Getting Things Done. Rings a bell?
It’s a method of organisation that has largely inspired our (amazing) PROJO planners, and which allows you to sort through all the tasks you have to do to see more clearly and move your projects forward!
If you don’t know it yet, let us explain:
👉🏻 The Basics of the Getting Things Done Method
👉🏻 How the method works
👉🏻 How to implement the method in your planner (or your bullet journal)
What’s the GTD method?
Getting Things Done (or GTD for short) is a method for organizing and managing projects. It was David Allen who formulated this method in his book “Getting Things Done”.
The method is nearly 20 years old, but it is still as effective as ever!
In fact, it has many fans around the world and combines perfectly with a planner or a bullet journal.
The objective of the Getting Things Done method is to “manage actions in order to get results”. The method does not deal with time management, but rather with managing projects, tasks and how to set priorities in the daily flow.
It is a personal organization method that can be applied to any type of task, whether professional or personal.
The Getting Things Done method is based on a precise task management process that makes it possible to set up and maintain a simple and effective organisation system.
The mechanics of task management that you will find in the PROJO planner is very similar to what the Getting Things Done method offers!
The basics of the
Getting things done method
The Getting Things Done method proposes a 5-step process to set up and maintain an effective organization system.
The Getting Things Done process has a clear objective: to gather a wide variety of information and process it.
In the method, the information is called “input”. An input can take different forms: it can be an e-mail, a text message, a call, or simply an idea or a task list that has already been drawn up.
To simplify the process, I personally prefer to reduce the information processing process to 4 main steps :
1️⃣ Collecting all information that have your attention
2️⃣ Clarification of this information: is it actionable information or not, and how should it be processed?
3️⃣ The structuring of this information and the definition of the next action for each of them.
4️⃣ Reflection on the actions carried out
These 4 steps are almost the same as those described by David Allen in the Getting Things Done method. They are simply condensed to make the method easier to follow and more readable.
How does the GTD method help you move your projects forward?
Ok, now, how does all this help you to move your projects forward?
Having a system of organization is KEY to move your projects forward. It is this system that allows you to:
👉🏻 Plan your actions and track your progress as you go along. And it is essential to know where you are with your project, and what you need to do next to move forward.
👉🏻 Gather and structure the information you’ll need throughout your project (link to this tutorial you’ve spotted, this super important document to fill in…).
In short, if you want to progress on your projects regularly and avoid wasting time looking for the information you need, the Getting Things Done method (which integrates perfectly with our planners) should give you a good helping hand!
Taking your projects forward:
the 5 steps of GTD method
Getting Things Done – Step 1: Capture
The purpose of capture in the Getting Things Done method is to gather everything that catches your attention: e-mails, texts, ideas, current projects, small everyday tasks… The collection should allow you to make an exhaustive list of all these elements so that you can then examine and organize them.
At this stage, it is not at all a question of classifying the various pieces of information that are collected, which David Allen calls “inputs”. The goal is simply to put everything in one place so that you can look at each item individually.
For this step, I advise you to take a page from your PROJO Notes book and a pen. If you are using a bullet journal, take the first available double page.
Your mission if you accept it: make a list of everything that has your attention.
Sit down with your planner and your laptop to capture everything that has your attention.
Empty your brain on the page in the form of a list: emails to send or process, small and large tasks, ideas to explore… Put everything on the page to get a complete picture of what takes up space in your brain!
Now that everything is on paper, you can move on to the second step: clarification.
If you’ve written a lot of things and it seems like an impossible mountain to climb, don’t panic! The second step will allow you to examine each element and sort through it all.
Getting Things Done – Step 2: Clarify
Once all the inputs have been collected, it is time to process them. In the Getting Things Done method, David Allen calls this step clarification.
For each piece of information listed (email, message, idea, task…), the goal is to decide whether it requires the creation of a new project or task, or no action at all.
Each piece of information (called “input”) is therefore examined to determine whether it is “actionable” (requires an action on your part) or not, and where the information should be stored.
Review your list of inputs and for each item on the list, and answer the questions in the following decision tree:
Go through all the items on your list.
Is it done? You should have decided for each item whether you’re turning it into a project, whether you’re putting it somewhere where you can easily find it (the notebook in your PROJO planner, a folder in your Cloud…), or whether you’re simply eliminating it from your list (and from your brain).
If you’ve reached this point, it’s time to take the next step: structuring!
Getting Things Done – Step 3: Structure and engage
In the Getting Things Done method, structuring is the step that allows you to feed the different sorted information into your organization system.
Here, I will focus on tasks and projects: that is to say all the concrete elements of your list!
The Getting Things Done method makes a very clear distinction between a task and a project:
👉🏻 Tasks are single actions: a task alone gives a concrete result. It is therefore a simple action with an immediate impact. For example, changing a light bulb.
👉🏻 Projects are all the concretizable elements that require several simple actions to achieve the final result. For example: writing a blog post (because you will have to write the article, format it, find pictures…). The size of projects can be very varied, from the smallest (like writing an article) to the largest (moving, changing jobs, preparing for a sabbatical year…).
In the structuring phase, you therefore incorporate all the elements that can be implemented in your organisational system. In concrete terms this means:
✅ All tasks that take less than 2 minutes have to be done immediately.
✅ Tasks that take more than 2 minutes must be entered in one of your to-do lists (monthly or weekly) or be scheduled in your calendar.
✅ For each project, the next action must be decided upon. The next action is the next small task you will do to move your project forward. And of course, you should put this task in one of your to-do’s or put it in the schedule of your PROJO planner (or your bullet journal if you don’t use the planner yet).
Focus on key projects and create monthly + weekly to-do lists in the PROJO planner.
Usually at this stage, your brain should feel a little less clouded: everything that took up space in your brain has already been listed, and sorted to find its place in your organization system.
Now all you have to do is take action!
Getting Things Done – Step 4: Reflect
The reflection phase of the Getting Things method consists of regularly taking stock of all the elements of your organisational system in order to update them.
I advise you to do this exercise once a week, and once a month. In fact, you will see that this is exactly the rhythm that the PROJO planner offers you with its weekly and monthly review pages.
The monthly review page in the PROJO planner.
You won’t need more than 10 minutes to do a weekly review.
At the end of the week, simply look at your to-do list, check off the tasks you’ve completed, and carry over the ones you’re still working on to the next week.
It is also a chance to look at your monthly to-do to include all of the next actions in the planning for the coming week.
The monthly review takes a little bit more time, but it’s super important. This is the time to look at all the projects you have in progress in detail, take stock of their progress, and decide on the next actions for each of them.
This is when you will create your action plan for the next month. The one that will allow you to move your projects forward!
And the circle is complete!
The Getting Things Done method can be a little scary because it can seem a little tedious and technical to implement. In reality, it’s all about emptying your brain of everything that’s cluttering it up and sorting through each element methodically so you can take action!
It is a really efficient method, which inspired a large part of the conception of the PROJO planner. If you’re looking for a simple way to set it up, this may be the tool for you!