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GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist

Thanks very much for visiting my site. I've temporarily brought this page down as I work on a ebook that tightens up and extends the ideas. Please contact me if you'd like me to help you assess, diagnose, and improve your productivity practice, or if you'd like permission to use these ideas elsewhere. Thanks!


Reader Comments (21)

Wow! This is a great list Matt :) I'm still having problems with my GTDing, this post has given me some things to think about.

June 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlvin

Hi Matt, thanks for this. I printed it out and have just spent a very useful half hour with a coffee and a pen scribbling down my responses to each of your statements. A great appraisal system. What I might do this evening when I get in from work is convert this to a three-column table (eg "Statement", "Response", "Remedial Action") where I can type up my comments and plan a way to address weaknesses (a cluttered, fuzzy action list) and build on strengths (a reliable calendar system) and then use it as a kind of before and after benchmark.

All good stuff, a useful kick up the arse. Many thanks.

June 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTerry

Excellent and HELPFUL distillation!

Thank you for the refresher!

Jeff H

June 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jeff H: I'm very pleased you found it helpful. I appreciate the comment. Thanks for reading!

June 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Hi, Terry. Thanks a bunch for the story - good show! I'm impressed by your call to action. Where does the three-part "Statement", "Response", "Remedial Action" come from? Sounds interesting.

Also, I like the sound of your list of books - any that you'd suggest to me?

From http://www.blogger.com/profile/1690567:
* Adam One Afternoon
* Better Than Sex
* Blindness
* Catch-22
* Disappearing Through The Skylight
* Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
* Fictions
* Foucault's Pendulum
* Great Apes
* Grey Area
* How The Dead Live
* If on a winter's night a traveller
* Labyrinths
* Misreadings
* Mostly Harmless
* Quantity Theory of Insanity
* Simplicity
* The Big I Am
* The Dice Man
* The Third Policeman

Thanks for reading over there!

June 29, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Thanks for this Matt!

I've converted it into an OmniOutliner outline, and will start using it regularly.

I feel as though it should be a part of a monthly review - followed by adding new items to the Next Actions lists, as well as adding new items to your Daily Checklists (see http://flylady.net!)

Two recommendations I would make - if something is "actionable", one needs a lawyer, not a todo list... Look up "actionable" in the dictionary... I prefer "doable" or "perform" or "performable" (ugh!)

Also, like "Next Actions" and "Goals" these items should probably be concrete - most are, but not all....

If you'd like a copy of my outline, let me know. I'm planning to use a PDF for repeated printing - and an OPML file is definitely possible, though the formatting goes out the window.....

July 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Douthitt

One more thing: your list assumes people use email to categorize items.

I don't get that many items that way - in fact, ruling out newsletters and mailing lists and spam (invited and otherwise), I get about one or two emails a week that are directed specifically to me.

I've also always thought emails should be processed, and items placed in Next Actions lists, Waiting For lists, etc.

July 4, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Douthitt

David: Thanks very much for the comments! A few responses:

I feel as though it should be a part of a monthly review - Great idea. Please let me know how it works for you, and if you add/edit it.

if something is "actionable", one needs a lawyer, not a todo list - I appreciate your precision. I'm primarily trying to use Allen's terminology for consistency. Note: I found [ this s definition | http://www.answers.com/actionable&r=67a ]: 1. Relating to or being information that allows a decision to be made or action to be taken. Seems OK to me...

If you'd like a copy of my outline, let me know. I'm planning to use a PDF for repeated printing... - Thanks for the offer, David. I'll give you a holler if I need it. Also, if you end up sharing it, it would be great if you'd credit me.

your list assumes people use email to categorize items - Thanks very much for bringing this up. I definitely do not assume this, so I need to re-write some of it, esp. this line:

I've created support folders in my email system, e.g., @Action and @Waiting For. ____

The ideas are definitely general (thanks to David Allen's clean thinking), and you are spot on about the lists used to track actions.

I appreciate the comments, David.

July 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

This list has been very useful. Thanks for keeping us on our toes! I read through the checklist and identified my shortcomings. My next action is to review each shortcoming and identify an action I can take to improve. Finally, I was thinking I'd tickle this checklist for monthly review.

July 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Hay

I'm pleased it helped, Michael. I admire how you're using it. Thanks for your comment, and for reading!

July 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Good idea and a great list. You could maybe offer it as a download in .doc format or provide links to versions (Outliner etc) offered above.

October 25, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterquaisi

Thanks for the suggestion and compliment, quaisi.

October 25, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

This list is great.

I translated it to spanish and posted it on my blog about "Effective Tecnology"



January 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Garrett

Neat, Paul - thanks very much. BTW, I couldn't find a feed for your blog - do you have RSS feeds enabled?


January 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Paul's site does have a feed, I found the link at the bottom of the page.

January 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeroen

Thanks, Jeroen.

January 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Impossible to put into words how helpful and useful I found this list! THANKS!

In the Do section, I added: "I use effective tracking systems to track my duties, my files, and the status of my projects."

Now I need to explore differences between tracking systems, to improve this workflow.

Thank you Matt, your ideas are terrific.


June 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I meant to say:

To track our workflow, of course your list would be Number 1.

But I want to explore other tracking methods, for example, you can use iCal as an automatic time management tracker to remind you of upcoming meetings, phone calls to make or respond to, and so forth.


June 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Jackie, thanks so much for your praise - I'm pleased you found it helpful. I appreciate you addition - I agree calendar-based reminders are useful for time-sensitive action.

June 22, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Hey matt,

To be honest I think your approach is a little too complicated and formulaic (ie/ I always "collect", then "process", then "organize", "review", and finally "do")... I actually prefer to just use a to do list (honestly). I don't set To Dos in the morning necessarily... I just set them whenever they come to find. I'll give you an example: A few days ago I was working on this project (I build Facebook apps) and I found a minor bug while working... I went to my to do list and added a todo for tomorrow (fix bug X). By the end of the day, I usually ammass a couple to dos for the next day, and then perhaps I'll add a few more. The point is I think flexibility rather than an overly formulaic process works. I don't think most of our lives are some changing that flexibility in managing GTD is very important. I'll give you my recommendation for a To Do List thingy, though there exist tons of to do list organizers of course. [ Here - for daily to do lists | http://www.zotodo.com/ ] It's simple and stuff which I really like, but my point really is that I think just using a flexible to do list is better than such an approach as you suggest.

Just my opinion.

March 8, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hi Anonymous. Thanks for the comment. I'm continuing to adapt and synthesize Allen's work, though it remains a big influence. The complexity is a trade-off. My experience, and my research, has convinced me that, without all those elements (I'm simplifying them in the next few months - stay tuned) we're not effectively offloading brains into artifacts. My concern is this will short-circuit that higher-level higher-function mental activities - which is ultimately part of the whole point of doing all this self-management.

You *really* should look at [ Mark Forster | http://www.matthewcornell.org/blog/2006/11/conversation-with-mark-forster.html ] book [ Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management | http://www.amazon.com/Tomorrow-Other-Secrets-Time-Management/dp/0340909129/sr=1-1/qid=1163773146/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-7079152-9387010?ie=UTF8&%5C1s=books ]. Very compatible with your daily approach.

Re: flexibility during the day: I completely agree. Absolutely required these days. Re: flexibility in coming up with a personal system - ditto. Getting to the point where you're actively thinking about this is a major jump for folks - well done.

Thanks again.

March 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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