How I Get Things Done

by Andrew Forrest

Moses gets productive in Exodus 18. (I know I was supposed to write about Exodus 18 yesterday, but I have a big presentation to make every Sunday morning in front of hundreds of people; dear reader, please forgive.) Since I don’t have anything interesting to say about Exodus 18, let’s talk about productivity. Almost ten years ago, a friend of mine gave me a book that has been more influential in how I do my work then anything else I’ve ever read or learned in school. The book was David Allen’s 2001 bestseller Getting Things Done.

GTD, Baby

Here’s the idea behind the Getting Things Done methodology (GTD for folks in the know):

  • you have lots of inputs coming at you all day every day, and you need a way to capture, process, and act on all that data;
  • GTD gives you a process to do that.


One of David Allen’s tips is to learn never to keep anything in your head, but to write everything down. I follow this advice obsessively: as soon as I think of anything, I write it down. I use Omnifocus on the Mac and iOS devices, keep small notepads everywhere, and even carry a small pocket notebook a pocket spacepen with me everywhere.

My trusty pocket notebook and space pen.

My trusty pocket notebook and space pen.

The Weekly Review

Around every seven days or so, David Allen recommends a “weekly review,” i.e., a time when you sit quietly and look over your calendar and review all incomplete projects and next action lists. I try to keep a weekly review on Monday mornings (I’m off on Mondays) and when I do that, my week seems much more manageable and less stressful.

Go For It

If Moses needed a system for productivity, so do you. If you are having trouble keeping your commitments, answering all your email (you know who you are), or sleeping soundly at night, GTD might be for you.

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Brian Davis September 15, 2014 - 7:15 am

A couple of weeks ago I was on a phone consultation with someone who mentioned the book in passing. I ordered a copy and got it last week. Thanks or the recommendation!

Andrew Forrest September 15, 2014 - 6:49 pm

Looking forward to hear your thoughts on it.


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