Two Simple Tools for Getting Things Done

My "to do" system has been working well for me this year, so I want to share it with you. It's a combination of the old and very popular Getting Things Done method by David Allen, and a relatively new online "to do" list I found called TeuxDeux.

It's really simple - sometimes these systems are so complicated that it is a full-time job "to do" your "to do" list. No so with this system.

Getting Things Done

I've used this method, detailed in David Allen's hugely popular book, for years, because it works. It stops you from stress and procrastination - the two evils of productivity. The basics are:

  • How to stop stressing: write down ALL of the things you have to do the moment you think of them. For this, you'll need a system to capture things in any situation (when you're out-and-about, when you're in bed, etc. David recommends a simple notepad. I recommend TeuxDeux, below). Having a system for off-loading your "to do"s onto a list to be taken care of systematically frees your mind from constantly having to remember that "to do".
  • Stop procrastinating: when you write down your task, make it the next action you should take. For example, you might think "See the doctor" is your task. But have you made your appointment? So "Make an appointment" might be your task. But do you know the number of your doctor? So instead put down "Find number of Dr Melissa Wang". That's really the next step. Imagine that you have a personal assistant that you couldn't talk to. How would you write the "to do" for them? That's what you should put down. This method stops procrastination - you know exactly what to do next.

Get Getting Things Done on Amazon for USD$9.

TeuxDeux is a recent find. It's an intuitive, simple and good-looking online to do list. I really like it, so I think it deserves to be more well-known.

It isn't packed with features, but is wonderful in its simplicity. Just type in what you need to do. You can move your "to do"s up and down that day's list, as well as across to different days. Tasks you haven't done today automatically carry over to the next day. You can have repeating tasks by typing "Call mum every week", which then repeats once a week automatically. You can email tasks to your list. It doesn't sound like much, but honestly, what more do you need a "to do" list to do?

It syncs onto apps on my iPhone and iPad. It's also a little obscure, which is great since the site is not blocked at work.

TeuxDeux has a 30 day free trial, and is $24 a year or $3 a month.

I have just checked off "Write post about TeuxDeux system" from my TeuxDeux list.  Very satisfying.

We all have systems for getting things done. What's yours?

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Tags: work