I read recently, I think on the 43Folders blog, about getting back on track using GTD and a mini-review. I think the mini-review, though not included in David Allen’s Getting Things Done (or is it? remind me) is the real clincher of using the GTD system. You can forget everything, spend two weeks on the beach drinking margaritas, or in my case visit New Orleans and my parents, and when you come back, a quick review of your system is enough to pick up where you left off.
You can have twenty projects. Or fifty. Each can have all sorts of actions, documents, emails, people, etc associated with those projects. You’re never going to remember all of that after a few weeks of vacation, or maybe even a few days. However, if your GTD system is kept properly up to date, it’s not a problem. You can be back in the saddle going full steam in an hour. Today, I was able to pick things up and get several hours of work done, meet with two different people, make a bunch of necessary calls, and even write this blog post, even though I basically lost track of everything for the last two weeks.
Don’t get me wrong. I did get some work done while I was traveling. It’s never as much as I’d like, though, and I certainly wouldn’t want to lose more time upon returning to the lab. This is yet another sign that some version of the GTD system is working for me. GTD is kind of like an office building. It provides the framework, the infrastructure for what needs to be done. Different businesses, however, may use that office building’s facilities in a variety of different ways, and add to them, customizing for their own needs. If you’re looking to become more organized, to clear all of the jumble out of your head so that it doesn’t cloud your thoughts, your creativity, and your relaxation, try starting with the rugged framework of GTD.
Once you have a solid system, you can take time off stress-free, knowing that you don’t have to remember anything about your projects when you return.