Getting Things Done? How about “Getting Something Done”

There’s a lot of talk about GTD around the net — one of the sites i check often is 43folders, a great site for productivity discussion .. er.. obsession.

I’m realizing the one strategy I’m forced to use quite often, for good or bad, isn’t really a self-monitoring strategy like those promoted by the GTD crowd. It’s more of a philosophy in approaching a problem or project. I really believe in getting SOMETHING done.

See, GTD is more of a way to organize yourself to make sure you get everything done that needs to get done. GSD (Getting Something Done) is about forcing something productive to come out of what you’re working on. For some reason, I find that meetings about a specific task become brainstorming sessions about topic B, when they need to be about how to best accomplish one of topic B’s subgoals.

I find that a really good strategy is to attempt to bring focus back on the desired, smaller, subgoal. In other words, “Ok, all those ideas are nice, let’s talk about how we get this done”

Sometimes, I’m confronted with the enemy of “Getting Something Done” – the idea that it has to be done right the first time. Of course, for some tasks, you do them right once, the first time. However, software projects without a definite spec really can’t be done that way. Yes, it’s a very good thing to have a spec for some projects, but for a lot of things, you don’t get that — even in ideal situations. For example, when developing a new product that’s NOT a cookie-cutter business application, you’ve got a lot of features in the group’s collective head, and you’ve got TONS of ways of putting the pieces together.

I find that throwing everything aside and just getting SOMETHING done is a really good tactic. It gets you something people can see and use, and you get real feedback, rather than ideas tossed around in a meeting.

I guess, in the software world, what i’m saying is that early semi-functional prototypes are good, because you can iterate on them. And, even if you throw everything away, you’ve got a MUCH better idea about 1) what you actually want done and 2) how to do it.

Generalized, this idea becomes Getting SOMETHING Done, because something is better than nothing.

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I'm a software engineer in New Orleans interested in making things, growing things, big fast computers, media convergence, and pugs.

-28 thoughts on “Getting Things Done? How about “Getting Something Done””

  1. I agree with you and I write a bit about this in a backstory I wrote up just before I released a set of applescripts to help mac-users integrate all of their files and programs into David Allen’s GTD workflow. One of the things I mention in the backstory is the “Downside” of lists and the Power of One-At-A-Time. Most GTD implementations gravitate towards list managers and I’ve found that this often makes my mind “freeze” up between two or more things or just get overwhelmed by the list itself. That’s why I’ve tried to take the One-at-a-time principle David Allen suggests for getting the inbox to empty and apply that throughout my entire GTD workflow. That’s why I designed these applescripts because I realized that I needed the leverage that one-at-a-time would afford me. The scripts may not be a solution for you but you may like to read the backstory I wrote up for them in relation to this post of yours on “Getting Something Done.”

    You can read the backstory here:!/RSD%20Backstory.html

    Todd V

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