Are you uber efficient?

Are you uber efficient?

Although this article is especially for people who work in business, mainly in an administrative capacity, it is also useful for others. I'm retired and it rules our household.

Any article on Getting Things Done or, as it is known in the trade, as GTD has to begin with the guru who coined this phrase to relate to administration. David Allen is the man whose company in America focuses on helping CEOs of major companies to become more efficient. The title of his best selling book on the subject is, of course, entitled “Getting Things Done”. Available on Amazon UK for around a tenner for the paperback, or only seven quid for the Kindle version.

Once you have digested the book and carried out the exercises to sort out all your paperwork, you’ll maybe want to get an app or two for your phone.

There is an app called “DGT GTD” which is free. It is in Beta but don’t let this put you off, it was in Alpha mode for five years and worked perfectly, now in Beta for another five years and I’ve never had a problem.

This opens up with three initial screens.

The middle page is the main one, flip to the right and you can enter short term, long term or life goals. I have Home Efficiency and also Personal Efficiency as long term goals and health as my life goal (at 80, what else could it be). If from the middle page you flip to the left screen, you can set up folders. I have one for my home office, and one for household chores. It is useful to be able to peruse your tasks around these headings.

The middle screen has:

  • All
  • Hotlist
  • Today
  • Starred
  • In Box
  • Completed
  • Project
  • Check Lists
  • Active Alarms
  • Recently Added
  • Recently Modified

All lists every task or project you have entered. Everything is a task. A project consists of a list of tasks to complete a complex endgame. A checklist is a series of simple tasks on a subject that all have to be completed.

The Hotlist shows tasks, projects etc which have to be completed over the next week.

The Today shows just today’s tasks. Starred, as its name shows, lists all the tasks you have starred for a particular reason.

Inbox lists new tasks which you haven’t gone through placing them in various sections - more of this later.

Completed, as its name suggests are for completed tasks, Projects lists all your complex tasks in a set area, and Checklists show a set of simple tasks in a set area.

The last three items on the above list are self-explanatory

The last three items on the above list are self-explanatory

The main component is the task. For example, if I have a task to visit my accountant in London’s West End, I would name the task. Under Status, I would set it as next action.

I would enter the Due Date, then the Due time. I would use the reminder to remind me an hour before I have to leave my office. There is a repeat button which covers most eventualities. If I had to see him once every two months, I’d add the repeat instructions here. Then I can set the priority (Top, High, Medium, Low).

If the task has a project, I can move it to a project (or a checklist) here. Then I can choose the appropriate folder.

I can add a Context here, I have Home, Finchley, West End and City as Contexts and add, in this case, West End. I can add multiple tags. I have Accounts, Admin, Equipment, Household, Personal to mention a few. I’d click Accounts and Admin here.

In the above Context example, I can easily see if I have other outstanding tasks which have to be completed in the same vicinity, so I could get them all done at the same time.

Finally, if it fits into one of my goals, I can choose it here.

A great program and completely free but, alas, as far as I am aware, it is only available on Android.

The second app you want to acquire is one which you can use for when, each day, you want to add all the minor tasks you must do that day. I do mine at 8 am each day.

There are a number of apps available depending on requirements. I use “My Day – Plan & Schedule” as it is very basic and has just what I need. Every morning I plan my day, and every Sunday evening I plan my week. This allows regular daily tasks and regular weekly tasks which I don’t really need except for my daily and weekly plan names. However, it also has one off’s and these are what I want for entering each day or each week, so I can click them off as the task is done. It also times the start of the job which I don’t need so I just ignore the time and then fit in these chores between my DGT GTD tasks.