GTD 101….Asian Efficiency

The guys over at Asian Efficiency do an amazing job. They also write some great blogposts and I listen to their podcasts religiously.

Now, a while back, they published a post on the GTD 101. So no credit for me.

A good post to share before my sabbatical later this month.

Thanks guys, you doing an amazing job!

Enjoy – might be a good things to subscribe to their podcast today and get their newsletters and follow them etc. They are awesome!

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What I learned about GTD recently

I thought it was time to look at GTD once again. Lifehacker wrote a good summary, and I wanted to pick that up again. The five pillars of the GTD workflow are simple.


1: you need to capture everything.

Any to-do’s, ideas, tasks, re-occuring events or task, just anything that comes your way. If that is via Evernote or pen and paper or a tool, like the 2do app which I highly recommend and use daily if not hourly, is up to you. Whenever you think of anything that needs to get done, put it in your trusted system. The idea is: keep it simple as a tool and simple in terms of retrieving it. So capture it often, immediately and make it easy to review.


2: Plan what you capture and clarify what you need to do.

Writing the todos down is one thing, but you need to plan them too. Either by project managing them or breaking them down in mini tasks, putting a time against it or a due date or maybe even deleting them as they aren’t that relevant anymore. Can you delegate parts of it maybe?


3: Organise the items on your todo list….

The natural next step: once you have everything captured and know what you want to have, then organise the items and actions and todos in the app or your paper todo list. Categorise them if you can, e.g. home, personal development, work, hobby etc. Prioritise them A, B, C….or add a due date as of above. Some might just be on the list for GTD’s famous “some day maybe list” or some might go into your calendar as a reminder.


4: Review

Once a week, or on the go (I like to do it whilst being disconnected on flights), review and reflect. Review what’s on your todo list. What is next, what can wait, what has to be done sooner. Can we change the work flow? Can we be more specific? Should you break certain tasks down more?

Ideally you review the list once a week in the weekly review. Is the system working for you for all those steps so far?


5: GTD!

It is great to have many lists but you need to action on them too. Get to work and GET THINGS DONE, tick off a task and get going. You now can be proactive, you know where to focus and what to do and when. You got manageable tasks, easy to start.


Action over to you!



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GTD and the natural planning cycle

If you have read this blog carefully and you have watched the video, you must realise a pattern for success:

– Know what you want and have a vision
– Collect ideas
– Take action and direction

Success is simple if planned – and plan-able.

Watch this space for more stepping stones to your success!

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Evernote Video 5/5

Ok, last but not least, Dottotech publishes a lot of Evernote videos. See also video number 3. This one is another good one to watch but since it is Friday, maybe you want to treat yourself to a couple or search yourself on YouTube or Evernote direct 😉

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Evernote Video 1/5

This week I am sharing five videos about Evernote which I found useful. They are all around 15 minutes and worthwhile watching.

Again, like for anything I have said so far: find your own system and your own way of working with any available system. Evernote is a fantastic tool but people use it differently.

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Why focus on Productivity?

I often get asked why I focus on productivity. The answer seems simple to me. Ever since I was a wee boy, I did focus on improving myself and my workflow.

Whilst in school I realised early that it didn’t make sense to come home on a Monday to finish my homework I was given that day. If I did for instance had a task of reading a story, I wouldn’t remember it, if we weren’t having the same class until Thursday. Hence I changed and worked more project oriented, result driven. Of course I didn’t call it that.

So for the example above I wrote down to read the story on Wednesday (or for Thursday). The written tasks, like writing an essay or doing some maths homework, I did on the Monday but reviewed again just the day before they were due. I did effectively managed my tasks, created my own todo list to stay on top of things.

Then, as I grew up, I thought a lot about life. I thought about what I wanted to be, how the day went, which girls I liked and so on. I realised soon that a lot of thoughts came to my mind that stopped me from sleeping. So I took a pen and paper, put it next to my bed, and whenever I remembered to do something or review something, I wrote it down. I got it off my brain, emptied it, so I could sleep. The notes were in a safe place, a trusted system, for me to review at a later stage. I must have just been 10 years old.

I refined this over the years and found a lot of those things covered in GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen. Many years later I read all his books, I attended his seminar and realised I knew it all already, yet had less experience than he did. Never mind. This comes over time, and today I am here, talking about GTD, my own experience, work flows, processes, structures and strategies.

More often than not I am sitting at my desk, reviewing some articles, and notice that essentially all those time management and productivity gurus speak about the same things over again. They change the context of course. So for instance, the trusted place:

– This could be the trusted archive online (I recommend Evernote to do that).
– This could be a trusted place for your keys like a key hook or a place for important (offline) documents, like a folder.
– This could be for certain emails, an archive or folder within your email system.
– This could be a system rather than a place for certain processes: this could apply to anything from housework, office work, but also hobbies and alike. A routine if you like and if you are living with a partner and might even have children, then you already know what I am talking about. Because you can be set in your own ways too – which can be both positive but also negative.

You see, just because one is interested in productivity, that doesn’t mean it cannot touch all sort of things in life.

So where do we start, where do we stop.

As a basis for this blog I decided to make my newly commented book on Productivity of Life available to everyone. Open Source if you like. I want to discuss my ideas, make them available to everyone in order to being able to help you with some of the things you might need help with. My recent promotion of the book resulted in over 200 downloads, so I am confident you find it useful!

So for now, let’s have a look at some general things. We touched on trusted systems what they could mean, but haven’t really decided what they are or how we create them. Habits take seconds to break but 60 days to build. A tough decision to prioritise. That is another aspect of productivity.

Let’s leave it for now and let’s bring in some structure in the next post.

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