GTD and automation

Have you ever found yourself in a productivity slump? The to-do list piles up and buries you. The never-ending mountain of tasks seems unscalable. So, any attempted progress ends up plunging into feelings of pessimism.

Enter the GTD (getting things done) methodology. GTD is a five-step approach to tackling those ongoing tasks and meeting your goals. The steps are: capture, clarify, organise, reflect and engage.

This GTD methodology doesn’t only apply to meeting your goals. Rather, it’s also an ideal approach to deploying business process automation. Here’s how GTD and automation go hand-in-hand.

GTD, step one: capture

Step one of GTD is to capture everything that you want to achieve or need to get done. This means compiling a list of your to-dos, your ideas, your recurring tasks, your dreams and goals. By bringing them all into one place, you no longer need to think about each task until it’s time for you to do it.

This is also a good way to get started with your automation software. You capture everything you want to achieve. Including, that is, things like recurring tasks, which automation is perfect for.

GTD, step two: clarify

Next in the GTD methodology is to clarify every task, process and workflow that you’ve captured. This means breaking them down into actionable steps — outlining how you’ll complete each task. As a result, when you later come to completing a given task, you already know where to start and what you need to get the job done.

Step two of GTD is imperative for any automation strategy. To automate any task, you need to break it down into a logical sequence of steps. This includes mapping out your desired automated actions and the rules and triggers that will cause them to run.  

By clarifying your processes, then, you start to make the rules that your automation can follow.

GTD, step three: organise

Once you’ve clarified the steps needed to complete each task on your to-do list, it’s time for step three: organise. This means ordering the tasks by priority and sorting them into categories. Where possible, it’s often helpful to assign due dates to bigger tasks.

Step three in GTD and automation focuses on the categories you sort your tasks into. For instance, you might have a repetitive category, and ‘quick and easy’ category, a complex category, and so on. These categories will make it easier to see where automation can slot into your workflows.

GTD, step four: reflect

Step four is the point in the GTD methodology where you reflect on your newly structured to-do list. It’s the opportunity to gain an organised overview of the task mountain you started with. You should use this time to further clarify and organise any tasks with no clear starting point/steps. The result should be a clear plan of what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how you’ll get it done.

Applied to automation, ‘reflect’ involves deciding which categories and tasks you can and will automate. (In whole, or in part by curating automated steps.)

For example, any tasks that you’ve categorised as repetitive or simple are great candidates for automation. This includes parsing and organising email data, manual data entry, document processing, and so on. 

GTD step five: engage

All that’s left to do now is get on with it. The final step of GTD is to engage with your newly structured to-do list. A good place to start is with the quick and easy tasks that you can do right away.

Translated to automation, step five is to engage your software and get it working on your to-do list.

This means taking all the tasks that you’ve identified for automation and inputting their clarified steps into the software. Then, you press go and watch all the repetitive, tedious and simple tasks disappear from your to-do list.

So, the tasks you have left are much more manageable, and you can get engaged with your curated processes and your meaningful work.

Getting things done with automation

Before long, you’ll be working your way through your clarified steps and getting things done. All while running into fewer hurdles to productivity.

And, with automation handling all those repetitive and simple tasks, your workload stays manageable.

Ready to get things done with automation? Get started with a 30-day free trial of ThinkAutomation.