Getting Things Done

You know there is a difference between getting organized and staying organized. The former is meaningless without the latter, and the latter depends on finding a simple, effective method of managing everything you have to think about, plan, and execute. In the past I have trusted the Palm PDA, before that I was taught by the North American Mission Board how to use a Franklin Covey paper planner, and I have experimented with much more with pretty much the same results; I start off great, but over time the number of things I have to know and do cannot be managed with a "planner." I have always used "to do" lists, but those too just become one long list where "sermon prep" is next to an appointment, which is listed right above a larger project like, "Plan outreach event for...". I had so many different kinds of things to stay on top of, goals to work toward, junk to work through, and simple tasks to get done that things slipped through the cracks and I was always forgetting things. A few months ago I began to run into the "Getting Things Done" (GTD) method of personal management by David Allen. This primarily through friends (Kevin Cawley and then Steve McCoy), and based on the stories of real benefit they told me I was very interested. Immediately following the SBC in June I got the book, began to read, understand and implement the GTD system. I am sold. I can honestly say I have never had my "stuff" so organized, my mind so clear, and all of my projects so easily managed. I am less stressed, less forgetful and more productive. As a management system GTD is a highly customizable, low-cost, lo-tech approach that utilizes folders and lists. Your only cost, outside of the paperback book, is a pile of folders and some way of managing lists - I use 3x5 cards. I will not go into the details here. Kevin has said he will eventually blog on all of this, but for those of you who need to get and stay organized, I strongly encourage you to check out David Allen's book, and the following relevant links.

Getting Things Done The book by Allen.

Lunch and Learn A very brief overview of the GTD system by Steve Lawson. The Hispster PDA 3x5 cards clipped together used with the GTD system. Cheap, effective, fun. This method of maintaining "lists" is central to my organization and personal management. DIY Planner has Hipster PDA templates you can print onto the cards. Very much worth a look. I use a few of them.

43 Folders A personal productivity site with great helps for GTD. Begin with "Getting Started with Getting Things Done."

Google Calendar You'll still need a calendar. I find Google Calendar a perfect fit for me. Take some time to play with it if you want to try something different.

If you use the GTD system, and want to point to other helps, links, etc, leave a comment.