Five Recent Developments in Getting Things Done

ILL on day 90It’s a bit hard to believe that David Allen’s Getting Things Done is now a decade old, since GTD is still more or less the starting point for meaningful online discussions of productivity.

David Allen-style GTD lurks behind a fair number of the software reviews and productivity-oriented posts on this site, and Natalie and Nels, in particular, have contributed an excellent series of academic-oriented overviews: Nels on “An Introduction to GTD (Getting Things Done)” and “Creating GTD Action Lists for Students”; Natalie explained “GTD Contexts and Academic Work” and suggested “Try a Mind Sweep.”

So it seemed like it might be helpful, particularly on a Monday, to capture the recent flurry of activity around GTD systems that erupted last week. Here are five links (plus 2 bonuses) that might interest anyone thinking this summer about how to be more productive:

  • The recent discussion of GTD began with Dave Lee’s bold claim that “GTD Sucks for Creative Work. Here’s an Alternative System”: Though I still appreciate some of GTD’s principles (next action, desired outcome as project, brain dumping, etc), I think the system can actually work against the creative innovator.
  • Building off of Lee’s post, Sven Fechner offers an overview of “The State of Getting Things Done”: While most comments are defending GTD, I thought the fact that we are all willing to discuss this is pretty remarkable to start with. Is it conviction that makes us defend our productivity methodology of choice or do we just want to avoid any self-doubt?
  • Jason Heppler provides a DH-friendly look at “An Alternative GTD System”: I also keep a text file in Notational Velocity called “qq What was I doing” where I’ll make a note on what I was working on so I can pick it up the next day.
  • Jeff Hunsberger’s explanation of “Setting Up Contexts” is based on Omnifocus, but offers a good explanation of this basic idea: Briefly put, Contexts are where things get done. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people and that’s why people have such a rough time grasping it. (Related: See Fechner’s A Fresh Take on Contexts,” which focuses on time and attention rather than location or tools. On this, also see Natalie’s “The Zombie List.”)
  • Perhaps the most honest one is by Eddie Smith, of Practically Efficient, on “The Color of Creativity”: The process of creativity isn’t glamorous. It’s simply about hard work, the management of emotions, and delayed showmanship.

Do you have a favorite GTD-modified workflow? Let us know in comments!

Photo “ILL on day 90″ by Flickr user Manchester City Library” / Creative Commons licensed BY-SA-2.0

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