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A Getting Things Done (GTD) approach for WORK[etc]

Can WORK[etc] be used as a software platform for David Allen's infamous Getting Things Done?  This long-time WORK[etc] user shows you his GTD method.

Editor's note:  Runy Calmera is owner of Calmera.nl, an internet-based training, coaching and consultancy firm based in Curacao in the Caribbean. He offers master classes and workshops to busy policy advisors, knowledge workers and managers to organize their business and private information. To make better decisions and get more results. For analysis he uses spreadsheet models to structure the problem and reach the targets. You can follow him on Twitter here and on LinkedIn here.

Why do you want to set Getting Things Done in your WORK[etc]?

If you are using WORK[etc] you probably have many tasks, projects and deadline to accomplish. In this article I will show you briefly how I set up the Getting Things Done System in WORK[etc] and how it has helped me getting more done in less time.

What is Getting Things Done? It is a system by David Allen, to help you clean your head, manage tasks and projects in less time. It works with some Lists where you put your tasks and Contexts, which are situations in which you do some tasks.

Use lists to organize your stuff

The lists are:

  • Stuff Inbox list. Where you put all the tasks and stuff in your head.
  • Next Action list. Where you have all your tasks you will do next week.
  • Maybe Later list. Where you put tasks you might do in the future.
  • Waiting For list. Where you put tasks you are waiting for other people to complete for you. If you are a manager, you should definitely have this list!

Put some context to your lists

The contexts  I use are:

  • Action-Computer. For tasks you do at your computer.
  • Action-Write. For things you need to write.
  • Action-Read. For things you need to read.
  • Action-Shopping. For things you need to buy.
  • Action-Home. For things you can only do at home.

So in summary, if a task needs to be done by next week and you need to do this task behind your computer, the task will be on the Next Action list and with context Action-Computer. If the task is a future task the task will be on your Maybe Later list and have no context.

How Have I set this up in my WORK[etc]?

In the screen below you see an overview of my saved views. For each list I have made a saved view in WORK[etc] and ad dit as a bookmark. The beauty of WORK[etc] is that I now can access all my lists and contexts all the time. If I am at my computer and I want to do some tasks behind the computer, I just press the GTD Tasks Next @ Computer and I see things I can do behind the computer. If I have some time and want to read stuff, I press the GTD Task Next @Read and see my reading list.

Bookmarked Saved Views of Getting Things Done in WORK[etc]

How does my task list in WORK[etc] look like?

In the screen below you see my GTD Tasks Next @ Computer. You see all the important fields like, Name, Attached to, Client, Employee, Progress and the Context and the List. I have made these two last fields and included them in the Saved View. I can add a comment, email, reminder, attachement, event, task, timesheet etc. to this task list easily by pressing the “+” sign behind each task. Currently you cannot order the list based on these two new fields, but the WORK[etc] support team, told me they have put this request on their to do list. Especially when you have a saved view with all the Contexts and Lists in one single Saved View, you can then order the list based on these two fields.

GTD Tasks Next @ Computer in WORK[etc]

How do you implement the system of Getting Things Done in WORK[etc]? 

Here are the steps you should follow:

1. Make two new fields Context and List. In Settings -> Custom fields you make two  fields called Context and List and you add them to the Tasks in your WORK[etc]. I have changed the name of my Todos in WORK[etc] into Settings -> Todo -> Options.

Custom Fields Context and List in WORK[etc]

2. Make saved views for your tasks 

After making the two new fields and adding them to your tasks you are now ready to make the Saved Views. Go to Reports -> Saved views and Create a new saved view. First make the Saved view GTD Stuff Inbox list, then the GTD Tasks Next Action list. This saved view contains all the tasks with the List equal to Next Action and no Context.

Then copy this Saved View and name it for instance GTD Tasks Next Action @ Computer. Now you need to add a Context Action-Computer to this Saved View.

Saved view GTD Tasks Next @Computer in WORK[etc]

3. Bookmark the saved views 

Make sure you bookmark all the Saved views by selecting the yellow star.

You are done. The next time you add a task, you will see your two custom fields List and Context appear. If you select these, your tasks will appear on the corresponding Getting Things Done list in the WORK[etc] saved views.

How can this help you achieve more in less time?

If you are like me, you love using your WORK[etc]. It has become an essential system for me to achieve results.

Benefits of  Getting Things Done System in my WORK[etc]

  • I can now brainstorm each friday at 14:00. I fill my Stuff Inbox list with all tasks in my mind. Once my mind is clean, I feel relax and I can think again and prioritize stuff. If you are part of a team, you could brainstorm with the whole team on  a day in the week and add stuff to your Stuff Inbox list. Best day is friday, so you know what needs to be done next week.
  • I have all my priorities clear. The stuff which are on my Next Action list needs to be done next week. It is a promise to myself. If a task can wait, I will put it on my Maybe Later list, so it does not bother me. By using my Next action list I get more done.
  • I can do work for many projects during the week. No matter if I have 5 projects to work on, if a task needs to be completed by next week, I will put it on my Next action list.
  • I can work in different Contexts. Because I have organized my tasks in @Reading, @Computer, @Write, @Home, @Shopping, each time I am working in that context, I can do all these tasks, because they are grouped together. For instance I had a task to rewrite the article about WORK[etc] and I put it in the @Write  context and on my Next Action list. So this morning I wanted to write an article, and I chose to do this one. By doing different stuff during your week, work can be more fun.
  • You can organize your tasks in pieces of work that makes sense to you. Some of you might be software companies using WORK[etc] to deliver software for your clients. I used to work for software development teams as a business analyst. And the software developpers used the concept of “Sprints” to deliver their software. This is a way to deliver software more incrementally. Now if you make a Sprint with all the tasks and features to be delivered next week, you call it the “Next Sprint” instead of my Next Action. So you can tweak the system to your needs.

Your Next action: set it up within 1 hour and try it 

If you want to see step by step how I made the two fields, how I made the Saved Views and get some tips on how I have set up the Getting Things Done System, check the three articles on my blog:

How to set up List and Context fields?

In this article I explain how to set up the List field and the Context field in WORK[etc] for tasks or todos.

How to add a task to your GTD list?In this article I add a task within WORK[etc] and give you some tips. > How to set up Saved Views for GTD in WORK[etc]?In this article I set up the Getting Things Done lists as saved views in WORK[etc].

Share Your Story, Get Kudos & Vouchers! Have you got a story to tell about how you use WORK[etc]?  Get your business in front of tens of thousands of other businesses by telling us your WORK[etc] storyWe're looking for three types of stories:

  • Saving the Day - situations when WORK[etc] came to the rescue
  • Closing the Deal  - stories around how WORK[etc] helped you win more business
  • Doing it Different - how your business uses WORK[etc] in a different or unique way

If we publish your story not only will you receive maximum link kudos here but we’ll also be sending you a $100 Amazon gift voucher.  Email support with a few bullet points around your story and business and we’ll take it from there.

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