GTD Lite: A Streamlined approach to Getting Things Done

Morning folks.

As you probably have read here, I like Getting Things Done.  However, I use a cut down version in my personal brand of task management for productivity.

Today I share with you a modified version of Getting Things Done that I have been using. This streamlined version is based on three considerations,

  • Removal of the GTD components I don’t use
  • Consolidate separate elements of GTD into a single element where possible
  • Assign tasks to the buckets depending on when I plan to do the task

Applying these to the normal GTD has meant taking an axe to several of the steps and lists,


So, after wielding the axe and with a bit of rearrangement the resultant GTD Lite streamlined flow is shown below.


Let me highlight the differences and how different aspects have been handled.

What has been removed/consolidated from GTD

  1. The inbox is gone. In practice I find that with the very basic questions as to when I would begin the task I can immediately assign it to one of the lists. This means it does not have to wait in the inbox.
    1. Needed >3months
    2. Needed ASAP (within the current week for example)
    3. Needed >1 week but before 3months
  2. There are no projects
    1. When entering/coming to execute a task that needs multiple steps I chunk it down to subtasks effectively creating projects within the ASAP and Scheduled lists.
  3. There is no separate Delegate list. In either the ASAP or scheduled list, the person responsible can be assigned. So, can be handled within those lists.
  4. Reference list is gone. In practice I rarely use this. Useful information that I come across usually gets filed in it’s natural habitat. For example, emails with useful but non-actionable information get filed in my email folders.

How to dump tasks into the system

Very simple and based on when you expect to start the task or when it will be needed. Starting from the top. For any stuff, first determine if you need to do anything. If not, immediately filed/deleted and progress no further, job done. If it is actionable, then ask if needed in the next 3 months. If not, it goes in the someday list and no more consideration is needed. If needed in under 3 months we need to decide this week or after this week and this then determines if it goes under ASAP or Scheduled lists. And, that’s it. We now have only 3 lists, covering all actionable tasks.

So, in this post I have covered the key difference between this system and how to dump your stuff into it. In the next post I will cover how to se it and determine the “next task”. Again this is a very simply approach. Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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