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David Allen's getting things done hands down. You don't even need to read the book to implement it, although it's a great read. here's the 15-minute summary that will get you going right now - https://hamberg.no/gtd/ - I have used Trello to implement it - here's a screenshot. http://i.imgur.com/dbH8yGq.png

specifically answering your question - this framework makes you regularly review your task list and ensures that you have a quantifiable next action for every large scale (1-year project) that you can do to reach your final goal.




The problem with GTD is that it explicitly discourages you to schedule tasks at a specific time unless strictly necessary : you're always supposed to do whatever is "next" in the "context" you're in. You're never done, and this can be taxing and make you want to give up.

Newer research (Dan Ariely's IIRC) has shown that having tasks on the calendar improves the chances of actually doing a realistic number of them.


Personally, I've found that if I put something on my calendar that I don't do, it really starts to spoil my calendar.

When I "trust" my calendar, I eventually have become able to put something on there, at a specific time, that I'll actually do as if it's a committment to someone else.

I do think there is a psychology about how you approach your work. My personal anecdote is that because I believe that I'll always have more committments, more work, and more tasks than I can ever get done, GTD works wonders for me. I put things in their relevant contexts, and I do whatever the next most important is. As long as I know I'm doing the next most important thing in the context I currently am in (including NOT doing something from my lists), then I have a calm confidence in what I'm spending my time.

Others really like to have a "daily calendar" where they put what they think they should get to in the day, and then work through the list to "finish" the day. I tend to get too many interruptions, and too many bombs from others at work and home to really trust that I can say I'll get any specific action done today, and certainly not in what order. Day specific events in the calendar I have found very useful though.


Schedule things that have to be or can be scheduled (meetings with others, classes, whatever), create projects with priorities and contexts for everything else. I "schedule" time to read each day, but it's not fixed to any specific reading, but rather a set of reading projects (presently cookbooks, soon math books mixed with programming books). But I have other things that I want/need to do that sometimes takes over that reading time (learning Spanish is higher priority).

GTD isn't dogma, pick the right approach for you, but it is a good toolset/approach for many things. It can be very flexible to fit your particular motivators and environment and constraints.


Any todo has a context (work, project, hobby) which prescribes a set of time ranges at which you'd do the todo. You might not plan a specific time, but an order/priority and estimated time. Then an algorithm can show those on a calendar. These entries are also used to capture the results of the todo. That way your list of todos is also a calendar and diary.


GTD has tickler files.

Easiest way to handle this is a seperate calendar in Outlook or Google Calendar. Set recurring reminders for a day of the month. Done.

The fancy tools can be a real distraction. Start with something cheap and easy and build the habit.


Well I think part of GTD is that brain dump of tasks. So that they are captured some place other than your memory.


The whole 'Next Action' is what really makes this method work for me. What is the one thing you need to do next to move this goal or project forward? Keeping goals actionable transforms them from ideals to reality.




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