Ten points to whoever recognizes the advertising throwback in the title. “Getting Things Done” is a methodology developed by one David Allen to help create a ‘trusted system’ for tracking what you need to.. get done.
GTD focuses on helping you dump your brain into this trusted system, so you don’t leave obligations looming in the black uncertainty raincloud over your head. If you don’t have time to read his book, you can probably get a good sense of how the core of GTD works by looking at this flowchart [PDF file, 30KB].
GTD is pretty popular with geeks, probably because it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it done (geeks love to fiddle with things, in my experience), and because it’s a “Life Hack”, a way of optimizing your life to make things work better.
GTD is also something that is basically a bunch of lists. We make a product called ListPro that is very good at making bunches of lists. So inevitably, the two will collide. For the collision, keep reading after the cut thingy below.
Disclaimer: I am not the master of GTD. I am still ‘trying it out’, so to speak, figuring out what the best way to implement it is. That’s one of the downsides of GTD – there’s no 100% right answer for how to make it work. The important parts of GTD are:
- Making a trusted system, that you can rely on 100% without thinking
- Making a trusted system, that you can rely on 100% without thinking (is there an echo?)
If you can’t rely on your GTD system, then you’re no better off than before you tried implementing it. This is one on of the downsides of a lot of organization tips and tricks – you have to do it, and you have to stick to it. One way to help you stay stuck is to find a system that’s comfortable for you. I’m still looking – so far, I’ve tried LifeBalance, the eerily-similar MyLife Organized, our very own ListPro, and am about to tack a program called Ultra Recall. If you want a good smattering of GTD aids in one spot, check out this blog post on 52Reviews.com .
Disclaimer 2: I don’t think I’m going to use ListPro for GTD. This doesn’t mean you should stop reading. If you like ListPro, and want to do GTD, give it a shot. You can certainly do it, and it may work perfect for you. I just feel like I need to say this so I’m not purely saying ListPro is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s like how I drive a Toyota – I don’t hate other car companies, I’m just familiar with them and found my car to suit my needs. ListPro works great for testing checklists, daily process lists, call logging, my groceries… just not my GTD.
Anyway, enough yap. I present to you the ListPro GTD template. [Warning: 122KB .CLF download, requires ListPro!]
Just download that file, stick it wherever you want, and peruse it. You’ll find helpful hints written by me.
Is this the only way to use ListPro for GTD? Probably not. Is it the best GTD implementation there is? Probably not. Is there a best GTD implementation? For you, yes. For everyone, no.
So go get some things done. [Kevin now checks off the 'push publish button in WordPress' Next Action...]
Here are some tips:
- On a Pocket PC, to sync your GTD list, make sure you have Files turned on in your ActiveSync settings, then just drop the GTD template into your Pocket PC’s synchronized My Documents folder.
- On a Palm, you’ll want to open your regular ListPro list file on your desktop and go to Tools -> Import Lists…, then point to the GTD file.
- Get familiar with the shortcuts for copy and paste (Ctrl-C or Ctrl-X if you want to cut, Ctrl-V for paste), since you can’t drag items between lists.
- If you want to change your columns, you may need to re-build the entire template. This just is a limitation to how ListPro works – each List has its own format, and you may not be able to copy items between lists of different formats.
- If you really want to stick with ListPro for GTD, make a shortcut for your actual GTD file and place it in your Start Menu’s Startup folder. This will launch the file whenever you boot up or log into Windows. Then, right-click on the shortcut and pick Properties, and assign a keyboard shortcut. Whenever you want to add something to your list, just press that shortcut and ListPro will open right up – it should open up to displaying your Inbox, but it may change to whatever list you had been working in last.
If you make modifications to the template or have any feedback, feel free to either send a message to Ilium Software or leave a comment below! I’ll be glad to post different templates or update it based on user requests.
If you have any problems getting this to work in your ListPro, or have any other problems with our software, just contact Ilium Software directly and someone will help you. I’d like to put my email here, but I haven’t figured out how to effectively spam-proof it in WordPress yet.