I’ve always been a big fan of David Allen in his getting things done approach. The approach simply is about freeing your mind by writing down any thought or idea.
It suggests that you review those written ideas periodically, for example daily. If any idea can be done in 2 mins, then do it immediately. Otherwise, schedule it or delegate it to someone else. If an idea needs more than one step (phases), then it’s a project. If an idea doesn’t go under any of the above, then it’s under “Someday”.
You have to dedicate small time periodically to review your papers. If you’re using apps, they notify you of scheduled tasks of course.
(Reference: Getting Things Done – David Allen – Penguin Books – 2003)
While this approach can be achieved using any app (a pen and paper could do it), there are some apps that are setup out of box to do this. I highly recommend:
- NirvanaHQ (Web, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
- Things 3 (Mac, iOS)
Other apps that help in this with some modifications or tweaks:
- Remember the Milk
The app itself doesn’t matter
Personally, I managed this approach through Apple Reminders by creating the following lists:
- Inbox: For ideas.
- Tasks: For tasks with date (or tasks to be flagged)
- Someday: this is temporary as Apple is working on option to create smart lists. So, you can keep this section under the above list “tasks” and create smart list for tasks with no dates and not flagged.
- List for each project if any.
So the GTD approach will be as following:
- Focus (Today) – smart list
- Next Actions (Flagged) – smart list
- Scheduled – smart list
(You can do the same in Microsoft To Do app too)
If you go though much of pressures and overwhelmed by tasks to be done, this approach helps a lot. Have you ever used it? What do you use to manage your life?