Use GTD to optimize your work and life

It’s been four years since I started working, and I started using TODO tools, such as OneNote, Wunderlist (now called Microsoft TODO), and tick list. However, many TODOs in the process of use are still TODOs until the end of the project.

Until recently I met GTD, which opened the door to a new world.

Things Done ( the Getting Things Done / GTD ), is a method of behavior management, but also David Allen write the title of a book.

The main principle of GTD is that a person needs to take out various tasks in his mind by recording. In this way, the mind can focus on what is being done without being filled with all kinds of things that need to be done.

Empty the brain

The first step of GTD is to empty the brain. Yes, it needs to be empty. Only after emptying can you focus on an event, so that you can get twice the result with half the effort.

If your brain is empty and always in a state where everything is ready, then it will open the door to everything.

We often have too many things in our minds, so we can't fully concentrate when doing one thing, and we are still thinking about another thing in our heart. Sometimes the A project is halfway through, and suddenly the product comes to you to help modify a style problem of the B project. Multiple unresolved problems surround you, making you feel powerless.

The human brain is like the CPU of a computer. It is a computing device that processes information, not a storage device. You can only consider two or three things at the same time each time. Just like letting the CPU run at high speed, it is necessary to ensure that there are as few tasks queued in the memory as possible, instead of filling the memory and overwhelming it. Therefore, we need to reduce the tasks in the CPU cache as much as possible.

The way to empty the brain is to pour out all the things in the head, regardless of the priority or whether it is in progress. Collect all the things, you can use sticky notes, notebooks, or directly record in the memo on the phone. Of course, you can also use professional tools, such as the reminders that come with mac.

Next, I will use the reminder mac to demonstrate the GTD process, modify the default list of reminders to the collection box, and then pour all the things in your mind to do.

Sort things out

After putting all the things in the collection box, we need to deal with these things and classify them according to a scientific method. GTD provides such a methodology, you only need to answer "Yes" or "No" to quickly classify.


Take out the things that were put in the collection box before, and check them one by one:

  • Buy an iPhone 13
  • Go donate blood
  • Refactoring personal blog
  • Issue proof of income
  • Credit card
  • Added internal beta review in the management background
  • Meeting in meeting room 202 at four o'clock in the afternoon
  • A thousand skipping ropes

Buying an iPhone 13 Internet, which led me to this idea, and the iPhone 13 has not been released yet, so this matter is currently not available. This is the time The possible list put in the matter, wait for the release of iPhone 13 and then think about it.

to donate blood : I saw a blood donation cart on the way to the company in the morning, so I had the idea of donating blood in my mind. Then I consulted my doctor friend and found that high myopia is not allowed to donate blood. Then I cannot act on this matter, and there will be no way to act in the future. At this time, I can only delete this matter (or put it in Recycle Bin).

Refactoring my personal blog : I can do this currently, but obviously it cannot be done all at once. Therefore, I will create a new project list and plan how to refactor.

income certificate : This requires an application to be submitted in the company's internal OA, and then the company's administrative review, so this is not something I can complete alone, and I need to wait for the administrative review. Therefore, this matter needs to be put on the waiting list.

credit card : China Merchants Bank sent me a text message today to remind me: Today is the repayment day. This matter only needs to take out the mobile phone, and the operation can be completed in the App very quickly, so I can finish this matter immediately, and then directly mark it as completed.

16114729e45312 Newly added internal management background: This is the requirement given to me by the product today and needs to be completed by me today. Obviously this is not a requirement that can be completed within two minutes. I may use two hours in the afternoon to complete this requirement. , So this is a thing to be executed, I need to put this thing in the execution list.

4:00 PM 202 meeting in the conference room : This event has a clear time, we can directly set the time of this event in the reminder, then it will take the initiative to remind. Of course, if you fill out things in accordance with the software's specifications, it will take the initiative to suggest you a time.

However, I have a meeting at four o'clock and remind you at four o'clock. It doesn't seem to be smart enough. You can only manually advance the time by ten minutes🤔.


thousand skipping ropes : The last one can't be done right away. I need to do it after work and have free time at home. Of course, other things may interrupt my plan. According to my idea, I usually put this matter in the execution list, and then set a time, such as 8 o'clock in the evening, so that the reminder time can pop up a notification to remind me.

Review often

When using GTD, you need to often put the things in your mind into the collection box, and then organize the collection box at a fixed time, and classify the collection box according to the previous process. It sounds cumbersome, but it actually solved a lot of problems in my life and work, so that many things have been planned, and I will not be forgotten by me in a corner because of something. When I suddenly come, I will be in a hurry.

In addition to sorting out the collection box, you also need to review your own list regularly. In the possible list, is there anything that might be taken out and done, or check whether the things in the waiting list have been processed. NS.

According to my experience, retrospectives are often more difficult to persist than the previous records and classifications. If there is no regular review, all the TODOs recorded before will become meaningless.

Mac reminders are easier to get started, but they still lack some intelligent functions. I recommend the 16114729e45408 tick list that I have used for two years , but also supports a series of functions such as tags, calendar, clocking, and Pomodoro (PS: not an advertisement, I have confiscated the money 🤣).


I have only learned a little bit of GTD, and many things are still in the process of exploring and iterating. GTD's methodology may not be suitable for everyone, and some people may feel that doing these things will be more cumbersome and even delay their own time. However, I still suggest you to try. After all, you are still so young and the cost of trial and error is very low. What if it helps you?

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