"Trying" to Get Things Done


Disclaimer: This post started as a comment to a post in one my friends blog.

In the past I’ve tried the Get Things Done (GTD) methodology and quickly dropped it. I found that by focusing in a single task I was missing important deadlines. Furthermore it became obvious to me that my list was growing and not shrinking. On the other hand, I do find it important to properly manage my time.

Back to Alfredo’s post: I’ve been running something very similar with a good degree of success, although I’m not radical enough to remove the network cable as I still depend on the network to get my work done, and do get several emails during the day that require my immediate attention. That said my “standard” workday looks like:

  • Read all email + twitter (I only follow a very limited number of people and constantly purge some of them now and then) + limited number of blogs through an RSS reader (leaving most of them for later reading)
  • Exit all non essential applications (echofon, NetNewsWire) and IM accounts (gtalk, facebook) - At this moment I have only email and "work" IM.
  • Work the morning through
  • Lunch
  • Check twitter + Some of the blogs
  • Work the afternoon
  • Home
  • Babysit my child until she is put to bed
  • Read everything pending
  • Sleep

Of course this would be a perfect day. And most of my days aren’t… I have meetings almost every day + classes. That completely screws any possible GTD plan.

Bottom line: GTD is al about wishful thinking and living in a world where you work alone. You must be flexible enough to be interrupted, specially by work related subjects. In order to get Work Done concentrate instead in doing work in the working hours and leaving everything else for your breaks and after hours.

written by Diogo Gomes