Improving Workflow – GTD for me

I’m not so good at getting things done, I know, I know, I’ve even written about the book, GTD, but sometimes, it’s actually hard to transform the knowledge that something needs doing, to working out what to do.


Forms and procedures don’t seem to do real well with me, they are useful for setting up a project, or as a final checklist before a set of drawings goes out the door, but for everything else, really I just need a framework that I can operate in. For me, I call this my workspace, whether this is at home, in the office, on my laptop, or in my car, there are tools that I need with me to get things done.

Aside from the physical tools required, (chair, pen computer, phone, etc) there are concepts too., (which may also be physical). The inbox, the next actions list, the tickler file, and archives.

My GTD solution for next actions is currently vitalist and index cards. Ticklers are vitalist and google calendar, archives are file folders, my computer and backups, as well as gmail.

Added to this, I’m in the process of implementing activeCollab for projects, which I’m hoping will reduce my need for vitalist, which has just introduced a paid version structure. But the basis for all my lists and todos still comes back to the trusty index cards, having a stack of these lying around, and being able to clip them together and rearrange as necessary gives me a feeling of control and wellbeing never before experienced prior to GTD.

Do I have an organisational problem? Probably? Is GTD the only way to solve it? Probably not, but it works for me.

How do you organise your life?


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Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.