GTD Cafe: Surpising Moments of GTD Clarity


Each Wednesday The Daily Saint hosts the GTD Cafe, focusing on David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology.

I want to have a t-shirt made with one line of text: do one thing at a time.  It's become gospel for me and it just won't go away.

One thing at a time flies in the face of multitasking, which has finally been outed.  More and more folks are realizing that the habit of doing one thing at a time is not only the best solution to working smarter but perhaps the only one that makes sense.  I've posted on this very habit several times and it seems to come up again and again. I've also come to see that it's the handmaid of another practice- next action thinking.


Some times in the past week, surprisingly small, when one thing at a time has showed up:

  • Laundry on the stairs- rather than ignore it, pick it up and bring it to its final destination

  • Mail left on the kitchen table- toss it or put it in the in box for later processing

  • Dishes in the sink- definitely something to delegate!

  • Toys left in the yard- get the kids to practice stewardship and put them away prior to bedtime

  • Blog post still in draft mode- schedule a time later in the day to get it done

  • Kids want your attention right now- drop what you're doing and tend to their needs, however small they may be

  • Deadline looming at work- cut out the unimportant stuff, close the door and get in the zone for 30-45 minutes

  • Commuting and phone- use extreme caution here as phone talking while driving is tricky business

The surprising effect of doing one thing at a time is that it brings tremendous clarity and gets "stuff" out of your head.  If you act on the folded laundry that's on the stairs, you'll never feel guilty about walking past it.  If you tend to your kids-coworkers-spouse-friends in the moment, you'll never say "If I had only spent more time with..."  It's truly an act of being aware of the present moment and then getting the most out of it.

Resources for the Road
Cell Phones and Drunk Driving
Stress Tip Video: Do One Thing At a Time
Zen Habits: The Habit of "Do"

Quote for the Road
The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.
Tom Peters