Hi folks,

Any thought to doing a podcast on David Allen't GTD methods? Could be a fine topic for one of your shows given GTD's emphasis on hands-on / real-world skills and techniques.


P.S. I'm a regular listener of your podcasts -- thanks very much, they are both interesting and useful, and I'm a fan!

Mark's picture
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Oh, YA THINK??!!!? :D

Mike and I are trying to lay one into the queue on GTD... Our issue is the management piece of it. We want to not just repeat what's in the book. And, we've got other stuff lined up as well.

Bottom line: we TOTALLY agree, and we're trying to make it happen.

Thanks for being a fan!


MikeK's picture

I've recommended this book on to one of my directs (I haven't read it yet myself, it was based on recommendations here) and he has said he is not enjoying it and feels the whole book is simply about organizing your workspace and self and he thinks that it is all common sense. I can't agree or disagree until I read it myself obviously.

This is a junior employee and I sure know there is a lot more to productive work than that so I'm hoping that he is just not getting out of this book everything there is. Can anyone who's read this comment on what it covers and if it was helpful to you? I'm in an engineering organization so our team is generally fairly organized to work productively already (although that is questionable at times), but I want to improve things of course...

What do you think of GTD? (I'll read it, but not till I'm done with Drucker, :) )

Mark's picture
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Ah, proof of the aphoristic guidance, don't recommend books you haven't read.

I can't speak for your employee - though I'm not pure enough to not have an opinion - but GTD is NOT common sense. It's the furthest thing from it. If it were, the behaviors would be common, and they are not.

And, engineers and engineering orgs are no more organized than other organizations, unless their culture specifically addresses it with something like the five S's. (And while it's wonderful, it's pretty rare.)

Read the book, and then challenge him with data.


MikeK's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]Ah, proof of the aphoristic guidance, don't recommend books you haven't read.

... - but GTD is NOT common sense. It's the furthest thing from it. If it were, the behaviors would be common, and they are not.
Read the book, and then challenge him with data.


Thanks Mark,

I'm glad to hear this. And yes, I will definitely be reading this book myself soon. Another peer at work is reading it now so I'll have his opinion as well!

I just finished reading Drucker EE, and I must thank you for it as a recommendation. It truely is a wonderful book that I am sure I will have to read again to get everything I need to out of it.

Mike K

Brent's picture

For what it's worth, there's an excellent [url=]Official GTD forum[/url], with a lot of advice about implementing GTD. Might be confusing if you haven't yet read the book, but if you want to investigate it a bit, it can give you a taste of the system.

I'm an enthusiastic user and proponent of GTD; love it. (And not paid to write this.)

ChrisG*son's picture

Unfortunately, common sense is anything but common. Why? Because it's easy to see what needs to be done, and very hard to do it.

Following Drucker’s advice to know your colleagues’ learning styles, do you know if this person [i]likes[/i] to read? If not, I could recommend a great podcast…

Personally, I love to read. (I’m an English Major who somehow ended up in financial services marketing.) I’ve read GTD and I’m a very, very big fan.

Not long ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Project Management class--I’ve been tackling some pretty complex projects (e.g. web redesign, new complex financial products development, etc.)-- and while the full PM methodology is way too cumbersome for most projects, I realized that the basic discipline of PM would be [i]hugely[/i] significant for the multitude of mini-projects that, due to their urgency, crowded out the more strategic thinking I ended up doing on the weekends. I found David Allen’s [u]Getting Things Done[/u], and it was exactly what I was looking for. Add to that Drucker’s [u]Effective Executive[/u] and I was really starting to get it. Then I found Manager Tools and it felt like the puzzle was finally starting to come together.

I manage a lot of vendor relationships (design firms, copywriters, programmers), but have no direct reports. If I did, and they liked to read, I would xerox Ch. 3 of GTD and ask them to read it. If they didn't, I might suggest the GTD audiobook, and/or a certain podcast I like.

I still have a long, long, long way to go, and I'm still experimenting with how to implement GTD in a way that is consistent, trustworthy, and effective, but I'm making progress.

My first reaction to your situation was that your direct feels like they’re being told to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. My second reaction is this: if they think GTD is just common sense, they’re not busy enough.

(I'm not trying to be unkind--early in my career, my projects were small and clearly-defined, I'd never seen anything go wrong, and I was immature and I thought I could get by on smarts alone, so I too would have dismissed GTD as useless.)

kddonath's picture

If manager tools could do a podcast review of GTD, that would be awesome!

The place where I struggle is how to organize priorities in the task lists. If I've got a list of 100 tasks, how do I pick which ones for today?

