Can GTD Improve Your Handyman Skills?

About two years ago, I decided to become part time mason and install
a paver patio in my back yard.  “How hard could it be?” Or so I
thought.  Pavers, sand, earth and some man power- a piece of cake,
right?  A week later and a new patio had emerged from the rubble.  Just
like that.

This past week, I somehow got the itch to once again to work with
stone, only this time installing a new tile floor on my porch.  Just
like before, I emerged (like the phoenix) from the rubble as did my new
floor.  It looks great!  If you look in the far left corner, you’ll
notice a screw-up but I’m guessing that most readers won’t stop by the

I used GTD to do both of these projects, although I was hardly aware
of it at the time.  Thankfully, GTD is firmly embedded in my
productivity DNA and “works” for me without even thinking about it.
What aspects of GTD did I use?

Project List: I wrote down the materials I would
need, where to get them and when I would purchase them.  I also created
a list of tools that I had and needed to borrow or buy.  In this
project, the tile saw was crucial.

Desired Outcome: I had a clear sense of what I
wanted the porch to look like and worked towards that goal.  Every
detail was arranged so that I could enjoy the porch with some friends
and have a decent cup of coffee at the same time.

Next Action: Each night after I finished my work, I
would look at the porch from my kitchen window, thinking about the next
day’s steps that would need to be taken.

Close the Open Loops: Many weekend warriors have
trouble finishing the job.  Sure, most of it is done, but they feel
that a few details here and there can wait.  And they wait.  Until
their spouse screams at them to finish the darn thing!  My porch
project was simple enough that I could get it 100% done in order to
cross “New Porch Floor” off my project list.

Now that’s GTD in action.
GTDMike StPierre