My Experiments With GTD

My Experiments With GTD


I cannot experience my life without GTD today. It’s really a horrible scenario to even think of.

Let’s start with the start. My first experience with productivity tools was Todoist. I started using Todoist. I was really happy with the results I was getting.

After some time as I added more and more tasks, it became a big chunk of tasks. Most of the tasks were pending and things were not getting done.

The result was that I stopped using Todoist at all.

Note: Todoist is a great tool. It’s just that my approach while using Todoist was wrong.

After some time, I listened to the audiobook “GTD” by David Allen. It was really an amazing transformation. There are so many productivity experts out there but most of them are fake. (By the way, I am not a productivity expert but a productivity enthusiast)

How do I do GTD?

I would like to quote a line from David Allen, “GTD is not a system but a systematic approach.”

This is the thing I like most about GTD. It’s not a system but a systematic approach. Many people tell use this tool or do these steps. For Example, Many people say use Notion. There is no wrong with that. I am one of those people because I love Notion. What we are asking you to do is to use a system. If we say you need to do project management i.e take out all the projects you want to do outside of your brain somewhere (it may be notion, Trello paper, or anything you like), it’s a systematic approach.

I started GTD on paper. I then shifted to a lot of tools. The next breakthrough came with Trello. Recently, I switched to the notion (currently using).

Let’s start with Trello,

I believe Trello is one of the best tools for people,

  • People who are beginners with GTD
  • It’s one of the best list managers out there.
  • It’s one of the simplest and yet efficient project management tools out there.
  • It’s very easy to use.

I used notion for these reasons. Things were going really well. The problem with me is for me only the next action lists and views for me was not enough. For example, Let’s Say you have a lead name, “XYZ”. The next action is z. Let’s say you have another client say “ABC”. He is a lead too. If “XYZ” is more important and the next action i.e call gets to be done by tomorrow, how does your next action list tells you that? You need to have a priority view and due date view too. There was one more problem I was facing. Connecting Projects with Next actions. How can I see all of the next actions in my projects list? Yes, I could have done all this manually on Trello but I am not that hardworking guy seriously. I don’t know about you but it became these questions were eating me up.

Let’s talk about Notion,

Then in my life came Thomas Franks- Ultimate Tasks. It was really like a gold mine for me. It really opened so many gates for me that I cannot even tell you. The two features which really changed the way I do GTD (and how I see my life too),

A centralized Database

I was using localized databases until this point. A centralized database is very simple and much better. Did I say simple? Sorry, it’s not simple but if you can control it makes you so much more powerful. The logic is simple- instead of creating many decentralized and localized databases you create a centralized database and use it everywhere with the help of linked databases using filters, properties, and sorts.

Moving out tasks within tasks

This is something only notion can do- You can create a subtask. Although it is a subtask, it can be used as an independent task.

What I meant to say is that? If you have your shopping list and it has,

  • Bread
  • Butter
  • Soup Powder
  • Milkshake powder

Let’s say, only Super Market ‘A’ have bread and butter (It’s not true but let’s suppose), and only Super Market ‘B’ have soup powder and milkshake powder. Now in notion, you can very easily create filters and see the things you want from Super Market ‘B’ when you reach there. It’s not impossible to do it with Trello and Todoist but it’s a pain definitely.

The Beauty of maintaining an External Brain

It’s actually interesting. My story of starting with the external Brain is really interesting. Most people started keeping an external brain to increase productivity. In my case, I cannot do things without an external Brain. It was also one of the reasons why I got really less marks in high school.

Therefore, my default from start itself was an External Brain. I started with paper and shifted to Notion, ultimately. (Yes, I am obsessed with Notion). The best part about the external brain or productivity, in general, is more you learn about these things, you realize there is so much more to learn.

The Power of Emptying Your Brain

It’s actually one of the most powerful things. I was always fascinated by the question- “How can people live without using such a basic productivity technique.”

I recently got the answer to this question. You can need it for two reasons,

  1. You want to improve your life.
  2. You have too many things to handle or You want more out of your life.

The second reason fascinates me more because it’s the reason why I do it. I have my college studies and a freelancing business to run. Therefore, I have to always be more careful with my time.


My results may not be so fascinating to you but definitely, it has changed my life in a very subtle way. It’s my strong belief that it can change your life. I can understand that it’s hard to maintain GTD over a long time. I can tell you this because I have found it hard, too. If you can do it, you will see such benefits in your life you can’t imagine. The best advantage is the feeling of control over my life.

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