Getting Things Done and Lean

Getting Things Done (GTD)

David Allen’s bestselling book Getting Things Done (GTD), is manual of sorts for individuals and organizations searching for a work-life management system. The book has changed the lives of individuals around the globe, helping them increase productivity, free their mind, and manage their time with control and perspective.

A lean thinker is always looking to eliminate waste and increase productivity in the most efficient way.Which is precisely why it is important to wrap our minds around the GTD system and find out how it can benefit your lean system.

Information Overload

Managing your time at work has never been harder than it is today. Our attention spans are shorter and we expect information instantly. The mental skills needed for today’s work environment where multitasking  and heavy workloads are all to common , are increasingly rare to find.

The GTD approach to solving the information overload is a five stage process that turns your hectic overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity.

As you read through the five stages, continue to visualize your lean system and the benefits GTD can have for you.

The five steps of GTD

1. Capture/Collect- Everyday our mind is full of ideas, to-do’s, and random thoughts that distract our day. The goal of step one is to capture each thought and safely store the information in an inbox. By safely storing your thoughts, you allow your mind to take the initial steps towards doing an action. Also, with the thought stored away, the need for recollection removed, reducing the amount of distraction to the mind. Last but not least, Empty the inbox Regularly!
2. Process- The goal now is to look at the stuff you have captured and decide what to do with them. Allen offers five steps to help you process your stuff.

  • Remove it from the inbox
  • Identify what it is
  • Identify if it is actionable
  • Identify the direct next action
  • Decide what to do with that action next

Going through your information requires you to decide which items need to be acted on, which need to be archived, and which need to be trashed. If an item requires less than two minutes of action, it should be done right then and there, thus deleting the item from your box.

3. Organize- Once you have the information from processing, you then need to organize it in a manner that is easily accessible. This requires you to place each item into specific buckets that have been allocated accordingly. These buckets can be projects or reference topics, which help organize all similar items into one common area.

4. Review- This step is essential a refresh button. This allows you to refresh you mind of commitments, and close out loops on items taking more time than they should. Three reviewing cycles recommended are daily, weekly and monthly.

5. Do- The end is all about taking action. The previous steps are only effective if things are actually getting done. The four criterion for choosing which task to take action on first are context, time available, energy and priority.

Both lean and GTD are powerful approaches to a better workplace. They are proven methods that aim to improve productivity and efficiency of the people that embrace their ways.

The quick glance into the five steps of GTD was a brief overview into the system. For a complete overview, read the book or check out the official website and see what it can bring to your lean team today.

Additional Resources