I’m not proud of it but I confess to having gone back and forth all my life between rebelling against my to-do list and feeling like a slave to it. The only thing that has saved my bacon is my ability to quickly generate high quality material when I’m under the gun. Granted, I’ve been prolific in my life, but I used to be prolific at the expense of my own wellbeing, life balance and time with loved ones.
Over the decades I have used various paper-based and computer-based systems for organizing my commitments, projects and tasks, and for selecting the highest leverage things to do in each moment. All have been helpful to an extent, but not to enough of an extent. By far, the best system I have found is David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system. His bestseller has the same name: Getting Things Done.
David Allen makes available a free GTD Best Practices podcast series. This is a particularly enjoyable way to learn the GTD system. The first four podcasts are a great place to start:
- Best Practices of Collect
- Best Practices of Processing
- Best Practices of Organize
- Best Practices of Review
If you’re an iPhone user like me, the most GTD-compatible app I have found is OmniFocus for iPhone. Some people need a little time to get used to it but I have found it more than worth the learning curve. Mac users can also take advantage of the OmniFocus for Mac software, which the iPhone app syncs with. I use a PC but I’ve not missed being able to sync with it because I make use of OmniFocus regardless of whether I’m in front of my computer.
While I’m on the topic of organization, I also want to let you know about the best filing system I have thus far found. It’s called FreedomFiler. This flexible system organizes files in ways that not only make sense but that make filing, finding and archiving information as close to a no-brainer is it can get.
If you’re tired of being run by your to-do list, not getting things done, or not leveraging your time in the ways that best match your goals and intentions, I recommend that you investigate these resources to see if they might match what you’re looking for.
I wish you great success in clarifying the intentions you’re most passionate about, selecting the most useful projects for bringing those intentions about, leveraging your time so you do only the most useful things in the most efficient ways, and maintaining your life balance so your passions nourish your wellbeing rather than deplete it.
Transparency Disclosure: Dr. Gruder makes a small amount of money from each copy of the Getting Things Done book purchased through the book photo and links on this page. He does not make any money from mentioning OmniFocus or FreedomFiler.