Life

Getting Things Done (GTD) Revisited and the Digital Cloud

About five or six years ago I came across David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done (GTD).

One of his trainers also delivered a half day course at our Tokyo office when I was a still a corporate samurai.

The problem I had was in implementing a simple and single instance of GTD across the various roles of my life. After several false starts, I decided that the ROI on tweaking two separate systems (work and home) was making it more of a burden than a benefit.

However, technology has moved on and now offers three productivity infrastructure tools that make GTD (and alternatives) much more attractive.

These are:

  1. (Internet) public cloud-based storage networks e.g. dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud etc.

  2. Mobile Broadband Internet access via smartphones and tablet computers.

  3. Note-taking and list-making apps able to take advantage of points 1 and 2.

Buying an iPhone opened the door to these possibilities, along with advice from others already exploring the GTD universe such as Michael Keithley’s GTD for CIOs.

From Michael, I implemented the idea of keeping the capture system simple to use. He’s big on getting information into your trusted (Evernote) system and recommends the smartphone apps FastEver and FastEver Snap from Rakko Entertainment (who, by the way, are based in Sapporo, northern Japan).

I purchased both apps and find them a great way to capture notes on the fly, especially when twinned with Evernote’s email forwarding address. Now it’s possible to capture and process email very quickly, and have those notes synced across multiple computing platforms.

Evernote GTD Implementation

In the Evernote screenshot above you can see that there is one unprocessed item, 77 in a Notes folder (these are projects, in the main), and 12 in a cabinet (for reference.)

Unlike Michael’s implementation, I’m using some tags to label and sort on projects according to various contexts. This is closer to the GTD methodology described by David Allen, but it really comes down to what works best for each person.

The key to GTD (in fact, to any list-making and scheduling system) is in committing to a regular review of actions, projects, roles and goals. By themselves, Evernote, smartphones and cool apps will not do that. But they can make it possible to get out of the way of getting things done.

So far, so good. I’ll run with my current implementation and see how that works over the next few months.

How are you getting things done?