Self Improvement Web Culture

Organise 2015: Learn The Martial Art Of Getting Things Done [Stuff to Watch]

Tim Brookes 30-12-2014

Ever wonder why the successful, over-achievers always seem to keep a cool head?


“It took me 25 years to figure out what I’d figured out,” says David Allen, creator of the Getting Things Done method of organising work, life and everything in between.

Getting Things Done, or GTD, is the ace your sleeve is currently lacking in terms of maintaining a hectic schedule and staying on top of it What A Busy Day: 10 Savvy Ways To Find Time For Your Personal Projects Do you have a passion that is secretly throbbing inside your head? What is holding you back? Maybe, the clock runs out after a grueling workday and an hour of commute. Let's steal time. Read More . You can pick up the book for less than $10, but before you do check out the following videos for a crash course in organising your life.

Getting Things Done

One of the best introductions to the Getting Things Done method is David Allen’s own talk at Google in 2007. In it David explores the two keys to maintaining a healthy balance between life and work – maintaining concentration and avoiding distractions.

When David Allen came up with Getting Things Done method of organisation, digital notes were almost as disorganised and easy to lose as paper ones. That’s a nice way of saying the method is old, has stood the test of time but still needs some adaptation to play nicely with the always-on nature of today’s world.

The Short Version, Please!

If you really want to take control of your hopelessly disorganised work and play schedules, you’ll probably want to buy the book and jump in foot-first. That said, there are a few basic fundamental concepts to the GTD method which can be explained in a relatively short time.


YouTube user Roel Smelt has laid bare the basic concepts behind David Allen’s method in little more than six minutes. With a little initiative, your GTD journey begins here.

Just Add Evernote

Remember what I said earlier about GTD requiring a small amount of modernisation in order to run with the best in 2015? Well few note-taking services are as flexible as Evernote Get Creative With Evernote: 10 Unique Uses You Haven't Thought Of Evernote is one of the ultimate tools in productivity, and with a wide variety of multiplatform apps, there's no limit to the way that you can use the service. We're big fans of Evernote here... Read More which provides ubiquitous access to digital notes across a range of platforms, transforming it from an infinite notebook into a must-have organisational tool.

The video above is a dry yet thorough look at organising your life using Evernote and GTD. The version of Evernote featured in the video is a little outdated, but the advice and real-world examples are still beneficial if you are wondering how others put GTD to use. Those of you already up and running with Microsoft’s OneNote 10 Unique Ways to Use Microsoft OneNote OneNote is one of Microsoft's most underrated apps. It's available on almost every platform and can do many tricks you wouldn't expect from a note keeping app. Read More can take a look at the video below instead.

Remember, whether you’re using a purpose-built GTD solution like OmniFocus Getting Things Done, Better: The Redesigned OmniFocus 2 for Mac A few years back, I gave up on the original OmniFocus because it felt too complicated for what I needed – step in the redesigned and cleaner Omnifocus 2. Read More , Evernote, SimpleNote or dead trees, it’s the system of organisation that matters rather than the software or medium you choose. You can even transform Outlook into a GTD productivity hub Transform Microsoft Outlook Into a GTD Organizer With Jello Dashboard I am always in search of a better email client. Don't get me wrong, Gmail is great and everything, but there's just something about a desktop email client that feels so much more powerful and... Read More if you want.


The Secret Weapon

Can’t be bothered to set up your own GTD system, or simply not sure where to start? The Secret Weapon is a method of organisation that uses GTD, Evernote and the project’s own “manifesto” to establish a detailed system of tags and notes that are ready to start using almost immediately.

Check out the video above for an idea of what the system hopes to achieve, then head to the website and download the manifesto to get started.

David Allen on Getting Things Done

Finally, it’s nice to see the master at work in this video in which David provides a glimpse into how he uses the system himself. If you can ignore the poor sound quality in the video above, you’ll learn that keeping on top of your inbox is key to keeping on top of everything.

Do you use GTD?


Image: Paperwork (Curtis Perry)

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