyberScribe!
Truer words were never spoken. An excellent overview of the GTD methodology - from 50,000 feet - all the way down to ground zero...
Thanks, GTDRoadKill (what a name!) -- the wordsmithing isn't mine -- thanks go to a number of folks in marketing and, of course, David himself with the critical insights and final touches. I agree it gives a good overview of what GTD is all about -- though I am still fond of the pithy summary I heard from David in the San Jose RoadMap seminar about why anyone would want to stop using psychic RAM and start using GTD -- he said, "[to] shut the monkey up." But untilt he day Wikipedia lists GTD next to a picture of the "speak no evil" monkey covering its mouth, I think this definition will do nicely.
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.
Last edited by moises; 01-23-2006 at 05:58 PM.
Reason: removed inadvertent repetition of the words "the word."
New official GTD definition.
The official GTD definition has been changed recently. Here is the current definition from http://www.davidco.com/what_is_gtd.php:
Originally Posted by DavidCo
NOT time management
I'm grateful for this latest one-page description of what GTD actually is.
I know what it is because I'm using it but I struggle to explain to others, whom I believe could benefit from it, what makes it different to any particular time-management system. I became very turned off by time management; all too often time management systems are just another way to cram more in and burn yourself out. Because of this I've been tending to recommend GTD by telling others what it's not.
GTD is a completely different because of the peace of mind and improvement of quality of life it brings. This new description will help me recommend it to others.