No time to make todo lists!

It’s no joke is it!  The very time when you need the structure and calm of knowing what needs doing and in what order is when you’re most under pressure.

Is there a solution?  Actually I think there is… it’s called Getting Things Done or GTD.  It was created by a clever chap called David Allen and is better than the old fashioned to do list in several ways.

1) It’s quite simple – in a nutshell you DO, DUMP, DELEGATE or DEFER each new or existing item.  There’s more to it than that, clearly but if you’re interested you’ll find out more (some links to resources above and at the end).

2) It encourages you to look at items on the list as part of a simple and ongoing process.  This includes a set of “tickler” folders to allow you to defer and review things in a disciplined way.

3) There are techniques for making a start.  One I used on my email to get to “Zero Inbox” is startlingly simple.  You move ALL the email currently in there into a folder called, say, Inbox_OLD.  Then you start processing new items using the GTD Workflow… this frees up time to gradually review the lump in inbox_OLD and apply the process to that.

Like all new ways of doing things in takes practice an patience to adopt and I’m still struggling to perfect my technique but I know one thing – I’m not going back to “To Do” lists again.


There are several tools you can use for GTD including an online resource at David Allen’s website called GTD Connect.

There’s also a great third party Firefox plugin for GMail (Googlemail) users here GTDInbox.

There’s a great iPhone app called Pocket Informant which has diary and GTD style task features complete with integration with Google Calendars and ToodleDo (which also has an iPhone app).

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