GSD: An alternative productivity acronym

Me: What’s the hardest thing about tackling certain projects or items on your to-do list?

(If you have a list, I think I know what you’re going to say.)

You: Getting started.

(If you don’t have a list, I think I know what you’re going to say.)

You: I should probably have a list.

(Yup. That’s what I thought.)

If you’re without a list, make one now. Do a brain dump. It is exactly what it sounds like. Jot down all things big and small that need doing. You can make category/project headings, or dump away. The list can be tidied up later if tidy makes you happy, but for now the key is to get everything out of your head and in one place for prioritizing, planning, and trying out a new acronym!

If you’re like most people I know (present company included), you might wait for inspiration or the “perfect” moment. You wait until the calendar reveals some open time, emails have been answered, dishes are put away, and celestial orbs are aligned just so.

And just when time and space  appear, the messiness of life, a distraction, or (forgive me for saying so) an excuse thwarts your much anticipated action. Other tasks or errands leap to the front of the queue. Hosting an impromptu dinner sends you shopping for a additional groceries. You find yourself racing off to the kids’ school for a meeting that somehow didn’t make it into the calendar. A bottle of milk gets knocked over.

Delays or postponements can nudge to-dos further into the future. Why? Some things take longer than  anticipated, vital physical and informational pieces are missing, priorities and deadlines shift, or traffic literally gets in your way. There’s also the reality that plenty of to-dos are uninteresting, difficult, annoying, boring, or less than inspiring despite being necessities.

Here’s a little secret about to-dos that may come as a surprise: they have all the patience in the world. They are happy to sit around with their friends and wave their little arms when you glance in their direction. “Hey, over here! Do me next!” They will wait as long as it takes until you’re ready give them attention, cross them off the list, and send them on their way.

What does it take to make them disappear? Time, focus, and determination? Yes, yes, and yes, plus a dash of absolute readiness as expressed by a couple of clients in the form of a simple declaration: “I need to get shit done.”

With all due respect to David Allen’s Getting Things Done® GTD methodology to productivity, you have to admit that “getting shit done” GSD* methodology has a little more chutzpah.

In other words, GSD* provides the attitude and mindset to empower you to grab your list by the bullet points and do whatever is necessary, inspiring, or in your way right now.

*Note: It’s hard to avoid confusion with GSD’s benign expletive-free sibling “getting stuff done.”

Debra Baida is the owner of Liberated Spaces.
  1. Harriot Baida

    This was a surprise. My new list was done earlier today, it’s short, but necessary stuff Great article


    • deb

      Glad I can still surprise you, and happy to learn you’ve got a new list going. I’m on the verge of a new list.
      p.s. Imagine my relief to finally get this written and off my to-do list.

  2. Linda Easton

    I have missed you! This says it all. Personally think that Getting Things Done is so complicated that it is NOT the way to get shit done so good for you!
    p.s. Don’t miss NAPO-SFBA though….

    • deb

      Great to hear from you, Linda! I miss you, too, and hope you’re doing well.

      Allow me to say this: like GTD, GSD is not for everyone, but when it resonates and works, then a sweet spot has been found.