- GTD, or Getting Things Done, is a time management and productivity methodology developed by David Allen that assists you in completing tasks efficiently and effectively.
- The idea behind the GTD methodology is to get tasks, to-do lists, and schedules out of your head and focus on accomplishing more with ease, so you can break down the tasks into actionable steps and do them.
- GTD-inspired apps focus more on tasks to help you accomplish your tasks rather than spending hours planning your to-dos.
What could be better than completing scheduled tasks in your to-do list on time and getting a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day? And also, an acknowledgment that the work you did during the day was done efficiently and well? As it turns out, having a sense of accomplishment at work can help people feel as though they are progressing in their work.
As such, there are a number of productivity apps and software that claim to offer ease in dealing with all your work in both your personal and professional life. However, not many of them succeed in easing your workload — unless, of course, you use one of the GTD-based apps and software.
But what exactly is GTD methodology, and what are some of the best GTD apps that you can use to improve your productivity. Here’s a guide answering all such queries.
What is GTD?
GTD, or Getting Things Done, is a time management and productivity methodology that helps you complete tasks and meet deadlines in an effective and efficient manner. It was developed by David Allen, an American productivity consultant, who emphasizes “the mind is for having ideas, not storing them.”
The goal of the GTD system is to get tasks, to-do lists, and schedules out of your head and focus on accomplishing more with ease. That way, you can break down the tasks into actionable steps and do them, rather than spending time on making a task (or to-do) list.
GTD methodology involves a sequence of steps that you need to follow to manage your tasks better and become productive. These include:
As its name indicates, capture involves getting things out of your head and making notes about them so that your mind is free from all the clutter, and you can concentrate on prioritizing tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
With your thoughts laid out, the next step in the GTD methodology involves clarifying these thoughts and ideas to determine actions. So, you always have a clear distinction between actionable and non-actionable tasks, which is vital in road-mapping how you approach your goals.
After capturing your thoughts and clarifying your actions, the next step is organizing them to simplify your approach to executing these actions. Organizing is all about categorizing your actions and prioritizing them in a way that helps you do more effectively.
In order to fully utilize the GTD productivity system, it is essential to review what’s on your agenda periodically so that you are aware of the actions you have accomplished and those still pending.
The ultimate step in the GTD methodology is to engage and carry out all the listed actions necessary to accomplish your goals. Since everything needs to be done, you need to prioritize tasks based on importance and work diligently to stay on top of your deadlines.
Best GTD Apps
Having now learned what GTD methodology is and the idea behind its working, here are some of the best GTD apps you can use to improve your workflow and increase your productivity.
1. Chaos Control
Chaos Control is a personal task manager based on GTD. It prioritizes action to reduce unnecessary clutter and anxiety, and in turn, let you focus on what is important on your agenda. Being a GTD-derived software, Chaos Control offers a bunch of features that complement GTD methodology. So you can organize and manage your actions and add contexts — additional information — to add more clarity to your project and its associated tasks.
Aside from these essential GTD features, Chaos Control also provides the ability to sync all your entries across different devices you use the software on. Additionally, it even lets you automatically export entries from the Chaos Control calendar to your preferred calendar app of choice between Google Calendar and iCloud Calendar.
Plans: Free, Paid ($23.59 per year)
nTask is yet another popular task management software based on the GTD productivity system. It is packed with all the basic features you would need to organize and manage your projects (or tasks), so you can simply focus on performing actions. One of the best things about nTask is that it lets you collaborate with other team members and assign them tasks. That way, you can have everyone in your team working together effectively.
When working with teams nTask offers dedicated workspaces to keep everything organized, with the ability to set roles and permissions improving the team collaboration experience even further. Besides, the platform also includes onboard meeting software that can be used to discuss the agenda and any actions or decisions that need to be taken.
Plans: Free, Paid ($2.99 per month)
Firetask is an easy-to-get-started task management app. It employs the principles of David Allen’s GTD methodology and combines that with the essential task management features to give you a better experience with managing your tasks and approaching them based on their priority. One interesting feature about Firetask is that you get the option to categorize tasks as actionable, delegatable, or an infrequent activity, which helps in differentiating the tasks better.
Being based on GTD means you get to enjoy all the useful bits from the GTD methodology on Firetask. This means you can add context to your tasks and review them periodically, so you always know what you’ve accomplished and what is coming up. Besides, FireTask also supports link attachments, color-and-icon categorization to categorize tasks and projects, cloud synchronization, and integration with the built-in calendar, contacts, and reminder applications.
Plans: Free, Paid ($13.99)
OmniFocus is another popular task management tool based on GTD. The basic idea with the software is to tame the chaos and focus on the right tasks at the right time. And all it does to help you with the same is simplify the process of capturing tasks, so you can stay organized and get started with doing things. Additionally, the integration with Apple devices makes it even easier to capture tasks from anywhere.
With OmniFocus, you can quickly lay out what the week looks like for you by listing all your upcoming projects along with their due dates and tags. And the to-do list onboard then helps you keep track of your priorities and presents you with the tasks you need to take next. Like most cross-platform task managers, OmniFocus also has the sync functionality built-in, which automatically syncs all your projects and tasks across different devices.
Plans: Free (14-day free trial), Paid ($9.99 per month)
FacileThings is a powerful task manager that brings all the goodness of the GTD productivity system into an easy-to-use software. Much like any other GTD-based task management app on the list, FacileThings also lets you organize and manage your tasks efficiently in one place. That way, you can refer to the actionable tasks and focus on accomplishing them.
With FacileThings you get support for integration with productivity services, such as Evernote, Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and more. So, if you use any of these services, you can integrate them with FacileThings to take advantage of its features. Additionally, you also get statistics to track all your activity, which lets you check your current progress and improve your workflow if required.
Plans: Free (30-day trial), Paid ($7 per month for 1 year)
The aforementioned are some of the best GTD-based task management systems (apps/software) that you can use to function better and improve your productivity.
Having said that, though, by emphasizing how the GTD methodology can prove to be effective at keeping up with projects and managing your tasks we are not inferring in any way that every non-GTD task management and to-do service out there is ineffective. Instead, we are merely suggesting that GTD-based apps are more likely to help you achieve your goals since they emphasize taking actions rather than just making notes and recalling them repeatedly.