Getting Things Done (GTD)

Getting Things Done (GTD)

By the end of this lesson, you are expected to:
– know the GTD workflow
– be able to implement a GTD system
– know some tools to help you get things done


This course is based mainly on a bestselling book, Getting Things Done, written by David Allen, a productivity consultant. It describes a time-management method with the same name, which is often referred to as its acronym GTD.


The GTD method is based on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them up into actionable work items. This allows one to focus attention on taking action, instead of dedicating too much effort towards trying to keep in mind what tasks need to be done.

This method is intended to reduce the stress generated by the incessant feeling of “I need to remember… something” by noting down every single thing you have to do and providing a framework to organize them.

Why is it useful?

Because the human brain has a very limited “RAM” or “working memory”.

Additional material about our working memory in the further readings section.
Stages of the GTD Workflow:

1) Collect
2) Process

3) Organize
4) Plan
5) Do

#1 Collect

Simply write down anything that you have to do that crosses your mind, write down a short description and what your definition of “Done” means.

What “done” means is an important part of this stage.
Example: For a web development project, “done” means “coded”? “tested”? “deployed on production environment”?
#2 Process and #3 Organize
Image also available here:
#4 Plan

You’ve organized your tasks already, and performed some of them (2-minute tasks, for example).

Now you can plan your tasks, which means that you set a realistic deadline for this task to be performed (according to your definition of “done”).

– Don’t set unrealistic deadlines if you are sure you are not going to meet them.
– Once you’ve chosen the deadline, perform your task on time.
#5 Do

Finally! Perform the planned tasks on time.
Congratulations, you are getting things done!


If you read the latest edition of the book (which we recommend!), the five stages of the GTD workflow are referred to as capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage instead of collect, process, organize, plan, and do.

But their description is the same.
How does it work in practice?

You have to maintain the following lists:

– In
– Next Actions
– Waiting For
– Projects
– Some Day

Let’s describe these lists.

The “in” list is the list you use to gather your ideas and the tasks that come to your mind.

Include everything you can think of.
#Next Actions

For each idea/task, follow the GTD workflow. Next Actions are tasks you can complete in one step and can easily add them to your calendar.

If you can’t view the flowchart, here is an enlarged version:
#Waiting For

When you are waiting for something/someone to perform a task, this task goes on the “waiting for” list.


If your idea/task requires more than one single step, then it’s a project.

You have to split it into several tasks and add at least one single-step task for this project to the “Next actions” list. Or you will never start your project!

If you can’t see the image, here is an enlarged version:
#Some Day

These are the ideas you might want to realize at some point in the future.

You have to review it weekly so that these ideas don’t stay on this list forever!

If you can’t see the image, here is an enlarged version:
Important: The Weekly Review

You have to perform a review of your tasks every week. This includes for example:
– Making sure that every project has an action in the “Next Actions” list
– Update your “Some Day” list

This is a critical factor for success.

There are hundreds of tools/apps available that allow you to follow the GTD workflow.

Note that David Allen doesn’t recommend any as technology is changing too fast. He even advises to start with a sheet of paper.

We will give you some examples anyway!

Straight to the point solution, available across many devices.


Great for working in teams. The app is available for iOS and Android.

If you feel like discovering more apps right now, read the following article:

You can also access it later in the further readings section.


Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp