GTD control and perspective

The Mind Is For Having Ideas, Not Holding Them may be the best half hour executive summary of David Allen’s Getting Things Done method.

Nobody has “fulfill destiny as a human being on this planet” on their to do list, but ultimately that is what it boils down to.

The requirements: Control & Perspective.


  • Capture what has your attention
  • Clarify if this needs action, if so, what done means and what doing looks like
  • Organize these commitments and decisions in a trusted system
  • Reflect on best way to engage, decide on next action
  • Engage, do it

This approach to getting things under control applies to multiple levels of perspective:


  • Purpose
  • Principles your rules of engagement
  • Goals 12-18 month horizon
  • Responsibilities 4-7 areas to maintain
  • Projects things to finish within a year
  • Actions things to do

And don’t expect to stay in control but get thrown off multiple times each day. Notice it happening and regroup.

Good practice

  • Pay attention to what has your attention
  • Decide on desired outcomes and the actions required
  • Free your psyche with a trusted system
  • Teach what you need to learn the most
  • Share these ideas

Using GTD does tend to generate its own kind of busywork. Still, I find it true that the clarity that comes from this control and perspective is needed for finding the right way in and through the mess of work, art, life.