Time Management: Getting Things Done
After we’ve identifies how to set goals and priorities, it is important to have the discipline to do the things that represent the best use of your time and say no to the things that interfere. Structure in your daily affairs comes from thinking ahead and proper planning. It includes scheduling wisely, meeting deadlines consistently, and organizing yourself daily.
But organizing yourself and your time is not as difficult as it seems and it will eliminate a great deal of stress. It involves creating effective systems—consistent ways of doing things. Systems transform your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals, objectives, and tasks into a coordinated whole.
One of the best time management systems was developed by David Allen and presented in his book: “Getting Things Done”. Basically, it is a productivity method that helps you complete tasks and meet commitments in a stress-free and efficient manner using a comprehensive system of lists and calendars. Using the principles of GTD-method, it will be easier for you to manage your daily tasks. The fundamental idea of the GTD method is to put down all your tasks in writing to ensure that you won’t forget anything. In the long run, you’ll be less stressed because you won’t have to remember everything. I have experimented with various of time management methods, and this one turned out to be the most effective, and I would like to share the key practices with you here.
The main difference between this system and simple to-do list is that in the list we usually record only the most important cases, and we do not usually pay attention to less significant, minor tasks. And as a result, over time for less significant tasks scroll in the head, distract from work, and your efficiency drops. One of the main principles of GTD is to capture absolutely everything.
There are no strict rules on the GTD system. But there are basic principles of work:
1. Record everything. Collect all your tasks, appointments and ideas in your notebook or any application. Even the smallest and most insignificant task ought to be written down even if you are not going to do it right now. This first step can take several days when you first start using the Getting Things Done method. After that, you simply add new tasks, appointments and ideas to your inboxes as they arise. This rarely takes more than a few minutes.
2. Clarify. There should not be tasks like "Prepare for a vacation." Split big things into concrete feasible actions. With the concrete list of tasks, we spend much less time decrypting than doing it. And yes, if you can delegate anything, please do it. When reviewing your tasks, don’t put anything back in the inbox. Decide where each item belongs and what is the next step. Keep a separate list of all the next actions.
3. Prioritize. For each item in the list, specify date and deadline. Add reminders if necessary. In fact, this is work with both the list and the calendar. At this stage, you should have confidence that you won’t forget anything.
4. Update the lists. To-do lists tend to become irrelevant fast: something is losing actuality, the other thing needs to be postponed. The system should work for you. Therefore, make sure that you always have a list of specific actions and that you can start working without any delay.
5. Engage. When everything is organized properly, you can stick to a plan. Choose a case from the desired category, see what specific actions are required of you, and work. So you can implement large projects.
I offer you a little personal challenge: try to implement GTD method of organizing tasks today. Do not just read the book (which is absolutely great, and please read it if you have time), but use the GTD tricks. Personal practical experience is more useful than dozens of books read. Set yourself a goal: 40 days to apply GTD. Why 40? During this time a person manages to master a new activity. The GTD method optimizes intellectual work and relieves stress.
If you really want to manage your time better, recognize that, yes, it will take a major effort to overcome the inefficient habits that have become ingrained. Make a breakthrough: increase your own efficiency, facilitate the performance of any work. Free your consciousness from routine, and master your time once and forever.