Checklists has great power in the productivity world. Nearly every productivity book have their own lists and forms for you to work from. But have you created your own GTD Wiki? I wanted to gather up all of my GTD checklists into one place and create my own GTD workflow. Let’s see how.
I took much inspiration from David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology. But it is only a set of guidelines for you to follow. Each one of us has a unique set of circumstances that would make it difficult for one of the productivity authors to cover every issue that arises from our daily lives. Thus we start to take bits and pieces from other productivity systems to fill in the gaps where one methodology fails but another one can compensate. We try many productivity tips discovered through tweets, blog posts, Discourse forums, and books. We create our own Frankenstein workflow with bandages and duct tape. I’ve been guilty of this myself. I had a DEVONthink database full of tips and tricks, checklists, PDF forms, calendars, and ideas. Some worked. Some didn’t. Some pieces fit like a well-worn glove. Others are discarded when I can’t find a place for it.
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This was the journey I took. Soon enough, I had way too many tips scattered in books, blog posts, and half-forgotten OmniOutliner documents. I had a junk drawer full of articles and posts saved in haphazard fashion. Finally, I took a hard look at my productivity workflow. I stripped everything and started from the beginning once again when my systems buckled under the strain of too many competing hacks. I took a basic shell of my GTD workflow and made a checklist of the different workflows. I took inspiration from David Allen’s book “Making It All Work” (MIAW)
Initially, I referred to the MIAW appendices whenever I needed to go through a workflow. But it didn’t feel “mine.” I decided to recreate the appendices in Apple Numbers and customized it to my workflow.
I chose Apple Numbers because it was free and available for download on every Mac, iPhone, or iPad. I could use other apps such as Apple Notes, OmniOutliner, Excel, or even a text editor. But I like having one Numbers spreadsheet with multiple sheets holding the various checklist. I can easily click between any of the sheets inside one Numbers document.
Truthfully, any app can hold your checklists. Find an app that you’re comfortable with. Just make sure that all the checklists are inside one app. Don’t have checklists in multiple apps.
Take time to create your own workflow. As life changes, adjust each sheet as needed. I do a quarterly checkup to see if I am skipping certain steps. I’ll delete those or try to change it to reflect how I perform a workflow. Add new steps as needed when your situation changes.
When I start my End-of-The-Day Daily Review, I go to my Daily Review sheet. I visit the Weekly Review sheet when I am in need of a weekly review. I have the Incompletion Trigger Lists when I need to do a mind sweep to completely empty my head.
My GTD checklist on my Mac
I can open the Numbers spreadsheet on my Mac and refer to it when I need to perform a workflow.
My GTD checklist on my iPhone
Sometimes I’ll open it on my iPhone and refer to it while I’m working on my Mac. This is helpful when I have a smaller screen like the MacBook 12”. I place my iPhone next to my computer and refer my checklist on the phone.
My GTD checklist on my iPad
I can also open my checklist on my iPad in a slideover panel. When I need to look at my checklist, I swipe from the right side of my iPad to show Numbers in the slideover panel. I can swipe away the slideover panel to hide it once again.
My GTD checklist in my notebook
The easiest way to gain access to your checklist is to just print it out and put it in a small binder. I have a Staples Discbound notebook that holds my notes and checklists in one convenient place. I don’t need to launch Apple Numbers to get to my checklists. It’s in my notebook and ready to use.
I can use either a Franklin-Covey Planner, a Discbound notebook, or any 3-ring binder to hold my checklists. There’s something magical about seeing a notebook with my checklists in physical form. I can flip through the pages easily if I need to switch between different checklists.
Keeping a checklist in an app that is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac ensures that I have easy access to them at all times. Keeping a physical notebook with the checklists also makes it a visible reminder that I have everything I need wherever I am.
Have you started your own GTD wiki yet? Invest a little time now in documenting your workflows. This will speed up workflows such as daily planning, creating projects, weekly review, and performing a mind sweep. Having a checklist on my Mac, iPhone, iPad, or notebook will speed up the GTD process. Customize the checklists to make it your own. Over time, the checklists will become automatic and you’ll be cycling through life quickly. You can finally create a cohesive GTD workflow and creating your own “Getting Things Done” book that works you.
I hope you’ll share some of your own results or comments about having one place for all your checklists has served you.
I share with you my Numbers GTD checklist. Convert it to another app such as OmniOutliner, Microsoft Word, Apple Notes, a mind map, or even a text file.
My personal GTD Checklist is actually heavily modified from the one I am providing in the link below. But this was the foundation of what I started off with. Make these checklists yours. Change it to fit your needs.