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Eight years getting things done

I used to have stress and anxiety, but then I found out how to get things done and everything changed.

A normal day for me was to work on what was urgent that day. I remember working long hours and at the end of the day not having the feeling of achievement.

Even though I was a hard worker, I felt that I had to work harder to get more done. I had a lot to do and a constant feeling of forgetting something important.

I got used to it; I thought it was just how “work” works.

Stress

Imagine that in your mind there is big room with a monkey in it. Every time you think “I have to do that thing tomorrow” it’s like you hand a paper to that monkey to keep track of it.

With 3 papers, the monkey is kind of ok… but as soon as you start loading him with all the trivial tasks you have to do every day he gets frustrated. Then he loses track of all the papers and just screams in panic and runs all over the place. Hello stress!

Do you recognise yourself? Do you recognise a friend? We all know somebody who is always busy, all the time, every single day. I was that guy. My inner monkey was overloaded with too many tasks. I needed a solution.

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Solution

I thought that a “To Do” app would do the job. I tried a few of them but after a while I always end up blaming the app and moving to a different one.

Something wasn’t working: it was like an app wasn’t enough. I started looking for books about “personal productivity” and then I found “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. GTD for short.

The beauty about this methodology is that it takes all the papers from the inner monkey and puts them into a better tool. I use an app designed specifically for GTD, it’s called Things.

There are only two habits that you must master to get the most out of GTD:

#1 – Collect:

As soon as possible, write down all your tasks, reminders, ideas, etc. in one place; this place is called “inbox”. This is the key to keeping the inner monkey happy.

#2 – Process:

Process your inbox at the beginning of the day and decide what to do with the tasks. Are you doing it today? Someday? Is there a due date? Is it part of a project?

Here you can see a quick introduction to GTD and how to use Things.

I’ve been practicing GTD for more than 8 years now and I can tell you that it works. Every time I get an idea or a task I write it down into my inbox. Every morning I process my inbox and I decide what to do with the tasks. Everything I have to do is in Things. Now my inner monkey is 100% stress-free.

I keep recommending GTD and Things but busy people keep telling me: “I don’t have time for books and new apps! I have too much to do!”.

Alejandro Lopez
Alejandro Lopez
Alejandro is Head of MyWallSt Labs. His favourite stock is Shopify. He likes the simplicity of the platform, especially the checkout flow for customers. He thinks that Shopify is becoming the standard in e-commerce and the company still has space for growth.