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Self Improvement

Time Management for all Areas of Life: Getting Things Done

Do you have too much stress and no longer have an overview of your tasks? The day-to-day internship, like any other day-to-day work, can sometimes be very stressful. If you are overwhelmed, it is helpful to learn to organize and structure your time sensibly. The Getting Things Done Method (GTD), with which your previous time management takes on new forms, is a very good option.

In the following you will learn everything about the innovative GTD and how you can use the method to increase your productivity. Its not just the theory. The context is almost irrelevant: Whether in internship, training, at work or at home – the right time management in combination with good self-organization should be used in all areas of life!

What is time management?

Time management means the ability and the process of organizing and planning one’s time sensibly and dividing it between different tasks and activities. Good time management enables you to work more productively, so that you can do a lot more tasks in a shorter time and with less effort. Missing or inadequate time management means that you can work less effectively and efficiently and thus automatically have more stress in everyday life.

What is the Getting Things Done Method?

Getting Things Done translates as “getting things done”. The GTD method is a time management and productivity system that was developed by the American David Allen. It offers the opportunity to be independently organized and productive – exactly what a good time management system should bring with it. From the outside, the basics of the GTD look a bit complicated, but the goal of the method is a very simple one: to spend less time on the tasks that have to be done and to have more time for the nice things. In the following we will show you how exactly the GTD works and how it works correctly when implemented.

Self-organized time management: the five pillars of the GTD method

Time management with the GTD system is based on the principle of organization. There are no hard and fast rules as to how exactly the tasks should be done. Instead, the GTD focuses on how you perceive and organize the work and which tasks you ultimately pay more attention to. The method is based on the following five pillars, which can also be referred to as steps and lay the foundation for this form of time management and self-organization.

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1st pillar of the GTD: Record everything!

The first pillar of the GTD method consists in actually recording all things, such as the tasks to be done, everyday duties and your own ideas, in writing in a notebook. Depending on your own preferences and your way of working, you can of course also use a to-do app or a weekly planner. With GTD, it does not matter which means of organization you use, it is much more important that it can be easily integrated into your everyday life. So choose the method that is easiest for you to use and that does not allow you to make excuses like “I’ll write that down later”. It is particularly important that as soon as you think of something important, you can immediately add it to your to-do list.

2nd pillar of the GTD: Obtain clarity!

The second step is not simply to write down all processes, but to break them down into their components and areas of responsibility down to the smallest detail. You should be precise about your approach so that you have no hesitation in getting the job done and know exactly what to do. If there are already little things that you can tick off right away, don’t hesitate. If you can even delegate one or the other duty to someone else, then you shouldn’t hesitate to delegate a few tasks. This step of the GTD method is extremely important and will save a lot of time in the future.

3rd pillar of the GTD: Organize your projects!

In the third step, you now have to classify all your appointments, tasks and ideas into certain categories and assign them priorities. If possible, also set a date on which you would like the respective task to be completed. This also includes setting up reminders, which you can recall about your project if you forget something. The third pillar of the GTD method is particularly important because the priorities and reminders you have set give your long list a certain order and you know exactly what needs to be done and when.

4th pillar of the GTD: Reflect on your approach!

First and foremost, the fourth pillar of the time management method is for you to read and reflect on your to-do list over and over again to find out which of the tasks you need to do next. This is where the previous organization pays off because you are now able to choose something that you have just enough time and energy for. If you know that you cannot completely complete a task, then break it down into smaller parts, which you can then work through gradually. The fourth step of reflection also includes regular revision and monitoring of the projects to see where you are making progress. Check whether certain priorities should perhaps be reconsidered and whether the chosen method of implementing the GTD is still the right one for you.

5th pillar of the GTD: Get active!

Now that everything has been recorded, sorted and checked, all you have to do is take action. It is important that you find a start and integrate the Getting Things Done method into your everyday life. As soon as you have completed one task, you should move on to the next one. The foundation for easily completing duties has now been laid and all you need to do is take action. You now know exactly when you have to do which things and how you can do it in the implementation – just start!

Clear your mind: the goal of the GTD method

You have already learned the basics of the GTD method. It is based on the five pillars: understanding, working through, organizing, reflecting and acting. This form of self-organized time management gives you everything you need to organize your tasks, appointments and ideas in an orderly system. The method helps you to memorize important things, to organize them and finally to do them step by step. That way, you will no longer be confused looking at your to-do list without knowing how to do it all. After all, you save yourself a lot of time and have your mind free to actually put your plans into practice.

How to find your personal GTD system

If you understand the basic pillars of the GTD method, then you have already achieved most of it. Some of the steps may have been part of your self-organization before, such as creating a simple to-do list. Perhaps the preparatory work that the GTD asks you to do appears to be too much in view of the limited amount of time you have? Or do you think that it’s all about buying an expensive diary or a fancy notebook that will end up in the drawer of your desk anyway?

In order to use the GTD method successfully, there is no need for a specific app or an expensive notebook. A sheet of paper is completely sufficient for the beginning and is also conveniently close at hand almost everywhere, whether at home or at work. As soon as something important comes into your head, you can write it down and add it to your GTD list. The so-called “Bullet Journal”, on the other hand, offers you the perfect basis for implementing all aspects of the GTD method without much preparatory work.

Bullet Journal + GTD: The perfect combination

If you like the idea of ​​simply writing down on paper with a pen what still needs to be done, but you want a little more structure, then a bullet journal could be just the thing for you. As a relatively new method to increase productivity and to work in a to-do list-oriented manner, the Bullet Journal combines an appointment calendar with an empty notebook and also gives you the opportunity to record all your personal thoughts, collect ideas and create lists. This book form obviously offers even more structuring options than is necessary for the GTD.

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Strengths and weaknesses of the GTD method

Of course, every good method also has weaknesses. In addition to the advantages of the GTD, we reveal the disadvantages of the time management method and also point out some alternatives that could be more suitable for you personally in the respective areas.

The strengths of the GTD

  • Reliability: The method promises that you can get all your projects done. If you tend to forget appointments or deadlines, the GTD is for you.
  • Applicability: The GTD offers you the opportunity to structure and organize all tasks in all areas of life, both personal and professional, with just one system. So you don’t lose track of things so quickly!
  • Simplicity: Due to the various pillars or steps, the GTD method enables your projects to be implemented easily. From an easy introduction to a step-by-step approach to the goal.
  • Freedom: The detailed method of time management still gives you the necessary freedom of action so that you can decide for yourself when and how to implement your goals.

The weaknesses of the GTD

  • Prioritization: In the GTD method, priorities play a role, but rather a subordinate one. First and foremost, it is about not forgetting tasks and appointments. The so-called Eisenhower Matrix, for example, places a stronger focus on prioritization.
  • Freedom of time: The GTD does not specify a weekly or daily planning structure. If you have difficulties organizing your time, the Alpen method may be more suitable, as it makes daily planning easier.
  • Complexity: It is almost impossible to master the GTD method within a few minutes, as it is somewhat complex. The routine use of the work steps also needs some practice so that you can use them effectively.
  • Habits: You will quickly find that it is not that easy to acquire new behaviors. The GTD method requires you to redesign your usual actions – this can inhibit the success of this method.

The Getting Things Done method is of course a good way to use time management in a self-organized manner in order to increase your productivity in all areas of life, but it is only one of many possibilities. According to the motto “record, work through, organize, reflect and act”, the GTD offers you particularly good support in structuring your everyday life if you already know where your priorities are and are able to set fixed goals. However, if you are new to self-organized time management, there is an easier way to get started.

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