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How to Apply Getting Things Done to Your Meetings

Who doesn’t need to get things done.  At some point, you have probably resolved to change how you do things with the latest app, software, method, or system of organization.

Your motives are undoubtedly pure: save time, accomplish more, spend more time with the family, etc., but the tools you and others choose to help achieve these goals are seldom as effective as promised. One truly effective way of increasing productivity and reducing stress is applying the Getting Things Done(GTD) method, not only for individual work, but for collaborative work too.

GTD is more than a bestseller book with over 2 million copies in 30 languages. It’s a way of working and a powerful mindset.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” --David Allen, Author of Getting Things Done

The purpose of the GTD method is not merely to be more productive, it is also about being present and engaged. When your mind is busy trying to remember everything, it’s nearly impossible to be fully focused on the activity at hand. Neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Levitin, author of "The Organized Mind," shared on a podcast: without a system, you take new information and

“you put it in your brain and you kind of toss it and turn it around, and because it doesn't attach to anything, it takes up neuro-resources."

Getting Things Done (GTD) is a five-step system for applying order to your chaos and providing you with the space and structure you need to be more creative, strategic, focused, and stress-free. The five steps are:

Capture – Collect what has your attention.

The GTD method teaches you to use a notepad, voice recorder, or other recording tool to capture 100% of what has your attention, whether personal or professional.

Clarify – Process what it means.

Next, you are to take everything you capture and decide if it’s actionable. If, no, trash it or file it away for future reference. If, yes, then decide what action is to be taken. If it can be done immediately, do it. If not, put it on your to-do list.

Organize – Put it where it belongs.

Create lists for appropriate categories (for example, calls, emails, errands) and put the action reminders on the appropriate list.

Reflect – Review frequently.

Review your lists as often as you need to determine what must be done next. Also, review the lists weekly to cleanup, update, and clear your mind.

Engage – Simply do.

Use your system and take appropriate actions.

How can I Apply the GTD Method to Meetings?

GTD was designed as an individual practice, but the approach can also be applied to collaborative work such as meetings. Below, we’ve described how you can integrate the GTD method into your meetings, regardless of whether you’ve adopted GTD in your life.

  • Capture: Take collective notes at your meetings and input the information into a trusted system. Our minds cannot hold all of the information we accumulate, and people have different recollections about the same conversation, so it is imperative that you maintain a record of your business meetings.

  • Clarify: Be sure to label and organize your meeting notes. For example, Meeteor allows you to label and organize your notes as “Decisions,” “Tasks,” or “Learnings,” so you know what needs action (tasks), what is reference (Decisions and Learnings), and what is “trash” or information clutter (the rest of your meeting notes which should be saved, but out of the way).

  • Organize: Make sure “Tasks” end up on your team and personal task lists so they don’t fall through the cracks. The same is true with “Decisions” and “Learnings” - transfer them into another system if needed to keep this information easily accessible.

  • Reflect: Spend a little time every few weeks or before your next meeting looking back at prior decisions and learnings. There is a wealth of knowledge there which you can leverage.

  • Engage: Take action on your meeting outcomes and tasks.

Benefits Beyond Increased Productivity

The benefits of the Getting Things Done (GTD) method are innumerable, and the prospect of achieving stress-free productivity might be reason enough to implement the GTD method in your own life. However, incorporating the GTD method into your meeting practices can yield immediate and practical results such as:

  • Less Stress

  • Greater Focus

  • Easily Accessible Information

  • Time Savings

  • Team Alignment

Have you or your organization implemented the Getting Things Done (GTD) method?


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