As Simple as Possible but No Simpler

David Allen has a saying that your trusted system should be “as simple as possible but no simpler” and while that may seem strange there is real gold in that statement.

When I first started GTD I tried elaborate systems of using folders in email and categories in Outlook  Later on when I migrated to Evernote, I implemented an elaborate system of tags.  These systems tried to capture every possible situation.  I even applied this approach to my calendar and physical folder system.

What I came to understand is that the drag or friction required to process my stuff led to procrastination and ultimately falling off the GTD bandwagon.  Once I reread Getting Things Done and Making it all Work and the concept of making my trusted system as simple as possible but no simpler really sunk in.  Then I was able to simplify my trusted system to a point that capturing, processing, and doing became almost frictionless.  It was like second nature to me.  There was really no need to think when I was capturing or processing.

My advise to people who are getting started with GTD or are trying to get back on the bandwagon is to simplify, simplify, simplify.  Less is more when creating your trusted system.

About Michael Keithley

2 Responses to As Simple as Possible but No Simpler

  1. Pingback: GTD Anchor #1: Reference Filing | RestartGTD

  2. Dan says:

    For implementing GTD you can use this this application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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