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"Getting Things Done" Basics Cheat Sheet by

The concrete structure of the "Getting Things Done" Model as well as application guidance drawn from "GTD" and "The Power of Less"

Task Management Key Objectives

Capture everything that might need to get done or have usefulness in your life, big or small, now or later, maybe or cetainly, in a logical system outside and off of your mind.
Make front-end decisions about all inputs and create a working inventory of concrete next actions to implement or renego­tiate.
Engage & Organize
Curate and coordinate all levels of commit­ments at any given time and take meaningful action based on your context and priori­ties.


"­Stu­ff" is anything and everything in your psycho­logical or physical world that doesn't belong where it is or the way it is, but you haven't determined it's value, outcome, and next action.
Once we allow "­Stu­ff" into our lives, we have an inherent, internal commitment to ourselves to clarify it's meaning.
Anything that we think we "­Should do", "­Ought to do", "Need to do", "Have to do", and, in most cases, "Want to do", are considered "­Stu­ff" and need our attention.

2 Steps to Resolving "­Stu­ff"

1. Defining what "­DON­E" means
The specific desired outcome.
2. Determine what "­DOI­NG" looks like
The next physical action to take in accomp­lishing the desired outcome.

Basics to Managing Commit­ments

If anything is on your mind, your mind is not clear. Any and all open-loops must be collected outside of your mind in order for you subcon­scious to be at ease.
You must clarify exactly what each commitment is (desired outcome) and decide exactly what you must do to make progress toward fulfil­lment (Next Action).
Once you have decided on outcomes and actions, you must keep a reminders of them in a system you review regularly.

6 Levels for Reviewing Work

All current actions.
Horizon 1
Current Projects
Horizon 2
Areas of Focus and Accoun­tab­ili­ties.
Horizon 3
Horizon 4
3-5 Year Vision
Horizon 5
Purpose and Principles

GTD 5 Step Model

1. Capture
Capture everything that has our attention.
2. Clarify (or Process)
Clarify what each item means and what to do about it by defining "Next Action­".
3. Organize
Organize the results in contexts with hard edges.
4. Reflect
Reflect on what is essential and what can be deferred or put aside.
5. Engage
Engage in the most meanin­gful, high impact projects and actions.

Capture, Process, and Organize

First step is capturing absolutely 100% of things you consider incomplete in your world, big or small.
Seek out all places you may have reminders of obliga­tions when creating your initial list: Journals, Mail, Notes, Post-Its, Email, Texts, Cell Notes, Calender, ETC.
Once all items have been collected, each item must be processed ONE BY ONE WITHOUT JUMPING AHEAD. Clarify the outcome and decide on the next physical action required to accomp­lishing that outcome. Sometimes, the next action may be unsure, in which case "­res­ear­ch" may be an approp­riate next action.
You cannot organize the incoming "­Stu­ff". First, each item must be captured and processed, and only then can the resulting outcomes and actions be recorded in the approp­riate contexts.


Once steps 1-3 are complete, you have the ability to step back and review the whole picture.
Use your calender only to display the "Must do's" of any given day ie: appoin­tments, calls, time critical tasks, events (such as birthd­ays).
Review your "­Pro­jec­ts" and "­Waiting For" lists only as regularly as needed to stop you from wondering about them.
Conduct a Weekly Review in which you: Gather and Process "­Stu­ff", Review your system and make adjust­ments, update lists of projects and actions, Get clear, clean, current, and complete.

Weekly Review

Get Clear
Empty your mind of any "­Stu­ff", collect loose materials and notes, process your "­In" to empy.
Get Current
Review next actions, calender, "­Waiting For", Projects vs Maybes, any checkl­ists.


At Home
At Computer
Waiting For


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