Tuesday, August 28, 2012

GTD and Genealogy? Yes!

Getting Things Done aka GTD is a productivity methodology outlined in the best-selling book by the same name. The books author, David Allen, presents the concept and steps to organize your life for stress-free living.

The Five Stages of Mastering Workflow, covered in the book are:

  1. Collection
  2. Processing
  3. Organizing
  4. Reviewing
  5. Doing
I've been working toward GTD nirvana for six months now, which I understand is nothing. It's not uncommon for people to spend a year or more getting their system "down" so that it becomes routine. 

I've read the GTD book once and listened to the audio version as well. I follow GTD blogs, listen to GTD podcasts and participate in GTD groups on various social media platforms. To date, my GTD application has been at work. However, the more I look at the five steps, the more I see this workflow applying to genealogy research.
  1. Collection - gathering all your "stuff" into one place. Documents, photos, books, emails etc.
  2. Processing - what do you need to do with the "stuff"? Scan it, read it, file it, share it?
  3. Organizing - if you need to read it, where does it go? if you need to scan it, do you have a scan folder? Do you need to scan it before you read it? What is the next step?
  4. Reviewing - What needs to be done first? What is your next action? Does it need to be a project? If you have 4, 500+ pg county histories to read...that may need to be a project.
  5. Doing - Scan it, File it, Read it
Isn't this what we as genealogist do? I think David Allen is a closet genealogist! I wonder if he knows it? I would love to hear from any other genealogists who have applied GTD to their research process.


  1. I'm definitely going to have to get this book now, Jenna! I'm sure I could benefit from it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. I hadn't heard of this book before Jenna. Thanks for the heads up. Sounds like a great way to accomplish goals, whether genealogy related or not.

  3. I'm going to see if my library has this. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Jenna,

    I want you to know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/05/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-may-17-2013.html

    Have a great weekend!

  5. Thanks for the comments everyone! I've read the book and listened to the audio version as well. It can be a little overwhelming at first but just remember, you don't have to do everything he says. I have a "hybrid" method I follow.