One of my New Year’s resolutions is to maintain an organized home and office. I believe there is a correlation between the clutter in my physical surroundings and the clutter in my head. Another pressing reason is that my one-year-old daughter is about to start walking on her own, and she likes to throw everything she can grab onto the floor. As a result, I am embarking on the GTD, or “Getting Things Done," which is a productivity system developed by David Allen and described in his book Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity. Recently, I’ve come across a lot of GTD-related information on the internet, so I figured the Universe was telling me something. For example, Legal Andrew wonders why law firms don’t teach GTD to their associates, he thinks it may have something to do with the billable hours. This may change though as corporate clients become more sophisticated about cutting their costs. In addition, the legal outsourcing and unbundled legal services may speed up the process.
On a more personal level, I started applying the “two minute rule.” The idea is to do any task that takes less than two minutes right then and there. I use it with things like sorting out the junk mail, cleaning my coffee maker, filing papers, putting dirty plates into the sink or, better yet, the dishwasher, replying to emails. Speaking of emails, Eric Mack offered a unique interpretation of the two minute rule that may just help you to keep your inbox empty. I find that if I put away those small pesky tasks, they accumulate to the point that they become distractions. I spend more time thinking about doing them than it would actually take to finish those tasks. Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project uses her version of the “one-minute rule” and thinks that consistent decluttering may make you happier. I agree.
Have you had any experience with GTD? How did it work for you? I’d love to hear any advice you can give to the newbie GTD-adherent.