I've used Allen's MS Outlook guide - creating categories of @computer, @home, @calls, etc. and these work very well.

Any additional insight in a podcast would be a big help!

Keep up the excellent work on the podcasts!

ctomasi's picture

Hi, my name is Chuck. I've been a GTD Disciple for 4 years...


You have to be careful how you approach a podcast (or any publication) of GTD content. That's David Allen's IP. While it may seem like "common sense topics glued together" they are pretty strict about what you can say and what you can't. I was involved with an IT podcast about a year ago that covered some of the concepts and how they can be implemented effectively in IT. We asked David Allen for permission to air the show to cover our collective butts. Fortunately he was kind to us because put a good spin on it.

Mark's got the right idea by staying away from the re-hashing of the book (or in my case the audio files). Since I've lived and preached GTD and implemented tools like LifeBalance as a Sys Admin, I would be interested to see how closely my Manager impelementation comes to your thoughts Mark.

I've taken the one-on-one folder and stretched it to other one-on-one meetings with peers, superiors, and customers. It's basically my @Agendas group in paper form and works fairly well, but could use some tweaks.

Mark's picture
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Thanks for the support! We're rying to be helpful and yet respectful of the content... and we're erring on the side of respectful.


Tamaj's picture

I am not sure whether some publicity for other sites is tolerated here, but there is IMHO a very good resource on GTD methods available at [url][/url]. The guy running the blog (Merlin Man, but I guess that has to be an alias) has also a more practical approach and gives good hints how to apply the GTD methods. Look there for the posts in the GTD folders (resp. posts with the GTD tag).

Not sure how Merlin is handling the IP issue mentioned by Chuck...


Mark's picture
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Thanks for the recommendation. Such references, meant to help others develop their professional and managerial skills, are always welcome here.


jasdf's picture

Granted, it was a project in which I was 90-percent of the resources, so I was only hold up myself!

I hit a point a couple of years ago where I accepted that my system just wasn't working. I'd tried day to day lists & every iteration the Franklin Covey store had to offer with moderate success. But, at some point, I'd fall off the wagon, and starting again was daunting.

I went out, bought the book and spent three days reading it before collecting, dumping and processing my tasks. It made all the difference in gettng through my project without losing my wits. And, I'm thrilled to say I'm still using a variation of it a couple of years later.

ctomasi's picture

I'm subscribed to 43 Folders podcast, but he hasn't been putting out as many in recent months. I like it and miss it. Interestingly enough he doesn't have to worry about the IP stuff because he doesn't talk about it directly. He may reference it here and there, but it's usually how he implemented or recognized where it needed to be implemented. Much of the podcast is about his trials and tribulations. Good stuff, but like MT, I wish there were more.

Tamaj's picture


indeed the 43 Folders podcast comes out quite irregularly. I rather propose you should have a closer look on his blog and especially what has been posted in the GTD category. My personal favourites are still the "inbox box" tips.


ollicres's picture

Hi everybody,

I don't know if anyone has already cited this book, but I think that Tom Limoncelli's "Time Management for System Administrators" (O'Reilly) is a great TM book, even for non-SysAdmin or non-technical people.

It gives first some sound advice about why to use a TM system, and then illustrates the Circular System, which I found useful (basically it gave me the spin to organize some methods that I was already using, but not togheter and effectively). Probably this is way I enjoyed it and why it was easy to start implementing those tools.

Its style is easy (even for an Italian).
There is just one very technical chapter about programming and routines and so on, in which I was not really interested (even if I manage my firm system...)

Just my two cents


GlennR's picture

(Let's see if I can BLUF this :D )

Thank you for recommending GTD. I bought the book and read it just as I was transitioning into a position where I cannot afford to fail. Having struggled with time management for years, I totally revamped my workflow based on his book as well as Drucker's EE. Since I mashed up those two systems in July, I have been much more [b]effective[/b]. I keep my daily lists in Excel. Works great. Until today when, shortly before lunch, I forgot to save my next actions list and accidentally closed Excel without saving. I was like a 3-masted schooner that had lost all of its sails. But it really drove home the point of how much my effectiveness has increased. More importantly, I'm confident I can blow the socks of this assignment.

I'll be listening and I consistently brag about you.


High "S" Strong "D" (I'd ask about your weekend, but it would just be rhetorical
:D )

Mark's picture
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Thanks and glad you're on the right track.

And you get the award for most metaphors in one post! ;-)


bflynn's picture

Re-recommendation for this book. My wife recently read a review of it and was so impressed that she picked it up from the library. She started telling me about it, but couldn't remember the name until I pulled it off my bookshelf in the office and she recognized the title.

