Master Your Productivity: A Guide to Getting Things Done.

By | April 29, 2024

Personal productivity refers to the ability of an individual to efficiently manage their time, tasks, and resources to achieve desired goals and outcomes. It encompasses the effective utilization of one’s time and energy to complete tasks, meet deadlines, and accomplish objectives in a timely and efficient manner. Personal productivity involves strategies and techniques for prioritizing tasks, minimizing distractions, and optimizing workflow processes to maximize output and performance.

In today’s fast-paced world, personal productivity has become paramount for staying on top of tasks and achieving our goals. But with the multitude of distractions and demands vying for our attention, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and scattered. This is where adopting a methodology like Getting Things Done (GTD), created by productivity guru David Allen, can be a game-changer. GTD offers a systematic approach to organizing tasks, projects, and information, helping you regain control of your time and energy. Let’s delve into how GTD can revolutionize your productivity game.

My productivity process is centred around the Getting Things Done methodology. Here are the tools and processes I use for email management, calendar management, task management, and notes.


David Allen is the author of “Getting Things Done – the art of stress-free productivity“. Getting Things Done (GTD) is a personal productivity methodology that redefines how you approach your life and work. The GTD method is made up of five simple practices:

  1. Capture Everything: Stop trying to memorize every task that we need to do. Our brain is not very good at it. Capture any task that crosses your mind in your chosen task management tool.
  2. Clarify: Process what you have captured into clear and concrete action steps and make your tasks as specific and actionable as possible.
  3. Organize: Clarifying and organizing your tasks will happen in tandem, but it’s helpful to think about them as separate actions.
  4. Review: Review, update, and revise your lists regularly.
  5. Engage: Work on important tasks in a prioritized order.

Email Management

Inbox Zero is an email management strategy that to aims to keep your inbox empty, or as empty as possible. The phrase was originally coined by productivity expert Merlin Mann in 2004. The goal is to triage your emails quickly to reduce clutter and streamline your inbox. Achieving Inbox Zero is a cornerstone of GTD methodology, and it begins with effective email management.

By tagging emails into distinct categories, you can streamline your inbox and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Start by labeling emails as “Follow-Up” for those requiring focused attention and scheduling dedicated time on your calendar for tackling them. Next, designate emails as “Waiting” if they necessitate input from others before you can respond. Finally, for emails serving as reference items, such as important policies or updates, label them as “Read Through” to revisit them as needed.

My inbox review is scheduled three times daily – at the start of the day, in the middle of the day, and at the end of the day. If an email requires a response or action that takes me 2 minutes or less to action, then I will process that email and archive it immediately. All other emails are tagged for some future action. The objective is to achieve inbox-zero at the end of each inbox review.

Task Management

Task management is another key aspect of GTD, and incorporating tools like Todoist can enhance your efficiency further. Utilize Todoist to capture and organize tasks into actionable items, assigning them deadlines and priorities as per GTD principles. With its intuitive interface and customizable features, Todoist seamlessly integrates with GTD methodology, ensuring that no task slips through the cracks.

This app is installed on all of my devices, which allows me to immediately capture tasks wherever I am. Anything that crosses my mind (e.g., to-dos, events, ideas, etc.) are captured and stored immediately in Todoist. By default, these captured tasks are saved to the Todoist inbox unsorted and un-prioritized. The objective here is just to capture the task.

One of my scheduled daily tasks is to review my Todoist inbox (usually at the end of the workday). The objective of this step is to transform the chaotic clutter of everything I have captured into concrete action steps:

  • If the task will take less than 2 minutes, complete it right away.
  • If the task can be delegated, assign the task to someone else.
  • If the task a non-actionable reference item (e.g., a file, document, article, contact information, etc.) that I may need to come back to later, then I file it away in a separate reference project or attach it to the comments of the relevant task or project.
  • If the task needs to be done at a specific date/time, give the task a due date.
  • If the task is no longer needed or actionable, delete it.
  • If a actioning the task requires more than one step, then create a Todoist project to track all of the associated sub-tasks and identify the next action you can take to move the project forward.

There are many different ways to organize your tasks with the GTD methodology, but I recommend using a combination of projects and labels. Make tasks as specific and actionable as possible.

Calendar Management

Fantastical is a wonderful calendar app that lets me create and manage appointments using natural language on any of my Apple devices. For example, “Dentist appointment on Thu at 5pm” or “1:1 meeting with Roger Rabbit on the last Thu of every month at 9:30am”. It consolidates my work and personal calendars and integrates with Todoist to show scheduled tasks. This consolidated calendar view allows me to better manage my days and set realistic schedules.


In the realm of note-taking and information management, Bear Notes stands out for its advanced tagging and linking features. Bear is so much more than a note taking app. Leverage Bear Notes to create and organize your notes with ease, employing tags and links to establish connections between ideas and projects. Whether it’s jotting down meeting minutes or brainstorming project ideas, Bear Notes empowers you to capture and retrieve information effortlessly, aligning perfectly with the GTD methodology.

Being able to format notes using Markdown and organizing notes with tags allows me to be so much more organized and efficient. And I can do this while I type without interrupting my flow to highlight and format text. However, the real productivity booster is Bear’s superb tagging feature. The ability to create tags and sub-tags is analogous to a filing system with folders and sub-folders. Changing up tags to adapt to my workflow is as easy as renaming and reorganizing my tags.


I have described the tools I use in my Apple ecosystem but the methodology can be adapted to whatever platform you work in, including Windows. Adopting the Getting Things Done methodology can be a transformative journey towards reclaiming control over your productivity. By implementing strategies such as achieving Inbox Zero, utilizing task management tools like Todoist, integrating calendar management with Fantastical, and leveraging advanced note-taking features in Bear Notes, you can streamline your workflow and unlock your full potential.

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