I've been using GTD for about 6 months now. It has really helped me get better organized and I feel like I'm getting more things done than in the past. But last week I was given one very important project. I'm a computer programmer and I had to basically write a program from scratch in a week. Normally I work on several different things at once and my deadlines aren't usually this tight. I was told to work on nothing else, this application was the highest priority and I could defer everything else until after that week. The amazing thing is this really happened, a couple of times people asked me to do something else, but I told them it would have to wait until next week and they were cool with it.
So I began Monday by mapping out my project in a word file as I normally do. My every intention was to follow the usual GTD system of creating a project and pulling out next actions to put on my lists. After spending about 2 hours planning out the project, I then immediately plunged into writing code. I didn't stop until Thursday evening when the app was done, one day early! I realized at a certain point that I wasn't doing the GTD thing. I didn't write down a single next action. Most of the thoughts or changes I made to the original project plan pretty much stayed in my head, I didn't bother writing it down anywhere. I felt any additional overhead was too much. I did look at my project file from time to time to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but for the most part, everything just flowed, one task after another without a break except for eating, sleeping, etc. The one GTD thing I did was check my tickler every morning to make sure there was nothing super urgent that I couldn't put off until the following week (there wasn't).
It was a little strange working outside of my organizational framework for a whole week, but I found that writing down tasks and keeping track of things that way created too much overhead and I couldn't miss my deadline. It was also nice to get into a flow like that and concentrate on one thing for a week. By the end of it I felt like I was in a zone that I don't normally operate in. Working on small pieces of several different large projects don't really allow this kind of flow.
I'm not sure what to make of this. I went back to using GTD this week, but I'm wondering if it is worth always following all the steps.