What does GTD look like?

Part of my difficulty with David Allen’s Getting Things Done system has been understanding where to place different actions within the system: on which list does this item go?

  • Date sensitive – Calendar
  • More than one step – Project list
  • An action step for a project – Next action list
  • An idea – Someday/Maybe list
  • Pending – Waiting for list

This is how I imagine GTD looks:


See also GTD made visual, GTD and me, GTD mini-system, Paper Planner Tool for Weekly Review, and GTD Essentials

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at www.phonicspow.com. In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in productivity
11 comments on “What does GTD look like?
  1. Alberta says:

    Well, displayed like that, it looks so easy to remember! Thanks for the visual aid.

  2. Spike says:

    Very nice diagrams there, sums it up pretty well. Would be interested in your thoughts on how this structure fits in the GTD vertical map (goals on your diagram is 30,000ft?).

    Organize IT

  3. Rob Slagle says:

    Where does contexts fit in?

  4. brent says:

    I would suggest not listing too many NAs for the one project. Certainly there are plenty of projects that could have A B or C actions performed in parallel, but usually they’re in series.

    Properly speaking if A B and C are in series then B and C should be in Someday/Maybe, because they aren’t the NEXT action.

    Then if you start littering your life with B’s and C’s in your Someday/Maybe list you’ll end up wasting time on plans that change – time that you should have spent doing A.

    I have the same set of levels in my system, but I don’t usually seperate out the actions based on projects. If it needs doing then it needs doing so it goes on my list of things that need doing. I try to not dilute that list into sublists.

  5. dailyplanit says:

    Rob-I came to the conclusion awhile back that contexts are not very important to me as I virtually always have access to a computer and phone. Unfortunately, that means I can’t really answer this question! Ideas, anyone?

    Brent-First of all, I do have tendency to make things more difficult than they need to be! Secondly, your comment shows a level of GTD mastery that is awesome!

  6. […] Resource List, I stumbled upon three great workflow charts that make my attempt at understanding what GTD looks like appear quite pitiful. Whoever is behind them has done a wonderful job of making GTD visual. Start […]

  7. Andy C says:

    As a GTD freak maybe I can shine some extra light.

    Contexts are important because they are an axis just like your time and your energy should be axes too. You may have access to a computer and a phone 24×7, but you’re not always talking, and you’re not always typing.

    When you do want to make calls, it’s good to see what’s available within that specific context of telephony. You should also pay attention to how much time and energy it will require you to do an item while at that context.

    If you have a lot of time but no energy that automatically scopes you into a certain flow. You’re not going to want to make two huge client calls, you’re going to want a series of low hanging fruit / easy wins.

    It’s one of the more interesting things that isn’t written as much as David says at seminars but you need to be aware of the other things that make sorting, defining, and doing, those lists easier. That’s being more aware of your own state at the time of decision making.

    A lot of applications/solutions forget this part and thus fall back into the ‘each list is either attracting or repelling you’, which most of us are probably being repelled by our solutions.

    Just chucking some change,

  8. […] the Getting Things Done, or GTD, system lists include: next actions, projects, waiting for, and […]

  9. […] what lists you need, and where to keep them. You may choose to use a master list, or more of a GTD setup with a Next Actions List plus other […]

  10. […] Lists for the GTD system include: Next Actions, Maybe/Someday, Waiting For. […]

  11. […] Me and GTD, The portable gtd mini system, GTD made visual, What does GTD look like? […]

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