Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
A Pragmatic Guide to Getting Things Done (hamberg.no)
181 points by rahimnathwani on Nov 19, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 91 comments

GTD is a great system; once you follow it (in some form), it quickly becomes difficult to imagine how anyone lives their life without it.

I have found Evernote to be a great tool to implement a GTD system. Evernote's greatest strength is its flexibility. It works on basically every platform and integrates with most other tools you use. It doesn't really tell you how to use it though, which is where GTD fits in perfectly. (And it turns out to be really helpful to integrate as much of your system as possible into one tool.)

I found this site to be a great resource getting started with GTD and Evernote: http://www.thesecretweapon.org/

My current system is very similar to what they describe, although I added a 'Waiting' status, which includes both things that need to be done at or after a given time, and things where I want to remember that I'm waiting on something outside my control (a reply to an email, for instance). I set reminders on everything in there.

The one other significant tweak I made is to use notebooks instead of tags for the 'when' portion. Since every task needs to have a 'when', and since every note has one and only one notebook, this seemed like a logical fit. So instead of the 'Current' notebook they recommend, I simply use a Current stack containing a notebook for each priority level.

I also use Powerbot to improve clipping emails from gmail.

Anyway, the details don't matter and are easy to change. The main point is, give GTD on Evernote a try, and you'll be glad you did.

If you like the challenge of a steep learning curve, might I suggest org-mode for emacs? It's got tasks, todos, built in agenda calculation, and so on. Also it's shipped as default with emacs. For something like a "waiting" status, you can easily reconfigure the default to-do states on a global or per file basis, and even have several different sets of states for tasks.

Here's a pretty handy guide showing what you can do with it, and then there's allways the org-mode documentation which outlines all features. http://doc.norang.ca/org-mode.html

I've got a friend of mine who uses it for literally everything from notetaking to planning projects and billing project time, and I'm slowly getting into it as well. If Evernote's greatest strenght is flexibility, this will certainly give it a run for its money.

Most org-mode documentation I see is painfully long. Can you recommend a short video or document that makes a compelling argument that org mode is worth the trouble? I currently can't get a sense of the learning curve relative to the benefits. As a matter of context, I use Markdown text files when I want something lightweight and OmniFocus for when I need more structure.

Well, that is mostly due to the quantity of things you can do with it as well as the literal 1000 keyboard shortcuts it has (I got halfway through compiling an ankii deck, and i counted 400, I'll get down to doing the rest once I have time again).

The link I have in the post above outlines an efficient org-mode workflow [http://doc.norang.ca/org-mode.html], but since that one is fairly mature and detailed, it's a long document as well. Then there's this fairly short video that just showcases the basic features [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsGYet02bEk] or structure manipulation.

I could give a short overwiev a shot though.

Tree based document structure : Start a line with * to create a top level headline, two * to do a subheadline, use as many ""s as you want to infinitely subdivide tasks and ideas. Toggle entire subtrees from view with a single key combination, or generate a sparse tree that only contains what you need.

Tables: Autoformatting ASCII tables that start on a new line with "|". Mutate rows, columns, use emacs-calc inside of the table.

Todo Items: Create todo's by writing a headline that contains "TODO" as in " TODO sth". Or pressing C-c C-t. Define different sets of todo states globally of per file. (Say BUG | RESOLVED WONTFIX) with any number of intermediate steps or finished states. Create TODO dependencies (just have sub-TODOs under existing TODOs). Add automatic notes to todo states, and or timestamps. Track how much time you've spent on TODOs exactly (say for billing).

Refile entire regions into different files entirely. Say you had your "in"-file, and you're in your project view. You suddenly remember to go pick up milk. Type it into your project view, C-c C-w, autocomplete to your "in" file, refiled.

Agendas : Agendas will cull TODOs, Deadlines, Scheduled tasks and Habits from all your buffers automatically. Want to know what needs to get done at work today? Generate an agenda of all TODOs, Deadlines and Scheduled tasks that have the tag :Work:. Done.

The beauty of it is that you don't have to learn how to do all of that right away. If you know the basic commands you can already get a lot of use out of it, hell, if you know the syntax for TODOs and headlines it's allready usable. But org-mode is there for people who like to tweak their workflow. Everything is tweakable, rebindable, extendable, and it's not limited to usage as a personal planning tool. You can write HTML with it, or insert LaTeX and export to PDF. A lot of those long guides for org-mode have been written in org-mode.

