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GTD is not only VW Golf Turbo Diesel. Brushstrokes of David Allen

Sogeti Labs
October 28, 2020

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This week we had the opportunity to attend a talk where our CTO Albert Tort told us first hand, how he uses Getting Things Done (GTD) in his day to day.  

If you have already had a first contact with David Allen, you will know that he is the creator of this methodology, and of course you will have been able to verify the importance that he attributes to the lists. Reading things like that none of those actions should be in our head. Since it occupies a space and that space must be dedicated to more productive activities than mere “storage”, in short.

But really, what is GTD?

It is a methodology that allows you to face your daily tasks in an efficient way in order to achieve a relaxed and productive state. To do this, you have to pay attention to capture anything that catches your attention. Later define it in a concise way. The next step would be to organize everything that you have previously obtained, depending on how and when. Once everything is “under control”, you should never lose the north and the revisions must be frequent, this would be the penultimate point. The last being the execution. If you have come this far, it is because everything is being managed correctly and there is only the “easiest” thing left, to do it!  

How do I apply GTD?

In my particular case, I use paper lists, Microsoft’s ToDo app, Google’s recorder on my Pixel, and Microsoft Outlook’s calendar and mail. Microsoft Teams also helps me a lot to manage myself on a day-to-day basis. Its calendar is more visual to me than Outlook’s, especially due to the stacking of tasks. Although, surely you will use many others.

In the end the purpose of this is to have the opportunity to collect all your thoughts, tasks and meetings in a systematic way that allows you to correctly control your activity. In my case, GTD I use it a lot for the short – medium term and I focus on another methodology to achieve quarterly, semi-annual and annual milestones. In this case, the methodology I use is OKR. In this way, I never lose focus of my long-term commitments.   

On the other hand, to say that I was amused to verify that the result of the GTD Training test ( ) indicated that I am an Autocrat / Commander in Chief. It could not be otherwise.  

In certain professions, it is essential to have some technique that allows you to control your day to day. Otherwise you will always have the feeling of continually putting out fires. With this form of self-organization, you will soon have more time available. You will have become tremendously more efficient. To me it happens that many of my fellow project, organization ask me where I get the time. It is nothing more than organization and commitment. 

It’s great to get to the end of the day and be able to say that everything is under control. There is nothing out there missing.

But to get to this point, you have to be very methodical, organized and decisive. You should create daily routines to, for example: review your daily to-do list first thing in the morning, as well as your email inbox and meeting list.

Once you have done this exercise, you will have been able to check if any of the meetings that you had scheduled have been cancelled or moved, if a new one has arrived, etc. It is important that in that first review, you have a number of tasks that are comfortable for you to manage. In addition to certain free gaps between meetings, this is vital!

Remember that if you have been moved to a meeting or if you have been invited to a last minute meeting, you can always decline, reschedule or attend. Now you can assess the importance of your attendance at them and prioritize accordingly.

Another important aspect is when a task is delegated. Delegating does not mean that you should not follow up, do not forget it!

I hope that with this short entry, if you did not know GTD or had never heard of OKR, at least you are curious to read more about them.   

About the author

SogetiLabs gathers distinguished technology leaders from around the Sogeti world. It is an initiative explaining not how IT works, but what IT means for business.


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