For those in the know, GTD (aka Getting Things Done) has been a highly effective productivity booster for almost 20 years, bringing order to cluttered minds and workflows around the world. The brainchild of productivity consultant David Allen, the first iteration of the methodology appeared in his book Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity back in 2001, with a revised edition being released in 2015.
It’s simple and straightforward approach to productivity has won many fans along the way, and as a method of getting to grips with your workload, there’s plenty of benefits to the system—whatever apps or tools you want to use. But wait. There’s more! In fact, by combining GTD with Spike, you open up a whole new world of possibilities that will streamline your work like never before.
What is GTD?
Getting Things Done is a personal productivity methodology designed to enhance creativity, strategy building, and mindfulness at work and at home. Underpinned by the idea of moving to-dos from your mind and onto paper (or the digital equivalent!), it works by asking you to break down tasks and projects into actionable items. The basic premise being, if your mind is free from the drudgery of task management, it will have more space to deal with the tasks themselves.
Within the book, Allen identifies something called “open loops”, tasks that have undefined actions or outcomes. These open loops lead to stress, procrastination, and inefficiencies, wasting your time and stalling your flow. The ultimate goal for the Getting Things Done process is to take your tasks and put them into a system external to your mind, allowing you to work on the task at hand as open loops or incomplete tasks work their way through the various steps towards completion.
Getting Things Done – Steps
At its core, GTD relies on five simple steps or stages that examine and enhance your workflow. These are:
Record, write, or note everything that requires your attention in a single place. Often, this is done using some kind of collection tool or app.
Identify whether your items are actionable and decide on the next step. If they are not actionable, decide whether to trash, reference, or put on hold.
Sort your items and add reminders in appropriate places. This might be your calendar or some other type of notification system.
Frequently review your items and update where necessary. This allows you to regain control and focus.
Trust your system to do the hard work for you. Engage with your work and let the GTD method do the rest.
Working logically through each of these steps will allow you to organize your to-dos and tasks and put the Getting Things Done system into action.
How to Use Getting Things Done with Spike
GTD has been designed as a “tech-neutral“ system in order to appeal to as many users as possible. This means you can apply the methodology to the digital platform of your choosing. However, to make the most of the Getting Things Done system, a GTD user needs the following tools:
- Trash Can
- Filing System
And this is where we know Spike excels, giving you access to everything you need to rock the GTD system within a single app. Put simply, with all the tools you need to master GTD in a single feed, you can ditch the app switching and expect to be even more productive over the long term.
Here’s how Spike can act as an accelerator for the Getting Things Done methodology.
Capture – Using To-Dos as your Getting Things Done list allows you to record all of the things you need to complete, giving you an instant overview of everything that needs to be entered into the GTD system. Here, you can create checklists or other types of list formats to ensure you’ve got everything down before you move onto clarify each individual item.
Clarify – Spike Tasks gives you the opportunity to quickly and efficiently assign Tasks as “Open”, “In Progress”, “Stuck, or “Done” depending on your needs. You can also add notes, tables, tick boxes and other resources to each individual task to ensure you have all the information you need in the right place at the right time.
Organize – One of the key points of the GTD system is to avoid using your inbox as a to-do list. However, by combining Spike Notes and Tasks with the advanced features of Priority Inbox, you can set reminders while avoiding this issue. For instance, if you record an actionable item for next week on your to-do list, you can simply set the associated email or message to return to the top of your Inbox on that specific date. Of course, you also have our Calendar integrated in the app for even more organizational options.
Reflect – Having everything in the same place, across all of your devices means you can reflect and review anywhere, at any time. As part of your getting things done weekly review (see below), you can pull out your smartphone or tablet and look over your lists, Tasks, and To-Dos whenever you have a spare minute. Everything will be saved for when you return to your workstation so you’re ready to get right back into it.
Engage – Once your GTD system is in place, Spike can help to keep you focussed on each individual task using a combination of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Instant messaging is integrated directly into your inbox for when you need to chat, while good old email can give you a little space when you need it. Additionally, with everything you need to optimize the GTD system in a single place, you can save time by giving the app switching a rest!
Getting Things Done Weekly Review
One final point, which we’ve already touched on briefly, is to highlight the importance of the GTD weekly review. While the GTD system is designed to work quietly in the background as you engage with your tasks, the weekly review helps you keep everything in order, so things don’t become chaotic.
In your weekly review, you should review the tasks you have snoozed for the coming week, look over your calendar, and declutter your inbox (even if it means snoozing items until a later date). For more information on the weekly review, check out this podcast episode from David Allen.
The GTD systems states that this means getting to “Inbox Zero”, but our Priority Inbox pretty much takes care of that for you! You can however, ensure that any mails you need to deal with in the following week are set to pop up back in your Inbox at the time you choose, as well as pin or unpin things to the top of your Inbox that need to be dealt with first thing Monday morning.
Whatever your approach, you should still review your To-Dos, your Calendar, and your Tasks as part of a weekly getting things done summary, as well as identify things that may be useful for the future. Compiling a “Someday/Maybe” list is a good place to start, bringing all those projects that you don’t quite have time for together in a list. Additionally, a list including all of your creative and crazy ideas that you haven’t had time to think through is an ideal way to keep your mind active while still giving yourself the time to evaluate and refine your thoughts over the long period.
Here at Spike, we’re reimagining and reinventing the way you work—and our communication and collaboration tools are the perfect fit for the Getting Things Done system. Let us know how you use Spike with GTD @SpikeNowHQ or stay tuned to the blog for more personal and collaborative productivity tips designed to help you push your career to the next level.