Edit: Now Hackernews formatting is messing with this a little, and thinks double stars mean indentation...now way to escape that though.

I used to use Emacs org-mode. But now been using Plain Tasks [1] in Sublime 3. (I lost an Emacs config file and haven't looked back.)

[1] https://sublime.wbond.net/packages/PlainTasks

The problem with GTD, IMHO, is that it's the organizational equivalent of nuclear fusion. Yes, once it gets going it's self-sustaining and will provide you with clear benefits. But, in my experience, it takes a lot of work in the beginning to spin up GTD and keep it going until it gets to that self-sustaining state. I tried going with the GTD system for two weeks and it felt like I was constantly managing and updating all the various lists that it requires. I could never seem to get to the "promised land" where everything would stabilize and the system would become self-sustaining.

In the end, I just ended up reverting back to keeping a simple to-do list in a text file.

I won't disagree with you. I run my own business, and I probably spent the better part of a week essentially full time setting myself up, plus a decent chunk of the next couple weeks. (Not that it would have to take that long, but I wanted to make sure I considered all my use cases and set up something I would really be able to use to the fullest.) However, the potential benefits are analogous to nuclear fusion as well. I used to use a (synced) text file as well, and having been on this system for about two years now, I'm confident it was worth considerably more than the setup time I put into it.

There's a really good O'Reilly book on this geared towards sysadmins (though I'm sure it applies to dev's etc).


Just following it for a short time made my work & life a whole, whole lot better.

My favourite getting-things-done methodology is still: "If you have more things that you can remember, then you have too many things and you can safely drop some"

I've also noticed that most things I put off, or forget to do, are things are I don't actually want to do anyway and no amount of GTD-ing or tasklisting or anything will ever make me do them. They are just cruft that accumulates.

Better to just let them slip off your viewfinder. One thing I have to improve, though, is doing that consciously. Instead of letting things slip through the cracks, I have to start consciously pushing them through the cracks.

Interesting point, which I partially sympathize with. The core of it, as I hear it, is that you should focus on the most important things first and not worry about the rest. In any case, I think it is nice to write those "less important" things down. If you later renegotiate your commitment to doing them, you can add a tag or note that says, more or less, "This isn't really that important" and take it off your active list.

To make a counter argument to your "methodology": There are "small" things that don't seem important relative to other things, but as you get more organized, getting those "small" things done can be very satisfying. Also the energy needed to do them may be small when you remember them in the right context.

The trade-off is that even if you are always updating the action list, you are supposed to get an overall better peace of mind. You are not spending your time in the shower or in the traffic jam reviewing the list of things you have to do tomorrow, because you know you have offloaded to an external system.

Like any new habit you can't hope to form it in two weeks, you need so sustain the effort for at least a few months.

(To be honest, I have experimented with various GTD systems along the years, and was not able to sustain it as well for longer than a few months. However, during crunch time, I find it an incredible tool)

Its amazing how effective the most basic options are (a text file). I used to use a google doc as my task list. Then we built in tables in to the company database for requests (a very poor idea by a new manager that had joined). Now we are onto Jira. While Jira has benefits, it is still way clunkier to use than a Google doc, and there are many features I miss.

For me the problem with GTD is the lack of good apps for non Apple platform.

> It works on basically every platform

Except, you know, Linux :)

It's also quite slow and I'd rather spend as little time as possible managing my time than waiting for the UI to load and having to mouse around for everything.

(Not to mention all those times where some of my notes were synchronized into oblivion, never to be found again)

I am much more effective using a hierarchy of text files and some simple macros to navigate it, works offline and it's incredibly easy to sync between machines.

I haven't used the web client much, so couldn't really comment on that, but I've found the windows, mac, and android clients to be very fast. Even full-text searching is almost instantaneous, and I certainly don't find myself waiting for the UI to load. Nor do I use the mouse much. Their keyboard shortcuts are quite extensive: https://evernote.com/contact/support/kb/#!/article/23168552

Anyway, to each their own. I just wouldn't want someone to give EN a pass without trying it, thinking it's slow and lacks keyboard shortcuts.

"> It works on basically every platform

Except, you know, Linux :)"

What about NixNote and Everpad ? Didn't use them but I remember they were touted as unofficial Evernote clients for Linux when I was considering switching.

You don't have web browsers on Linux? ;-)

Sorry, but switching to the browser window and opening a tab (or finding a particular tab in the list) takes orders of magnitude more time compared to using a global keyboard shortcut to pop up my program.