This one is a keeper for sure.


Edith's picture

GTD is a brilliant sytem - although it does take some perseverence, but once there the promised land is great! I had the pleasure of attending one of David Allen's seminars - if you get the chance, seeing the man in person is great and inspirational.

davidmould's picture

I have just finished reading the book, separate recommendation.

In the company I work at right now we use Lotus Notes. For any of you out there that also use Notes there is an addon (free) that you can get by joining Brett Philp's Yahoo Group gtdfornotesgroup (
I think there also a plugin for Outlook available (not free) from Brad Isaac (

I have been using the Notes version for several weeks and finding it a real help.

Edith's picture

I'm a member of GTD Connect and got the white paper of how to set-up Outlook free. I think for non-connect members it can be purchased from the normal DA site. I've certainly found that it helps. I tried a few tech solutions before then including plain vanilla list making and MyLifeOrganised. Definately found the configured Outlook to be best. As far as Lotus Notes are concerend Eric Mack has a lot of infor re Notes and GTD on his website.

sholden's picture
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I also in my 4th year of following GTD. I would not be were I was at professionally if I had not incorporated the main ideas from David Allen's books. I highly recommend the book, and I always have a second copy to give away or loan in my office if the topic comes up.

The big difference between being in a mgmt role and being a hands on IT professional is that I'm delegating a lot more, and I do need to be constantly adapting to that change.

If you are using Outlook I do have to recommend checking out Jello.Dashboard:

It has some very nice constructs for Projects, Tasks, and Context. It helps me tremendously in doing my Weekly Review.

Also ... I think that Merlin @ 43Folders and Eric Mack both have personal and professional relationships with David Allen that help them with the intellectual property (IP) issues that David is rightfully trying to protect with GTD.


itilimp's picture
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I read GTD awhile back and although I love the idea of the system, I find myself using very small bits of it and not yet with the discipline of making it a habit, particularly the weekly review which is where I think I could get the most immediate benefit from. Not too sure at this stage what I need to do to motivate myself to make it work for me on a continual basis.

cwatine's picture
Training Badge


The big difference between being in a mgmt role and being a hands on IT professional is that I'm delegating a lot more, and I do need to be constantly adapting to that change.

If you are using Outlook I do have to recommend checking out Jello.Dashboard:

Thanks for the advice. I downloaded it a few days ago and it seems nice.

Personnaly, my best investment on the subject (after David Allen's book !), was reading "Total workday control" by Michael Linenberger ... It teached me how to customize (no plugins) and use Outlook to transform it to a great tool ! There is a chapter dedicated to delegation.

I posted a topic today about it in the "Our (and your) Favorite books.

kklogic's picture

After hearing so many speak of this book during the conference, I picked it up at Dulles and have just finished it. I can't believe how much of it I highlighted.

I feel like I've read nearly every book on this subject and nothing has "clicked." The majority of them (cough, Covey, cough) are written by naturally organized people who don't seem to get curveballs thrown at them in their job. This is THE first book on this subject that resonated with me.

Employing these techniques will help me get everything out of my brain and allow it to engage on the things I'm good at - like creative ideas and strategy. As someone who's always made lists, but had trouble getting through them, the "a-ha" for me was that "you can't DO a project." You can only DO a next action. I was also in love with the fact that methodology was spelled out for following up with people when things are in their court - which is something I've struggled with. It's been "it's off my plate and on theirs." If they don't follow through, it's gotten lost.

I plan on implementing the techniques immediately. I'm telling you, between everything I learned at the conference and from GTT, I am so excited to go to work on Monday.

trandell's picture


I've said it over and over again to anyone who will listen and most who won't :D

cwatine's picture
Training Badge

I agree ... And still no French translation ...

As soon as there is one, I will buy one issue for all my people.

cruss's picture
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I have been using GTD for a year now and am helping a friend go through the initial implementation at the moment. Talking with someone and getting their "take away" has helped me renew and review my GTD system. I highly suggest not only giving (or loaning) the book to others but follow up and help them with the inevitable questions that come up. I'm not suggesting that you teach a system your not familiar with. Talking it over with someone will deepen both of your understandings.

cwatine's picture
Training Badge

I agree on that.

Same thing with "how to use Outllook effectively". After having trained people, you need to see them one month later to help them overcome difficulties. And you can also get good ideas from them that way.

jeroendemiranda's picture

I am using GTD for some time now. I must say it really improves my effectiveness!

