I come from the software industry, where David Allen’s Getting Things Done system of “stress-free productivity” is quite popular. Software types are continually looking for that extra edge in efficiency. GTD related techie blogs such as LifeHacker and 43Folders evolved into major destinations for the productivity obsessed.
As we first started studying law offices when creating Rocket Matter, I was struck by the lack of GTD adoption in legal circles. I thought it would be a given. I mean, here’s an industry where time is literally money. Furthermore, if you miss a deadline you can be sued, or even worse, have your license revoked. Literally and figuratively, law firms have a ton of i’s to dot and t’s to cross. And in a typical law practice, there’s a lot of balls in the air at once, so it’s very easy to miss something.
This week Rocket Matter will take a deep look at David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system of productivity and personal organization. Used by C-Level executives, and highly popular in creative and high technology disciplines, the GTD system helps practitioners achieve high levels of efficiency and lower levels of stress.
What is GTD?
The popularity behind GTD is its stark simplicity, especially when compared to other forms of organization (i.e. 7 Habits). The whole system revolves around:
- * Capturing information and getting it out of your head.
- * Creating an actionable plan of concrete next steps.
- * Organizing your next action items in a logical and workable manner.
- * Deciding what to do, delegate, or defer.
- * Reviewing your projects and next actions on a regular basis.
We’ll explore these concepts over the next week in detail. But the core idea is to transform the stress-causing “stuff” (and Mr. Allen has a specific definition of “stuff”) floating around in one’s psyche into recorded, concrete next action items, placing them in context, and reviewing them continually.
Key idea: Getting Things Done is highly correlated to Getting Things Out Of Your Head.
The cool thing about the system is that it doesn’t force you to get a Filofax, or use a specific software program. Any systems that allows you to review and capture your thoughts and put them into working order will do. So GTD systems are as high tech as new software or as low tech as a stack of 3×5 index cards.
And Rocket Matter, with it’s highly flexible task and categorization features, combined with headache-free billing, is a perfect vehicle to implement GTD for lawyers.
Tomorrow: A look at why and how a lawyer should adopt a GTD system.
Links: “What is Getting Things Done?” from David Allen’s website.