Productivity: What's the new GTD?
July 23, 2016 6:48 AM   Subscribe

David Allen's "Getting Things Done" came out in 2001. It's transformed productivity, but the book is outdated in many ways (it predates smartphones). What book or methodology represents "the new GTD?"
posted by zooropa to Work & Money (9 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
David Allen updated his book to be more evergreen. However, I still think GTD still works in the age of smartphones because it is technology agnostic.
posted by saturdaymornings at 7:05 AM on July 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

Have the underlying principles behind GTD become outdated? Some of the methods and tools in the book are, sure, but there are many apps that are meant to facilitate GTD-based productivity. I use OmniFocus (OSX and iOS only). Not sure what else is out there but there have been tons of questions about productivity apps in the past. Apologies if I have misunderstood your question.
posted by good lorneing at 7:06 AM on July 23, 2016

Bullet Journaling? But it doesn't use smartphones, if that's essential for you.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:00 AM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

FWIW, my ADHD doctor told me only like 10% of people who attempt GTD are able to stick with it. I certainly found it pretty demanding, despite its evident popularity via book sales. What is it you like about it?
posted by rhizome at 9:51 AM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know if there's been anything that culturally pervasive. Planner methodology is a big thing (rolled in with design-heavy elements, but there are methodologies tied in), and lots of people have been ticking along with their own modified Franklin Covey or Filofax Method, or Erin Condren, or Bullet Journal, or Midori Travel Journal, etc etc etc. I think lots of people roll their own now, with hybrid paper-electronic systems.

It's not bad to have read GTD, I think, as it makes you think about the bigger picture of your needs, I just think it's a wildly fussy methodology that only suits a very specific sort of personality/life.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:29 AM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

to rhizome's point, I may have ADHD tendencies, and I find it really helpful to spend the time making sure things are "corralled." For my tastes there is a point of diminishing returns, and you have to know when to stop cataloging stuff, but on the whole it's helpful.

The direct answer to your question is going to be saturdaymornings. I bought the updated book (I had the old one) and I think the update is worth reading, because he does update his thinking for a world where the resources themselves are so much more often digital (and probably portable) in nature rather than on paper. However, he still doesn't come out and endorse a digital platform for organizing your personal "desktop," and while part of me wishes there were some universally "standard" product/platform for keeping it all together, it just ain't so.

Which leaves all of us trying to live out the concepts of his (or any other schema) picking our own poison... and sometimes having to duplicate a certain amount of work because we're on a team that has chosen other tools as well (I work for a company that sells and customizes CRMs, among other software/web dev chores, and CRMs are basically vast GTD systems for teams/companies).

I primarily use Evernote as my "hub." I'm obliged to use google apps for email, calendar, and slack for CONSTANT INTERRUPTIONS... (sorry, lost it there for a second), but everything that doesn't get done "on the fly" or isn't required to be on a calendar goes in Evernote according to a schema based on GTD and described in detail here:

It's a bit cludgy in that I realize I'm using a note system as a task manager, and it may be that I use it because it's what I'm used to, and if I had started with something else I'd like it better. But in practice, with my tags set up as described, I've got a quick menu to jump into my task lists based on urgency, and if I had more tasks that were dependent on location, which client I was at, etc., I could sort that too. More on this as I compare some of the other PM/task management tools in a sec...

Evernote recently went from "practically usable in its free version" to "not really usable unless you pay for it," so take note of that, but there are not really any super-great task managers out there that are really usable at the free level, IMO. There are free ones that aren't really great, and there are better ones that generally have a free tier with severe limitations.

I liked Asana, and thought it was pretty "GTD-aware," or at least could be made to work with that. In the end I didn't find it compelling to move away from Evernote, but worth a look.
posted by randomkeystrike at 2:47 PM on July 23, 2016

I have always tried to follow the spirit of GTD (which I read many years ago so maybe my practice has drifted, not sure). A few months ago I began using Google Keep which I like because of its instant syncing among my phone, tablet and Chrome browser. I have a GTD note for the "getting it out of my brain right away" principle, with CRITICAL, ASSORTED, WEEKEND headings and bullets underneath. Then I have separate "--- Next Actions" Notes (e.g., Vacation Next Actions).

Previously the above had sorta lived in Evernote then Remember the Milk, but since I started using Google Keep I've been very pleased. Note that if you start a line item with a dash the next line will automatically. Oh, and you can do colors and labels on the notes also.
posted by forthright at 6:21 PM on July 23, 2016

I tried GTD and others and always eventually fell off the wagon. Now, I think inventing one's own is the way to go. Only you know what your needs are, and the main task is to be objective enough to what you do every day to figure out the system to best work in your world. Plus, I am the type of person who is much more interested in a system if I am the one who put it together.
I use a paper notebook divided into 3 sections (General, Work only, Personal Projects) and these have corresponding Evernote notebooks. I regularly scan the pages into the corresponding Evernote notebooks and sort them further with tags.
I keep a GTD paper inbox, and live at email inbox zero which allows it to function as a digital GTD inbox.
My tasks are listed only in a paper planner, which also has my appointments written in from my Google calendars.
Being a Gen X-er, I realized after too many digital options which never stuck that paper just has to be part of my interface. The redundancy makes it easier to remember things, and keeps me disciplined. Plus, I enjoy writing and typing.
posted by eusebis_w_adorno at 9:47 PM on July 23, 2016

I don't know how widely lauded it is, but I really enjoyed "How to Be a Productivity Ninja" by Graham Allcott.
posted by Urban Winter at 9:46 AM on July 24, 2016

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