Some of the immediate benefits for me are:

- better being able to stick to commitments (i.e. not forgetting promises)

- less 'analysis paralysis' - using the 'Next action' mechanism

- better being able to focus

I combine the GTD methods with the podcast of Mike and Mark on 'Priority Management': planning on weekly basis; making sure that I plan my top 3 priorities (my main goals) first into my agenda; and having more focus on them using GTD.

I have found a great video of David Allen where he explains the essence of GTD (at a Google employee conference). You can find it here:

I hope this post is of some help to others!

Kind regards,

Jeroen de Miranda

stehow's picture

Also take a look at Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero video



oparatte's picture

I have just finished the book and took the time to reorganise my workplace last week. It's still too early for me to say how much it will improves my effectiveness but I already have a clearer mind.

I use Mac and found it difficult to apply the GDT system to email, especially with I'm currently testing a task management software based on David Allen's system called Omnifocus. It is not free but it looks promising.

Fellow Mac Users, here is the link:

Kind regards,


cwatine's picture
Training Badge

GTD in French now.

Pour les francophones, GTD vient de sortir en Français : cela s'appelle "S'organiser pour réussir". Selon moi, c'est le meilleur livre sur l'organisation personnelle.

Sorry folks, back to English now.

dannielo's picture

For implementing GTD you might try out this web-based application:

You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A mobile version is available too.

Hope you like it.

johnfowler's picture

Well, for me GTD was transformational. My biggest weakness was being overwhelmed into paralysis at peak load points. Since I implemented GTD, everything has been better - work, home, health. I listened to the audio once on my mp3 player... didn't think much of it. Then, it rotated around again and I listened but wasn't impressed.

The third time I listened to it, I stopped and started taking notes and really listening... best thing I ever did.

ctomasi's picture

Our IT team has been using GTD at its core for over five years (one of the best things my old boss did.) I find it like exercise or dieting - it's much more enjoyable and educational if you can get someone else involved to learn and evolve with you. If you can get your whole team on board - all the better. You will know that action items have been captured.

I highly recommend it for anyone at home and work.

dpmagna's picture

I rarely feel compelled to share my opinion on a book, but I have to echo earlier posters on the LIFE CHANGING nature of GTD. I haven't always committed (it's called being lazy) to the complete adminstration of his system (consistently doing the weekly review and remembering to always force the identification of the next action) but I am still 10x more effective than I have ever been. If the only thing you accomplish is trusting the fact that all your stuff is in one spot, its worth the investment. He is also dead-on when he said that you will re-read the book and learn something new. I've re-read it a couple of times and have come away with a deeper understanding of how I should think about my work/life. It's a very natural process and one that reminds me that I control my priorities and need to constantly challenge them, the cosmos control time.

HMac's picture

[quote="dpmagna"]I rarely feel compelled to share my opinion on a book, but I have to echo earlier posters on the LIFE CHANGING nature of GTD.[/quote]

Agree on both sentiments in that sentence!

And dpmagna, if you don't already know about Merlin Mann's site "43 folders" - I enthusiastically recommend it. Merlin also did a series of podcasts about a year ago with David Allen.


eagerApprentice's picture

Hi Guys,

I just bought this book two days ago, and I'm on chapter three, but a bit lost in how to implement things - it seems very confusing, although I can see it's very useful too.

Several times today I found myself thinking "AH! I forgot - that should have been in the 'incubate file!'. Or etc...

Other than the websites listed... does anyone have any quick tips on:

1 - how to quickly make sense of all his suggestions/structures
2 - the best way to begin using/implementing this?

bug_girl's picture

The biggest part of implementing GTD for me was throwing all my useless saved stuff away.
It can take days to sort through all the stuff you have saved, on and off line.
Worse, I'm required to save some things for 5 years, so I have two systems--one for butt covering, and one that is my true "working" folder.

I find I have to purge once a year, still, since I tend to get more stuff sent to me than I can process efficiently.

You also have to practice--a lot--for the system to become effortless.
At least, I did :)

There are some technology tools that can help too--thinking rock and Omnifocus are two I know of.

terrih's picture

Apprentice, it will start to come together as you get deeper into the book.

johnodavidson's picture

[quote="eagerApprentice"]Hi 2 - the best way to begin using/implementing this?[/quote]

I started by cleaning out my inbox each day and making a today, tomorrow, next week, ect. It was a great first step. I still think it hard!

sromley's picture

I am also I Mac user. I use ToodleDo, ( which is an online task management system. I like it because it is available on any computer, plus is has iPhone integration. There is also a mobile web version that works great on any phone with built in browser.

BTW, GTD saved my bacon. I get so many more important things done every day. Couple this system with the calender management series from our friends on this site, and you are on your way to being extremely productive and focused.