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Teaching GTD to Young People


Each Wednesday, TDS hosts
The GTD Cafe where we look at Getting Things Done.

I first learned GTD from a 7th grade teacher who instructed me to write down my daily homework on a simple piece of paper.  I was to track my assignments and then check them off as I completed my work. Not a bad system for a middle schooler, especially since my 7th grade teacher hadn't heard of David Allen, much less a weekly review or mind dump.

Since becoming a teacher myself, I've taught this same system many times over.  Write down one task at a time.  When you are finished with it, cross it out.  Keep your little piece of paper with you wherever you go.  While many students want to go out and purchase something more hip than a piece of lined paper, simple is good and very GTDish.

My advice to helping young people practice GTD:

  • Encourage super-simple systems. Avoid PDA's and Blackberry devices and stick to a simple notepad and pencil.

  • Preach, one thing at a time. Especially during homework time or when your child would rather be doing something else, the ONAT (one thing at a time) rule still applies.

  • Reward list making. Kids are great at making Christmas lists and wouldn't David Allen approve of getting something out of your head and onto paper?  Cultivate this skill throughout the year.

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