Feeling unproductive with GTD? Take a break from electronic GTD

How many of you use an electronic device with a Getting Things Done software to practice effective GTD?

I know I am one of those. Currently my set up is to use Google Calendar together with Toodledo. But due to work, I use a monologue notebook to record my to do list.

I came across this post on lifehack.org that makes a lot of sense. It gross over how many people new to Getting Things Done will spend a lot of time trying to find the perfect platform to practice GTD.

I know the feeling of first finding out Getting Things Done through reading David Allen’s book and learning that there are so many software on Windows, Mac, iPhone that allows you to make yourself more productive.

Like what was mentioned in the article you either

  1. spend a lot of time trying to find the right application
  2. spend a lot of time entering and planning your action lists

I been through that stage and safe to say I seldom fell off the Getting Things Done wagon.

Taking a break from electronic GTD

But it wasn’t always like this. I tried so much applications, review so much applications that I forgot what is most important about GTD.

Its about being well rounded and executing each stage of the GTD process well.

What does that mean? You can’t just focus on one area of GTD. If you focus on collecting and planning and don’t review and execute, you end up pilling up your tasks.

Similarly, tagging everything based on context and not switching to them when you change context, you will end up pilling up your tasks as well.

Not reviewing your tasks, is the most dangerous. I fell off so many times because of this.

So what is my advice? Take a break from using an electronic device. Record your actions and collect them using a paper notebook.

What it does is to go back to square one and focus on the most important thing: The process.

When I went back to practicing Getting Things Done on paper, I realize a lot of short comings of not having things electronically

  1. I cannot keep my list clean. There is no erase and edit. Instead I have to make sure I use a mechanical pencil and eraser and use very nice handwriting.
  2. Maintaining a projects list is difficult. My main lists are list of my location context, agenda context with certain users and person. How can I relate those tasks with project? It is that difficult.

But having paper GTD has its perks. For one, my task collection and context switching Is much easier. It also lets me focus on the process of collecting tasks, planning them, doing them and reviewing them.

It makes me appreciate what I can get on a iPhone and Android To Do List app as well.

If you are confuse about Getting Things Done after some time, why not go back read the book again and review how you can practice that process on paper? I am sure you will learn a lot from that experience.

Kyith is a blogger with interest in all things on Wealth Mastery, Technology, Business and Productivity.