Blog
How to Get Things Done
11
Jul
2013

Have you ever wondered, “How do I get organized?” or “How do I get things done?” how can I get organized,

For years I found myself frustrated about my organizational system (or the lack thereof).  Don’t get me wrong, I could remember lots of things. It was remembering things when I NEEDED to remember them that was the problem.

And then I discovered Getting Things Done,  The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.  He says, “The reason we lose sleep and stress out over stuff we need to remember is that we haven’t figured out a good system for storing our stuff until we need it.” Think of it like this, every single piece of information you take in, on any given day, floats around in your brain until you take some sort of action with it.  Everything: work meetings, doctor’s appointments,  the article you said you’d write, your mom’s birthday card.  Every single piece of information you take in floats around in your head until you do something with it.

How Does Getting Things Done Reduce Your Stress?

You need to identify those loose actionable items that are floating around in your head. All that clutter is a drain on your energy, and leaves you with a vague panicky feeling that you are dropping balls and wondering what you forgot to do. Developing a system to organize information and stay productive is the secret to reducing stress. (Tweet this!) Once you do that, figure out what things you can “delete” from your memory. It’s okay to let go of some details so you can focus on the actionable items. Things that either need YOUR attention or things you can delegate.

I found the entire Getting Things Done system too complex to follow it to get organized, so I made my own streamlined system. I’m going to show you how I make the concept of Getting Things Done work for me now!

 

Alli Style Getting Things Done 

Delete, Delegate, or Do, then Decide.

Step 1- Filter the Information to Delete, Delegate or Do

If an item makes it past deleting, and it isn’t something I will delegate to my team,  I do the following:

Step 2- Decide What Action to Take

Option 1- Take Action Now.

  • Reply to that email or do things that you can do right now.  Boom. Done. Feels great, right?

Option 2- Set a Reminder

Get reminders app for getting things doneI add it to my “Reminders” app by creating a task for myself to deal with it at a certain time (that day or a day in the future) or a reminder of something I should remember when I’m doing something (at the airport next Thursday at 3pm.)  The great thing about reminders is that it syncs on all my macs . . . so handy!  There are more task apps out there than I can count and I’ve tried most of them but the simplicity and seamless iOS  integration of the Reminders app simply just works.

Option 3-  Add it to a Calendar.

Google Calendar with Getting Things DoneAs soon as anything is scheduled it is important to schedule it in a calendar immediately. Not at the end of a call, not tomorrow…now. You won’t remember it later. I know. I use Google Calendar for this because it syncs well on all platforms.

 

Option 4- Add to Project Management System

getting things done,Important pieces of information is added to my project management software (Basecamp) for myself (I also use Basecamp to work with my team…it’s great for delegating). When it comes to organizing my work and communicating with my team…

“If it is not on Basecamp, it didn’t happen.” (Tweet this!)

 

Option 5- Archive it for Later

Getting things done with EvernoteEvernote is my app of choice to archive everything from my receipts, articles I’ve researched, client tutorials, coaching notes and future article notes. All my research and notes are organized with tags and all text is searchable.

Alli’s Tip: When I take notes on paper (Yes, I love pen & paper!) I simply take a picture of my note and save it to Evernote. The Evernote system recognizes my words and makes all my notes searchable. It’s awesome! 

Here’s a visual for my productivity process for getting things done.

How do I get organized,

 

I use this system every time to stay organized and reduce stress.  If I don’t, I’m sunk.  I’ve learned that I simply won’t remember, so I’m consistent about organizing my tasks.

So if you’re tired of saying you can’t get organized, you can’t stay focused and can’t get things done; then it’s time to take some action and develop your best organizational system. Whether it’s Getting Things Done or another system that works for you, the key is to consistently work your system.

How to get things done. Alli Worthington Style

YOUR TURN- 

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends. They ‘ll thank you! 

Here are some fun ways to share-

Have you said, “How do I get things done?” Read @Alli’s article! (Tweet this!)

Stop wasting your time and get a system to get things done! via @Alli (Tweet this!)

Delete, Delegate, Do or Decide. There is no try. via @Alli (Tweet this!)

 

If you’ve got a system that you love, I’d love to hear what it is.

Tell me what it is that’s working for you.

What Apps do you use in your productivity systems?

Do you ever ask yourself  “How do I get organized?”

What tip do you have to share?

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  • Nan

    I was hoping Dilly-Dally or Delay would be in there. DARN!

    • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

      Most of the time it is. Heh. :)

  • lucrecer

    One app that has been very helpful is Any.do. The more I use it, the easier it is to not forget things that I have to get done. Google Calendar is where I add my appointments for me and my family. Evernote is where I put all kinds of things I may want to read or explore later. I started collecting ideas in a Spark file recently. I use a Google doc for that. Now, if I could get my email under control, I know things would run a lot smoother for me.

    • angelaengland

      Don’t even talk to me about email. *shame*

      • lucrecer

        Email. I think my box is down to about 700. This weekend, I am determined to get it to zero.

      • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

        Mailbox app- magic inbox zero! :)

        • Laughlinl

          I’d love to see another blog post about other programs you use to keep your life together.

          I too tried GTD and couldn’t make it work. I came up with my own system, but it’s paper based and that proved to be dysfunctional. One of the business ideas I’m considering is actually an electronic version, but that space is VERY full and it’s hard to tell if anyone else thinks like me.

          • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

            I can help with that! :)

          • Laughlinl

            Yes. I know, that’s part of the reason I’m a VIP subscriber. I read your form and I think *I* need to be clearer about which of the six directions I’ve identified that I want to pursue before I engage your services. Rest assured, you’re on my radar. :)

          • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

            Ha! A lot of it is already here for you- http://alliworthington.com/idea-validation/ Scroll to the end of the post and check out the resources to get feedback on your ideas. :)

          • Laughlinl

            Yep, read it. Have all the sites bookmarked. I’m a regular Alli groupie ;)

          • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

            You are awesome, Lee!

  • Hart Roberts

    Added bonus, the Reminders app also uses location services…meaning you can set a reminder that notifies per address instead of time! i.e.-”don’t forget the white wine” can pop up as soon as you walk out of work (input address) instead of setting one based on time that ends up being irrelevant if you leave late…not that that ever happens :P

    • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

      Yes! I love that. That is the most brilliant part. (I’m always late. Always. )

  • http://www.boundless.net/ Jen Welton

    I did not know that about your Evernote tip! That was the only thing that I never put in Evernote because I felt like I was “licking my calf”. You have made my org system (very similar to yours) complete. Thank ye M’dear!

    • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

      “Licking my calf” That is awesome. :)

  • http://about.me/annakaliska Kala

    Great post Alli! I think you should check out and try SmartTM app (known as a SmartGTD now, but soon name will be changed). This app is an efficient and intuitive task manager working great with Evernote, iCal and GCalendar. Hope you’ll like it!

    What’s more app is one of the participants of Evernote Devcup. If you like it don’t forget to support us and vote for SmartTM (SmartGTD) :) here’s how to do it http://goo.gl/hdwU1

    • http://alliworthington.com/ Alli Worthington

      Thanks Kala, I’ll be sure to check it out! :)

  • Tammy Munson

    I actually printed this out — love this streamlined Alli-style system! The only thing is that I LOVE my paper calendar (writing it down helps me remember it – or I’m more likely to remember it) Would it be better to just suck it up and use the Google one b/c it has alarms too?

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