You can create a shortcut to a website and accomplish the same thing

There are more shortcuts inside the program itself... A time/task manager should get in and out of the way as quickly as possible, loading a website just won't cut it, for me.

True, they don't have a native client but it works well enough via wine.

I have found Wunderlist to be better suited for GTD than Evernote. http://www.wunderlist.com

Agreed. I tried to use Evernote for GTD but found Wunderlist just works a lot better. The Wunderlist App is fast and the general design leans more towards GTD.

Evernote is still a decent app for keeping notes and filing things away but I've found Wunderlist much easier to use for the general tasks workflow of GTD.

I really like wunderlist, but struggle to imagine how it can be used for gtd. Evernote with tags is just superior.

I'd love for you to convince me I'm wrong.

Can you describe in more detail what Wunderlist does better than Evernote?

After many years of GTD, it's clear to me that the poison in any GTD system is items that are low priority and hard to turn into concrete actions. If you use GTD, items such as "Plan a better way to arrange the living room furniture" and "Look into what's involved to mend a chair leg" will slowly creep into your "Next Action" list, roost there indefinitely, and slowly drain your list of oxygen.

Right now I'm trying Mark Forster's "Ultimate Time Management System", which seems to offer some relief to this problem.

"look into" is insufficiently actionable. How do you measure look into? "Google 'mend chair leg', write down best 3 posts, follow instructions..." those are actionable.

"Look into", "manage", "take care of", "think about"... all pretty vague

The problem I experienced with "measuring 'look into'" is that you're not in a position to do so at that moment. "Google 'mend chair leg'" may be a proper task, but it does not capture what to do with it. "Write down best 3 posts" is not something you should commit yourself to before Googling; it's the vague act of "looking into" that generates such actions. You can't tell in advance if you'll need to read blogposts, watch videos, browse a subreddit, etc.

In the end I created my own terms like RESEARCH and BRAINSTORM with well-defined actions attached. RESEARCH means "spend a block of time BFSing on Google until you feel satisfied", while BRAINSTORM means "spend time in front of a whiteboard/piece of paper and dump your problem until you're able to identify specific courses of actions, which then will become your actionable items".

But in the end, I still feel that some problems are not well-suited for GTD - mostly those requiring to improvise as you go along.

Ah, absolutely. I think what's important is recognizing when a task is vague (intentionally or otherwise). It could be "Google 'mend chair leg' for 25 mins and list out next actions', and then those actions become new tasks. I think we're definitely in agreement here.

If there's a misfit between a problem and GTD, the challenge is to figure out how to frame the problem properly.

To zoom out a little- GTD won't create an inspiring work of art, but GTD will manage the artist's schedule, and free her up to read more, meet other artists more, get inspired more, etc.

The key is to break down each todo into clearly actionable tasks. You can do this in Wunderlist with subtasks, for example. In my case, the more I break something down and make it concrete, the less likely I am to procrastinate.

I use Gmail, set up in a similar way to this: http://klinger.io/post/71640845938/dont-drown-in-email-how-t...

You can use a second calendar in place of GTD's 'tickler' file. Just hide the calendar, and set the default reminder to 'email'. That way, you receive an email when you need to action a tickler, and can then assign that email to 'next action' or whatever.

Should be even better with Inbox too, since it's now easy to add your own reminders directly, and to snooze emails.

Still, I like Evernote for its flexibility. Voice notes, pictures, clipped webpages to later reference, etc. Also ease of linking between notes and more flexibility and power in tagging than gmail (thinking nested tags on mobile). And I already used it in place of bookmarking for any reference material (since full-text search is so much easier than trying to catalog something I might need in years or never), so it made sense for me to use the same thing for GTD.

But I imagine any functional GTD systems is going to do the job pretty well. What works best for each person will certainly vary!

I've tried Evernote but I've fallen in to the trap of spending more time with managing the tool than getting actual stuff done. Like quanticle said, full-blown GTD is like nuclear fusion. I've got my own thing going with Inbox and Keep that works for me.

I used the GTD approach for many years, but one of the main problems was that I couldn't always maintain the weekly review and consistently stick with the system. And in GTD world, that's very bad.

At first I thought this mainly had to do with my own lack of discipline, but now I think it's mainly because GTD just doesn't work for every kind of task, project, or occupation.

The main problem, I think, is that GTD assumes: 1. that you can always cut up a task into smaller actions 2. that you can do a next action in one sitting, and 3. that having 'stuff' in your head is bad.

