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“Getting things done” by David Allen.

posted Oct 10, 2011, 8:35 PM by Isaac Lopez   [ updated Dec 15, 2011, 10:50 AM by Victor Reina ]
By Jose Ignacio Gonzalez de la Fuente

The nerve that GTD is what’s the thinking process that facilitates the ability to get things done.

GTD as a martial art

Why a martial art? Because martial arts training prepares you to deal with surprises, with something that you never expected and GTD trains you to do the same. You need to have a mind like water, to have an appropriate response and engagement with what is present.

The more you concentrate the more you generate power and your ability to concentrate depends on your ability to eliminate distractions, that means that if you eliminate distractions you generate more power, easy right?
But think about it, what is a distraction? A distraction is a mismanaged commitment and that happens because our mind is limited to remember about them so it keeps reminding us about stuff we probably can’t do anything about it right now. The problem is that until it trusts a better system your mind won’t stop bugging you.

Usually the more you have in mind the less you get done and if you don’t give appropriate attention to that something that is bugging you it will distract you. If you really want to clear your mind you need to know that you have organized everything you need to do and that you will engage consciously with it as often as needed.
The master key of knowledge work athletics is the ability to refocus, rapidly on the right things at the right horizon.
Perspective (point of view, attitude, etc) is your slipperiest and most valuable commodity. Therefore methods for maintaining perspective are your most important tools.

The two aspects of self-management

Control: We consciously need to know that we are engaged and know all the options at any one time and place.
Perspective: aligned and clear about decisions, directions, and priorities.

The more control we get the more the more focused we are and the closer to the right perspective we are the more we know about what needs to be done and that’s why they are our goal.

We’ll talk about two GTD models and these are:

Mastering workflow

If you follow these five simple steps you’ll quickly gain control:
  • Collect: Collect anything that has potential meaning to you, anything that needs to be done or changed.
  • Process: Clarify what those things mean and decide what you want to do.
  • Organize: After processing you need to organize on when to do it and do it on the right place at the right time on a place you’ll see otherwise your brain will keep bugging you about it.
  • Review: Keep reviewing the things that you need to do to stay relaxed.
  • Do: After that just start doing all your tasks

Horizons of focus: The six levels of work

Life can be seen from many perspectives:
  • 50,000 ft – purpose, principles: Why are you on the planet, why are you here, your principles.
  • 40,000 ft – vision: What’s the long term thing, how to fulfill that purpose.
  • 30,000 ft goals: In order to make that vision happen we stablish our goals and objectives
  • 20,000 ft – areas of focus/responsibility: All the things you need to be doing and maintining
  • 10,000 ft – projects: Something you want to finish but will take some time.
  • Runway – next actions: This is right now
You obviously have to start from bottom to top because if you try to do it from top to bottom the bottom stuff will keep bugging you and won’t let you work.


If we want to have things done we need to have a clear mind, to have a clear mind we need to be in control of our tasks and do them using the right perspective.

GTD is important because it helps us to do all that and helps us not only to be more efficient in our job but also to have a better lifestyle.