Mixing GTD with ZTD

Yesterday I got a great tweet-question about GTD and ZTD from@raymondu999

@E5ter ah. Alrighty then!! Thanks for your info 🙂 Which one do you use by the way? Is #ztd flexible enough to let you use #gtd programs? which I answered with:

#ztd #gtd Sure! I am using GTD http://wp.me/pKD06-1v and I tweak it with ZTD. Going to make a blogpost this week to explain.

In my last post I told you all about my GTD-system; today I want to address my way of blending a zesty hint of ZTD into my good ol’ GTD-system to get that extra tasty productivity melting pot.
In his excellent post Leo Babauta explored the topic GTD versus ZTD but here I want to make clear that it’s not a matter of choosing between Getting Things Done and Zen to Done but that you can have your cake and eat it too :-).

I will explain to you how I do it:

1. Weekly review

First I do my regular GTD-style weekly review and then I add an extra five minutes to it to choose my Big Rocks for the week. Those are the things I really really want to accomplish for the week. This is the way to focus myself, so that my attention doesn’t get spread too thin over all the tasks that are on my plate. n addition you want to make sure that your big rocks are right under your nose the whole week: I use a nifty little pink notebook with a cute ribbon but you could use sticky notes too or put a reminder on your mindmap.

2. Daily review

I think many of you who are already using GTD may have some sort of a daily review as well. The daily review ZTD-style consists of choosing 2 to 3 (or more if you’re a busy bee) MIT’s (i.e Most Important Tasks) for the next day. The evening is a nice time to do that in order to be able to jumpstart your day in the morning. At least one of my MIT’s is part of a Big Rock for the week.
Example:

Big Rocks for the week:
1) scan 20 pages of my rabbit photobook into Evernote
2) write 2 blogposts for Pursuing a Holy Life
3) write 2 blogposts for Inspiration and Productivity
4) prepare Rabbit Circus Training workshop
5) prepare little Lewis my dwarf rabbit for the Rabbit Exhibition

MIT’s for Monday:
1) scan 5 pages of my rabbit photo book into Evernote (for Big Rock 1)
2) go grocery shopping
3) clean the kitchen
4) comb Lewis’ hair and put ribbons in it (for Big Rock 5)


The idea is also to do at least one of your MIT’s first thing in the morning to really get you going before you start checking blog stats, e-mail or cuddling your rabbits.

3. Creating habits

What rhymes with rabbits? Habits! An important addition to GTD is that the ZTD focuses a great deal on habit change, on the doing. You can find Leo’s website on creating habits here.
What I do is take one habit every month, keep track of it in my pink little notebook (I check off the days). For example last month I was trying to ingrain the habit of checking e-mail only twice a day and not before an MIT or task. It takes about a month to successfully ingrain a new behavior; I was very successful and boosted my productivity a lot by this habit during the month of February and further.
You could also form habits for all the stages of GTD, like for example capturing everything on a notepad and tossing it into your in-tray everyday. See my previous blog post for the other stages. Leo wrote a great post on creating habits especially for ZTD too. (See the latter part of his post.)

4. Flowing with the moment

In the GTD Virtual Study Group podcast of January 14 2010, Leo Babauta was interviewed and he shared with us that he’s increasingly letting go of the whole idea of goal setting and live more and more in the present moment. This appeals to me greatly because I have always been struggling to set my goals for 1 year and 3 to 5 year (resp. horizons 30k and 40k from GTD). More about the horizons of focus of GTD another time.

In this age of information tsunami staying in the present moment is extremely precious and wholesome. I think this topic deserves its own blogpost too so keep an eye on my blog.

Conclusion

GTD and ZTD have a great synergy. You don’t have to choose between GTD and ZTD; ZTD has a bit of a different angle and is more focused on the doing, the habit change and focusing on the present moment than GTD is, that’s why they work great for me in combination. And to answer raymondu999‘s question: I use all my good ol’ GTD programs like Nozbe, Evernote and Gmail in conjunction with my pink ZTD-notebook 😉

If you have any questions about GTD/ZTD please take the time to comment below or leave me a tweet. I’d be happy to answer your questions or to discuss the topic.

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4 thoughts on “Mixing GTD with ZTD

    1. hi ravi!

      It is funny you should mention it now! because I have been thinking a lot about changing my approach too lately. I am going to read your post and give you a comment.

      Ester

  1. For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:

    http://www.Gtdagenda.com

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    Comes with a mobile version too, and with an Android app.

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