I've found that for some things this applies, and in those cases one might use GTD. But for many other things these three items don't apply, and then GTD can actually be counter-productive.

For example, a creative task might not be doable in one sitting, but it might also not be concrete enough to split up into smaller next actions. Furthermore, for a lot of creative stuff it might actually be very useful to have it 'hanging around' in your head as 'stuff'.

Basically, I found that there's an inverse correlation between the effectiveness of GTD and the amount of creativity needed for a task.

I've settled on Mark Forster's AutoFocus (Final Version) (as mentioned elsewhere here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8629066) for most of my current stuff, as it's more organic and more fitting to what I do now. If I were to have more managerial-type work I might switch back to GTD though.

(and of course there are many principles from GTD that are useful to me even if I don't use the full system)

I started doing five year plans. Each five year plan I break into sizable chunks. And each chunk I break into single daily goals. Each individual goal lasts a month, and every day I try to achieve my goal. Since it's only one thing a day it's hard not to. And it's habit forming because of the month long period per individual goal.

Right now my five year plan is to stabilize all areas of my life (finances, living situations, self). I'm starting with self, and my first individual goal is getting out of bed the first time I wake up.

So far so good. And since theres no restrictions on what I do otherwise I get a ton of things done in the morning but I never feel stressed if, for instance, I don't get around to studying all the French I'd like to.

Somethings which are a bit more time intensive like keeping a journal I make alternate tasks. So instead of just keeping a journal, every day I'd make it a point to either write in a journal, record my dreams, or write down all of the fool things I've done in a day (on the recommendation of Dale Carnegie who found the idea from Benjamin Franklin). This gives me a bit more liberty, dreams tend to be recorded in the morning, journals can be written in anytime, and the introspection of a day takes place in the evening. Then if I go out and party I don't need to feel stressed about breaking a goal when I wake up in the morning.

It's simple. It's easy. It's positive habit forming. And it feels great.

How long have you been doing this?

Not long enough yet but a few months now and I'm sticking to it which is pretty good. It also keeps that five year plan in mind even though each individual day never feels stressed by some looming goal.

For people like me who enjoy a non-electronic way to organize all of this, I've found bullet journaling to be very helpful


I've been using bulletjournal since January 1st this year and it's been working wonderfully. Prior to it I used GTD with Things and Wunderlist, but they always ended falling apart.

Why did Things and Wunderlist fall apart? (Could it be that you did not schedule and do the weekly review? I've had that problem myself.)

Wunderlist had serious sync problems that made it impossible to trust.

I don't know if they solved the problem though.

I've been taking notes inspired by this for two months now and like it a lot. I make calendar month pages with a one-line note of what I did each day, and seeing these build up is quite satisfying.

> Is that so bad? Muddling through has probably gotten you further than you give it credit for, why do you think you have to be mister super productivity to get further?

I have an answer for this one, and I think the War of Art captures it- it's the pain of missed obligations, unfulfilled promises, etc. Anxiety, stress, difficulty sleeping, etc. 'Mr Super Productivity' is a bit of a strawman- I think most people would be happy just to say "I have regularly productive days and I am on top of my work and my commitments".

I know what it's like to think "it's not so bad, I can just waffle my way through life". It means upsetting parents, teachers, girlfriends, friends, the spouse. It means disappointing people.

It seems to me most of the pain comes from over promising, not being able to say no and the unreasonable expectations of people close to you.

That is actually very, very true. The single best way to get things done is to have less things to do. Underappreciated fact.

The problem I have with this is that, if I don't over-promise, then I'm too lazy to do much.

Yet, some process that reminds me at the time I'm living work of everything that I need to do by then is something valuable.

Maybe the problem is taking it too far.

I think Bullet Journal could be very effective to Get Things Done (TM), though I haven't used it in practice yet.


I've been using it for a while, it's pretty good. One of the best things about bullet journal that things like Asana, Trello, and all the digital tools are bad as doing is- you have to REWRITE tasks that you haven't completed yet. They don't just get lost under a pile of forgotten tasks. You have to revisit them each time you rewrite them. This does something for the memory. It works for me, anyway.

I found Neil Fiore's "The Now Habit" a great complement to the GTD system. GTD tells me where to put a TODO and TNH helps when the neatly organized system of GTD inexplicably fails to function without my actions :-) Obviously both are only frameworks for solving problems, not magical solvers.

