Get things done
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Todoist: To-Do List & Tasks
Productivity Reminders Planner
Getting things done. We all aspire to nail our daily to-do lists and leave space for long-term goals – but it’s never as straightforward as we want it to be.
But that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable. David Allen, an expert in productivity and the author of the bestselling book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity, has mastered GTD (the shorthand by which ‘getting things done’ is now commonly known) and in his book he encourages readers to apply his methodology to their everyday lives. The goal? Improved efficiency and stress reduction.
Allen believes that if too much is crammed into one’s head, then it’s impossible to be in control. GTD is a way of approaching tasks so as not to be inundated with too much to do at once and having the headspace to be able to prioritise.
But how does this work in practice? There are five key steps to consider when working on anything: capture, clarify, organise, reflect and engage.
First up, capture, removes the task from your brain and places it in a folder. Next, clarify, where you decide whether that task will take more or less than a few minutes to complete. If it’s less, you can do it right away; if not, then organise it into ‘trash’, ‘delegate’ or ‘defer’.
And finally, reflect and engage with your lists periodically to ensure all of your tasks are under control. For those tasks that can be addressed, further divide them into smaller steps and put them into to-do lists with reminder functions so you stay on schedule.
Todoist is the perfect app to accompany this approach to GTD. Here’s how to get the best from the handy task management tool.
Launch the app and you’ll see your Inbox – this is where all your tasks will be listed. Go ahead and declutter your mind here by listing everything you need/want to do. Swipe right on any entry to see options at the bottom of your screen for setting a deadline, assigning a priority level or moving tasks to different folders; setting up a Future folder for things you don’t want to address right now is a great way to clear your Inbox.
Choose Today from the menu on the left and you can create new tasks with added time stamps, tags and reminders; you can also do the same under Next 7 Days below it. This is probably the best place to put all your trivial or simple tasks, or those that can be dealt with immediately.
For more complex or time-consuming tasks, create a new entry under Projects and break the task down into smaller, more manageable steps. If you’re collaborating with others, use the share function to ensure they’re on the same page and use the comment function to converse directly with colleagues.
The most important step in the GTD approach is to reflect. Allen believes that we must frequently review and reflect on the tasks that require action in order to prevent the brain from forgetting. It’s important to review all of our tasks at least once per week, look at your work and life priorities from a broader perspective and organise tasks more efficiently.
When it comes to pending tasks and uncertain plans, create a Future folder. Whether you dream of learning a new language, scaling a mountain or getting in shape – try putting your plans into individual project folders and work on them step by step.
Todoist takes the stress out of getting things done – whether it’s the here-and-now tasks of daily life or long-term goals – leaving you satisfyingly on top of all your to-dos with time and energy to spare.