Do you have your personal GTD Checklists ready?

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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photo courtesy of pixabay.com

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)

https://www.amazon.com/Making-All-Work-Winning-Business/dp/0143116622/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=making+it+all+work+david+allen&qid=1576585436&sr=8-1

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

GTD Checklist 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.


:thinking: 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.

Enjoy Life! Enjoy the Process!

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Thank you, Wilsong. I have some of them as project templates in OF, but not all. This will help me complete them.

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Yes this is a great resource WIlson! Thanks so much for sharing it – gives a good base for folks to start their own checklists from.

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That’s a fantastic tool thank you for sharing wilsonng :sunglasses::+1:

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Thanks for the love and Happy New Year!

I’ve found that I spent too much time working on the system and worried too much about all the steps I need to get through.

Having a checklist provides consistency. I go through the checklists like a mechanic going through a car inspection.

:white_check_mark: Brakes
:white_check_mark: Front lights
:white_check_mark: Read lights
:white_check_mark: Mirrors
:white_check_mark: Brake fluid
:white_check_mark: Power steering fluid
:white_check_mark: Tires inflated to correct PSI

There are so many things that go into a car inspection. It would be impossible to remember everything. The mechanic has his checklist to make sure he covers all his bases. Having a checklist ensures that nothing is missed. Every car inspection is performed the same way. I took a huge cognitive load off myself when I finally implemented a checklist system.

Habits are tough to adopt. Having a checklist guides me every time and eases my mind. The checklists are on paper or on my iPad/iPhone/Mac. GTD is notorious for being difficult to install in one’s workflow. Having the checklists makes life easier. There would be fewer people falling off the bandwagon if they had their step-by-step checklists to guide them through.

I’m also in the process of taking the checklists I uploaded and making them my own. I’ll share them a bit later as an example of how to take the standard GTD checklists and make them yours.

Part of popularity of sharing checklists or GTD systems is in seeing what works for someone else and then finding those bits that might work for you. I’ve often checked out @timstringer’s Learn OmniFocus workflows to see what I can adopt for myself. I make sure to add different parts to my various checklists and trial them for a few weeks. I’ll see what sticks around and what needs fine-tuning or elimination.

I won’t spend as much time worrying about the workflow and have more time to focus on my goals, projects, and next actions.

My GTD workflow does seem to flow easier with checklists in my life. Maybe one day, you will be able to share your workflows and checklists with us or in other communities!

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