Moving from what the book describes to a real workable system is a bit of leap. I remember hambergs.no article. It helped immensely and I ended up writing up my own system with a few personal tweaks. GTD has many interpretations and many implementations and it is hard to know what to pick. It is just as easy to lose site of the goal: Make your life easier and more productive.

This was my experience. The question I had were surprisingly hard to answer.

1. What is GTD and does it work? 2. If GTD is failing for me is it because I am not doing it wrong? 3. If GTD is failing for me is it because my implementation is wrong (i.e wrong tool or badly designed app)

The problem with the GTD system, as much as I have enjoyed using it, is that there is no reference system to verify correct usage. The usual path taken, for those who are patient and motivated, is that of hacking your way through the books, tutorials and apps out there until it feels right. The 'it feels right' feeling comes if you actually feel like you are on top of your work load. The system you end up with that works for you (when you eventually get to this place), may look very different from what the book described or what you initially envisaged.

GTD is more like meditation than a system. It's hard to learn it by reading about it. You only know you are doing it right when your life feels lighter and more productive.

GTD has some great side effects. I owe all my recent success to GTD. Apart from all the other goodies, The following things have been a game changer for me.

1. Next tasks: Helps me identify new opportunities to work on. And take next obvious steps to any task, where others aren't seeing. In fact one would be surprised how many great opportunities lurk in the next tasks.

2. Weekly reviews: Helps me take quick iterations of feed back on the week and immediately improve by applying the feedback to the next week. This at times over some months(When I'm working using GTD really well) has lead to runaway improvements in many areas of my work.

3. Writing it down and prioritizing: I use a normal pen and paper. Tracking, drawing doodles, other things is very easy. Writing down tasks and prioritizing helps me eliminate an entire tree of unimportant tasks and pick up the important ones. This combined with the weekly review can be a very powerful tool.

Lastly the efficiency of GTD depends entirely on our efficiency to take things seriously and work on them.

And GTD is a framework, nearly all GTD practitioners I know of ultimately build something over GTD that works for them.

GTD task prioritization works best when combined with Eisenhower matrix [1]. AFAIK the only tool that combines these two is TimeGT (https://timegt.com).

[1] https://timegt.com/2010/07/14/what-is-the-eisenhower-matrix/

Is there space for (another) notes product that is purely focused on the GTD framework? Would people use this if I created it?

I'm not sure asking here will get you the answers you need. Talk to lots of people, feel their pain, build an MVP. That said, I'm happy to give my opinion.

In my experience, there are plenty of excellent software tools, on the surface. If you want to innovate, I think you might want to think broader -- about how GTD systems actually succeed or fail.

If you were to ask me about the weakest links in GTD software, it has less to do with the "core" software and more to do with behavior. Challenges I've seen include: (a) Forming the habit to use a new GTD tool; (b) Continuing to use it even when life gets in the way and you revert to another system (such as using email, ug); (c) Making it appealing to return to after a break, knowing that there will left-over cruft in there.

The space is actually unlimited.

Many successful entrepreneurs started by inventing a new to-do list. This is because it is the only way to come to terms with what it means to get things done at all.

There is literally no better use of a first-time entrepreneur's time than reinventing to-dos.

And as a result "We have reached the todo list app event horizon, where it actually takes longer to evaluate all the existing todo list apps than it does to write your own todo list app."


First time developer? Maybe. First time entrepreneur? Seems like a recipe for failure. I would have thought it is better to pick a (non-IT) niche that one has a deep domain knowledge in and have a go there.

Yes, you're right. I am so deep in the bubble that to me "first-time developer" = first-time entrepreneur!

Really? I would love some case studies

Well, no, not really :) But I am sure you would benefit from creating a quick one-off system for yourself.

If for no other other reason than due to the sheer absurdity of the idea of procrastinating over creating a to-do list. It's something you can't help but do immediately, and is "self-hosting"!

I might have been exaggerating, but I think it's a good exercise in coming to terms with your abilities and task management ideas in general, to create your own to-do system ahead of anything else you're doing.

I think a more important question is, would YOU use it?

Yeh I would, would you?

Adding a "do NOT do today" section to my todo list has made a big difference for me in terms of staying focused on the real priorities. Start w list of all the important things and rank em, then drop all but the top 3 into explicit "do not do". Otherwise #4-N have an insidious way of taking precious time and energy away from the most important stuff, while feeling justifiable.

Also, tracking wins has helped me feel much better about my productivity. Good for a mood boost or shot of confidence, to glance through it.

