GTD – 1 Year Later

Well, it’s right about a year since my initial GTD kick got under way, and it’s about time for a review.

What Has Worked

  1. Your Brain Is Not A To-Do List: I don’t know how I ever managed to come close to tracking all my responsibilities in my head, at least not without it swelling to the size of a watermelon.
  2. Next-Action Oriented Thinking: Projects are much easier to move along if you know the one, clearly defined, physical action that will cause forward progress. Rather than having things languish in “Well I don’t know what to do next” status, I always know what needs to be done.
  3. The Weekly Review: It took a while to turn this practice into a habit, and I’m still probably not as good with it as I should be. But it has helped immensely in setting goals for the coming week and ensuring that no project sits unnoticed.

What Still Needs Work

  1. Operating At Altitudes Above 10,000 Feet: While I’ve gotten pretty good at organizing my daily tasks and projects, what is still missing is some overall goals for the coming year, the coming decade, my life, etc. The truth is, I have so much to do at what David Allen calls the “Runway Level” that it’s been altogether too easy to ignore this issue.
  2. That (Dreaded?) Someday/Maybe List: To be honest, I don’t even have one at the moment! Yes, I know, I am ashamed. Here I am, trying to be something of a productivity geek, and I don’t have one of the core parts of the GTD system. *Smacks hand* I think this really goes hand in hand with what I’ve said above, in that I’ve gotten lost in the day-to-day management.
  3. GTD In My Life Outside Of Work: Although I have improved since my last post on the subject, it’s still a weak area. I still haven’t quite found the perfect way to integrate these principles in my home life, especially the idea of universal capture. Example: I’m sitting reading a book, and my wife asks me to deal with the kitty litter. Do I stop reading immediately and write it down, or e-mail myself? Or do I just get a wooden box and have her throw things in it, much like an inbox? Anyone have suggestions?

So there it is, my one year review. Instead of being bummed that I haven’t gotten it quite right yet, instead I am excited that there is still improvement to be made! If GTD makes this kind of a difference now, operating at 60-70%, just imagine what it will be like when honed and tuned further.

So how long have you been practicing GTD? What areas do you have down solid, and what ones still need improvement?


  1. Congrats on your latest GTD year!

    Regarding the kitty litter:
    Best Practice: It’s your wife, isn’t she important enough? Get up and take care of the kitty litter.
    Reality: acknowledge the request (barely nodding head or grunting) and then quickly forget about it until on the way up the stairs for bed at midnight, remember that there was something that was supposed to get done: go downstairs, poke around, have a midnight snack, forget why you were downstairs , and go to bed.

    Unfortunately there are so many angles to this question neither of the answers above is really good. The question is akin to the age old “how do I look?” challenge that we men sometimes get poked with.

    I believe the most healthy idea is to step into the 10,000 foot view and determine the health of the relationship and the continued direction you want it to be. The relative cost-benefit of ignoring-the-request* vs. doing-it-right-away as it relates to the relationship is a more important decision than this-is-a-good-chapter vs. the-kitty-box-stinks. Based on these qualifications, it would likely negate the need to have a GTD reminder. And if you really, really needed to do it later you can put something nearby to reminder you – I like to put something out-of-order in the room that will remind me to remember to think about what I might need to do – and then apologize profusely when you forget about it anyway.

    *Note: even if you intend to do it later, not doing it right away can appear to be ignoring it

    Hope that helps, skywalker!


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