Getting Things Done – a short overview of the GTD method

Getting Things Done method is a perfect way to get organized. In this article you can find a brief overview of how this method works. How it can help you to get from not having any direction in you life to discovering your life purpose by giving you the right perspective.

If you happened to read any of my previous articles about the importance of getting organized, you may have realized that it would be beneficial for you to get organized better. Also, you are should feal clearer about what being organized means to you and what it doesn’t.

Ok, that’s great but where do you start? How do you go about getting organized?

The answer is quite simple. Start where you are with what you have just now.

Don’t wait till you have the newest mobile app to help you get you organized or till you have more time. Actually, it works the other way around. You will be able to free more time by getting organized. All you need is a good organization method that works for you.

Start where you are with what you have just now.

The best method I ever came across is David Allen’s Getting Things Done Method known as GTD. I have used it for years and there are millions of people who do the same.

This method is simple and works for anyone in any situation. No matter whether you are 9 or 90 years old. It works for a top level business person, for a stay-at-home mum as well as for a college student. All you need is a pen and paper and willingness to give it a try.

It took me a few tries to grasp the whole method. I was learning it from the Getting Things Done book. I had to start several times over just to give up again because I didn’t fully understand the process. The book explains things clearly, I just didn’t quite manage to apply the method to my own life situation.

I know full well that there are still areas of my life I could improve by applying the method in a more consistent manner. You too don’t have to organize everything all at once. Start with the most important stuff and slowly extend the method onto less urgent things.

You don’t have to organize everything all at once.

Introduction to Getting Things Done method

First, let me explain how traditional organizational and planning methods work.

Most planning methods start with the big picture. First, you must have a vision. Then, you set up goals and objectives. Consequently, you create a plan and set up a budget. Then, you start working on tasks or delegate them. You track the whole process to make sure that you stay within the budget and on schedule.

How on earth is that going to work for you? What if you don’t know what your life purpose is or you don’t have a vision? What if you don’t have a set of goals (yet)? Don’t fret. Most people are asking the same questions.

Getting Things Done method can help you because it takes quite the opposite approach. You start from the bottom and work up. You can go as high as it’s comfortable at the moment. For many people mastering just the first step is life changing.


Sky and clouds from a plane

Overview of Getting Things Done method

David Allen made an analogy to a plane taking off. You start on the runway, prepare to take off, then rise higher and higher till you reach 50,000 feet.


You start on the ground, getting all current tasks under control, you declutter you space and your mind. You will be able to identify tasks that currently need to get done. This step alone can take you from a messy underachiever to a clean, effective and confident person.

10,000 feet

As the plane takes off, you will learn that some tasks on your to-do list are more complex than a simple action. David Allen uses a term projects for such tasks.

Some projects take a few hours to complete, others may take weeks or months. You will learn how to handle both, short and long-term ones.

20,000 feet

The plane rises higher. While working with your lists of projects you may realize that most of them you can group into common categories like work, family, home, health, finance, spirituality, fun, creativity… Those are your areas of focus. Are there any areas missing in your life?

30,000 feet

As the plane continues up, you can see from a perspective what your life is currently about. You see how much time you spend on each area of focus. This will show you where your priorities lie at the moment.

You will be able to spot imbalances. Should you spend more time time with your loved ones instead of working all the time? Or quite the opposite. Do you invest all your time and energy into your family life and have no me-time? You want to be healthy but you realize that you don’t do any exercise or that your diet consists of biscuits, sandwiches and coffee.

At this point, you will know what you want to change to feel happier and more balanced. You will be able to set up clear goals that you really want in each area of your life.

40,000 feet

The plane rises even higher. You have clear goals that you want to achieve within a few months or a couple of years. You might want to ask yourself, “Where do I want to be five years from now?”.

You’re looking down at your goals from much higher perspective. Are your current goals in alignment with where you want to be and what you want to do five years from now? If not, is it time to tweak your goals or set up different ones?

50,000 feet

The plane reached 50,000 feet. You are looking down on your daily tasks, projects to complete, areas of focus and your clearly defined goals. Your whole life is black on white in front of you.

But there is still this little nagging voice somewhere in inside asking, “What is the point of all of this? What’s the purpose of my life? Why am I here?”.

I’m afraid, nobody can answer this question for you. I believe that every single person on this planet has a unique life purpose. You are the only one who can discover it for yourself.

It’s not an easy task and you might never be sure that you have the right answer while you’re alive. You have much bigger chance to discover the meaning of your life if you’re looking down from a perspective of 50,000 feet rather than still staying at a chaotic crowded airport.

Getting Things Done - Horizons of Focus
Getting Things Done – Horizons of Focus


  1. It is really important to know and learn GTD, it helps you with your daily to-do task and what to prioritize and set aside the not so priority tasks. Thank you for sharing this one.

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