“Getting Things Done” Resources for Stress-Free Productivity


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This post contains top “Getting Things Done” resources for stress free productivity.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity has remained one of the most popular productivity books since it was first published in 2001.

Chances are that you already knew the GTD system and tried it. You might also have given up due to its orientation to details. I did when I read the book in 2010.

But at 40 years of age after years of reading widely on the topic and working to improve productivity, here’s four lessons I’ve learned:

  • To be fully engaged, the very first step is to balance your mental, physical, emotional and intellectual state. This is the fundamental basic.
  • Then, you need a system to effectively capture and retrieve information and tasks when you need to. Your brain does not do a good enough job of retrieving information.
  • You need a system to connect and contextualize those information and tasks so that you can use them when and where you want.

Instead of blaming the tool, I should have put it on myself and mastered the tool.

And that’s why I revisited the GTD system ten years later after trying out a bunch of productivity methods and put my effortful thinking into the method to re-learn the system.

GTD quote

Book Summary

The book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen is about a comprehensive productivity system that lets you organize your work and life so effectively and efficiently that you can get fully engaged in the task at hand.

How do you achieve it?

The GTD workflow consists of the following 5 steps:

  1. Capture everything in your inbox
  2. Clarify items in your inbox so it makes sense to you
  3. Organize your items. If it’s actionable, task it. Something that is not actionable but could be needed later on should go into the reference tray. Delete the rest.
  4. Review your lists regularly. Daily review keeps you in control of your day and lets you plan the next day. Weekly/monthly review lets stay on track of your goals.
  5. Engage. Work on important tasks.

Asian Efficiency put together the GTD workflow so nicely in an infographic:

GTD flowchart

GTD is a great productivity method for busy executives. It takes time to learn but if life is demanding for you, GTD will be essential.

Check out the book:

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (Amazon book)

Four Hand-Picked GTD Resources

Below are the top four resources I have hand-picked for you to dig in deeper.

1. The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (TEDx Talks)

The talk by David Allen himself emphasizes the importance of good organizational skills and tool. He also gives you a glimpse into the 5-step workflow of GTD.

2. Getting Things Done book summary (YouTube video)

This is an animated video summarizing the book. If you’re a visual learner, you’ll get a lot out of it.

3. Getting Things Done book summary by Sam Davies

A detailed summary of the book. You’ll find important concepts presented in the book with brief summary.

4. Getting Things Done book summary by Four Minute Books

The book summary by Four Minute Books does not provide the keywords but makes it easy to understand and implement the key ideas GTD presents.

(Recommended reading: iPhone Configuration and Apps for Fearless Productivity)

Recommended GTD App

Back in 2010 when I first read the book, there were only a few apps available and they were not useful. Today, hundreds of task management apps are built based on the GTD principles.

I have tried a few of them over the years and my recommendation is Todoist.

It is a paid task management app that makes GTD implementation a breeze. These are just a few features that make the app a great fit for GTD:

  • The app is accessible everywhere: Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, Android, and web.
  • Adding tasks is easy and so intuitive. For example, if you want to do your task tomorrow at 10 a.m., you just type “tomorrow at 10 am”, the app would convert it and date the task deadline accordingly.
  • The integrations allows you to collect tasks from anywhere such as emails and website.
  • The tag and category functionalities let you easily create projects and contexts under which tasks should go.
  • The comment section makes it a great place for reference materials you need for a task.

Check out the Todoist guide to GTD here!

“Your mind is for having ideas, not for holding them.” ~David Allen

That’s it.

Thanks for reading.

Until next Sunday,


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About the author, Y Samphy

Samphy is a facilitator, blogger, consultant, personal productivity coach, and lifelong learner. His writing and ideas here focus around productivity and self-improvement.

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