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The 5 Absolute Worst Months to Start GTD

The 5 Absolute Worst Months to Start GTD
    Some months are the worst...

    David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology is one of – if not the – most highly-touted way you can improve your productivity on multiple levels.

    But implementing it isn’t something that you can just “get done”.

    GTD can be dififcult for those stuck in their ways and trying to adopt it on their own. Sure, the David Allen Company provides resources that can help you get into it more efficiently and effectively, but it’s still a lot to wrap your head around.

    Many people have to adjust their entire way of thinking when they try to use GTD, and that takes a whole lot of time, focus and effort. So choosing when to start GTD is critical.

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    Rather than offer the best times to start (which I may do in a later post), I’m going to go a different way. I think that by suggesting the worst months to start GTD you might just stand a better chance of committing to a start date, as opposed to waffling on one or trying to start right now.

    1. July

    This month is a bad one to start GTDing because it basically begins the summer season (for those living in the Northern Hemishpere). It’s a time where people want to enjoy their time, and not spend it learning how to best spend their time. Distraction levels are high due to the warm weather and the fact the kids (if applicable) are out of school.

    Ask yourself this: Would you rather start to practice “Mind Like Water” or actually “be in the water” during the month of July?

    In July, get out of your head…and get to the beach.

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    2. March

    This is a month where traveling is a big thing. Spring Break for a lot of students, warmer weather in the tropics for those North Americans seeking refuge from the cold – March doesn’t even like a full month once you factor a vacation in there.

    When you’re thinking about getting away at this time of year, it’s best not to think about getting things done at this time of year.

    3. December

    Don’t you have enough to do during this month? Doesn’t everybody that you’ll need to communicate with have enough to do that you’ll have trouble even syncing up with them when you need to – even without GTD as your ally?

    The holiday season is stressful enough for many; don’t over-season yourself by tackling the adoption of a productivity system on top of things. You’ve got enough to do in this month without having to learn how to do it better.

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    4. September

    Another time of year that seems to slip away just as quickly as it arrived. Summer is over, school is starting up and everyone at the office is hopefully refreshed from a few long weekends over the last couple of months. September is a time best spent getting connected with where you’re at so far in the year as opposed to tweaking how you got there.

    The month may leave quickly because of all of the “starting” happening all over the place, but most people seem to take the entire month just to get back into a routine. So settle back into that routine while looking at it for what it is this month. Save the looking at it for what it could be for a month in the future.

    5. January

    This one may sound a bit odd, especially considering that most resolutions are made (and often broken) in January. But think about it. You’ve just come out a holiday season that basically has lasted for all of December (and those in the United States have been in that mode since Thanksgiving) and now you’re asking yourself to commit to putting a system in place to get things done – and you’re asking yourself to do this without any recovery time.

    And people wonder why resolutions don’t stick.

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    January is a better month to spend reflecting on the year that just passed, to prepare yourself for the year ahead and recover from the holiday blitz you’ve just experienced.

    The Big Idea

    The big idea behind GTD is that it will help you in your quest to get things done. The worst idea is to pick a month where you have less of a chance of completing that quest.

    So, during which of the 7 remaining months will you start GTD?

    (Photo credit: Close Up Calendar Page with drawing-pin by Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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