August 2020 Desk Calendar: -Another problem is that the matrix may grow to the point that it presents too many options. That is, you may find a large number of tasks in Quadrant II, and have difficulty choosing which ones to work on given your limited availability. As with the Kanban method, there’s a lot to like about the Matrix system (or Eisenhower Box) despite its flaws. You may find that some of its features are well suited to the way you work. In a few moments, we’re going to create a personal to-do list system that will help you to get the important stuff done. First, let’s take a look at the final – and arguably the most popular – task management system used today: Getting Things Done (GTD). David Allen’s Getting Things Done is one of the most celebrated task management systems in use today. Interestingly, it has as many detractors as it has advocated (for reasons we’ll get to in a moment). Here are the basics: You have a lot of stuff swimming around in your head. Most of it remains uncategorized in terms of context, priority, and intended outcomes. For example, you may be thinking of your brother’s birthday, the shortage of paper towels in your kitchen, and your daughter’s upcoming piano recital. You might be spending mental energy on the fact that you need to put gas in your car, mow the lawn, and buy bug spray to deal with the ants in your bathroom.
August 2020 Desk Calendar
Meanwhile, your tooth hurts, suggesting it’s time to see the dentist. Your back hurts, indicating a doctor’s visit might be in order. And a little voice in your head whispers that you should make exercise a bigger priority. These items float around in your mind. There’s no plan to take action on them, which leaves open loops. We want to get these things done, but we haven’t committed ourselves to their completion. Open loops cause us stress. August 2020 Desk Calendar seeks to get this stuff out of your head and onto a list. It makes each item actionable, thereby closing the open loops. Once items are on a master list, you spend time organizing them according to context.
Part of this process entails creating multiple lists and placing items where they belong. A weekly review is performed to stay on top of things. That’s a simplified explanation of GTD (entire books have been written about it). It will suffice for our purposes. This strategy offers several important features. First, it forces you to add context to each task. This is inherent in the process of “dumping” everything onto a master list and then moving tasks to other, more refined lists. Second, it separates tasks based on importance. Part of August 2020 Calendar involves creating a “next actions” list and a “someday/maybe” list. Both are useful. The former encourages you to keep your important work moving forward. The latter allows you to capture ideas that may have value, but need further consideration before that value can be determined. Third, GTD advises performing a weekly review. This review is not an afterthought. Allen refers to it as one of the keys to being successful using GTD.
Fourth, it’s as flexible as you need it to be. While GTD provides structure, it doesn’t force you to adhere to specific tactics. It offers a framework that gives you enough flexibility to create your own personalized approach. Having said the above, there are a few challenges with using GTD. First, it focuses more on processing the ideas in your head than actually getting them done. Second, not enough attention is given to how each item captured on the “brain dump” list relates to your goals. While you’re forced to give the item’s context and place them on more refined lists, you’re not required to link them to specific objectives.
Third, the flexibility inherent in GTD can prove to be detrimental to some users. Oftentimes, people who struggle with task management need more constraints on their freedom, not less. Such constraints can help them to rein in bad habits and improve their focus.