The issue with such system is that it does not allow you to plan for the future on the basis of your priorities and long term goals. It does allow you to get things done, but generally you'll be only getting urgent things done, while important but not urgent things are left behind (learning a new programming language or a technology, practicing) your guitar. Here is one trick that improved my productivity much and allowed me to concentrate on what is important. I extended such system with the ability of weekly planning (and not only review). At the beginning of each week I assign time for each of my project depending on its priority and its alignment with your long term goal. I start by stating my long term goals and my principles, then what projects I am working on, what short-term goals I want achieve. I then assign when and how long I will work on each projects.

Have you read the book? Because that's what horizons are about. And the second and third book in the series go into life-goals quite a bit.

But yes, it starts from the premise of building to that bottom-up, not top-down. Once you have your flow/sense of control, David Allen said, your brain is unlocked to think hard of the more important things.

That kind of "planning" mostly won't work. I've tried to do exactly that but it's really just IMPOSSIBLE to get your planned actions done exactly on planned timeslots. In the end the whole "planning" unravels. GTD makes a lot of sense to me because it completely avoids the problem by detaching actionable items from specific time slots: you just do pre-specified items one by one whenever you can. It doesn't deviate you from long-term plans at all, because you'll put them into "in" list also, and then write out the step-by-step thing to do. The only slight difficulty might be with repetitive items.

I like this workflow diagram, by Scott Moehring, of the Getting Things Done framework:


Some people swear on "Final Version" as time management:


The gist of FV is that it takes "psychological inertia" into account to a certain degree - something, that many other systems lack.

To be honest, I never tried it and I don't use any time management system, but maybe it's worth a try for people who don't like GTD.

Ah I used the very first version of that system a few years ago. Quite good, actually, I may give it a try again to get on top of everything once more.

There is also an alternative to GTD, it is Zen to Done (http://zenhabits.net/zen-to-done-ztd-the-ultimate-simple-pro...). It basically tries to be a simplification of GTD. Also the idea is to focus on 10 simple habits to improve productivity.

> When reviewing the projects list, you will make sure that there is alway at least one action on your next actions list for each project, thus making sure that your projects aren’t forgotten.

This part could be done automatically. I don't know any app, which does it, though. Is it a good idea to automate this or do GTD-users get some benefits out of doing it manually?

Org mode has a feature for that:


I would recommend personal wiki such as ZIM. It comes with diary, todo lists, git integration... They also have similar guide:


What to you guys think about the arguments in this article? http://www.centask.com/a-eulogy-for-the-manual-to-do-list-th...

Interesting ideas about the reason productivity systems fail but I am skeptical whether this issues have a real solution

Looks like it can be involved with the way we process email. Maybe even in combination with http://inbox.google.com. Processing email has become a less pain in the ass thanks to Inbox for me.

Anyone try "Getting Results the Agile Way: A Personal Results System for Work and Life" [1] ?

I just got the book from the library and the reviews seem a little mixed.

[1] - www.amazon.com/Getting-Results-Agile-Way-Personal/dp/0984548203

GTD is great, I just wish I had the self discipline to follow it.

David Allen refers to the weekly review as the critical success factor.

And that's the one that I fall down on and then things slide and I get afraid to look in the 'bucket'.

Remove discipline from the equation if possible. Instead tie it to something you already do. Don't go to bed without first going through a nightly review, for example. And review it again before you leave for work in the morning. Manipulate your environment to prime yourself to do what you previously depended on discipline to do.

That's a good idea.

Actually it's a bit like Allen's "Put it by the door" technique. Doing stuff when you're smartest to help you when you're at your most dumb

Yup! I like to think of most of my writing as buoys I put out during calm seas so I can navigate during rough ones. Same fundamental idea.

I like that analogy!

It's a great feeling when you're dealing with a once in a blue moon task to discover that you've left some helpful notes for yourself in a place you'll find them.

See my comment about "The Now Habit". TNH gives insight into the mechanisms that make one reluctant to reviewing the scary buckets.

Hi Thanks for this just been looking at it on amazon.

I particularly liked this review :-)

"I actually never got around to reading this. No, I'm not joking. I'm sure it's a good book. I might read it some day, when I have time..."

Well, the book has its own dangers...

I mean, now that I have this cool framework for dealing with procrastination, it won't hurt to put off this task for one more day, right?

You might want to take a look at our 4 minute video (and graphic) on GTD.


There is a great application for GTD: http://nozbe.com.

It's a great system. However, one should not forget the lost art of doing one thing at a time, for a time.

Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact