A Tweak to David Allen’s System

A Tweak to David Allen’s System

The other day, I was reading a post in the Gettings Things Done forum. The person was complaining that they were having a difficult time making the transition from the Franklin/Covey system to David Allen’s (GTD). I certainly understand. I had a difficult time, too.

The problem is this: after you’ve been using GTD for a while you will be overwhelmed with the number of items on your lists. It’s difficult to know what tasks to focus on. To use the familiar metaphor, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

To remedy this situation, some time ago I started using a new context category called “!Today.” When I initially enter an assignment into my Outlook task list, I assign it one of the usual GTD categories, e.g., @Home, @Office, @Computer, etc. Then—and here’s the trick—each morning I do a Daily Review. I quickly scan my lists for items that I want to tackle today. I then add this category to the task’s category field. Note: I don't delete the category I assigned initially; I just add a second category.

Now, when you view your tasks by category, all your !Today items will be sorted at the top. (This is why I use the exclamation point rather than the at symbol. It sorts ahead of the at symbol.) This makes it very easy to focus on what needs to be done today. [Working Smart]

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