Chris recently wrote a post for Lifehacker about Getting Things Done for students. Check it out!

First off, I have never read David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity that’s the go to productivity organizing method. And from what I’ve talked with Chris about and for how much I’ve read regarding the book around the Web, I do know a few things…


Dealing with bureaucracies is never fun. I’m still surprised no one has found out a better solution for managing everything. The most common complains of bureaucracies stem from too much overhead in relation to the work that gets done. Why does replacing a light bulb require 4 different departments?

GTD, to me at least, feels the same way. Why complicate things with a tickler folder, an extensive filing cabinet, and many other fabrications? (There are important lessons to be learned from the concepts, I just don’t care for the implementation that David Allen suggests.)


David Allen suggests that any GTDer try to minimize the number of inboxes/homebases/HQs. It’s tough to get work done if you can’t check up on all projects all at once. He’s on the right track (and I’m being pretentious). I’ve widdled the my inboxes down to 2: GMail and a PocketMod. Anything that I ever learn or any responsibility I ever receive goes onto one of those.

The Solution

I don’t have no fancy iPhone. Maybe I’m bitter. I still rock my 5-day-battery-life LG VX6100. It’s that phone every Verizon Wireless customer had 3 years ago. But honestly, I realize anything more than this would be a waste. Let me tell you why:

Any hard or soft dates that I receive, I punch into phone. Thanks to Google Calendar SMS, I don’t have to squint at my screen when I get home while meticulously-removing-my-calendar-information-by-hand-because-Verizon-doesn’t-include
a-syncing-program-without-paying-more-than-you-did-for-the-phone. Any meetings or appointments–if I was ever important enough to have them–would be entered into my GCal within seconds. No iPhone-iCal sync (suckas!).

I do keep the GTD mentality close to my heart though. One of the most important things to staying organized (for me) is to write every single G’damn thing down in my PocketMod (or put it in my GCal). One of the key points of GTD is to write everything down. Again, write everything down. One more time: write everything down. Whether it’s as trivial as doing laundry or as important as cleaning up a resume, write it down. Hardcore GTDers will tell you to make the task “action oriented.” Just write it down. If the tense and wording of a task determines whether or not you will actually do the task, organization is not your biggest problem.

Perfect for Students

Most students are still on their parents’ cell phone family plans (don’t lie to yourself, I still am). The love-texting back-and-forth from GCal will be a minimal cost, even moreso if your parents never notice. If not, texting plans are ultra cheap these days. I’ve got 500 or something for $10 a month, which I pay for indirectly through my parents.

If you can’t afford a PocketMod, you probably can’t afford food. Again, if this is the case, being organized is not your greatest priority right now.

Let us know of your own GTD modifications in the comments!