GTD and Creative Work: Getting Things Written with Antony Johnson

ajohnson.jpg Antony Johnson is a writer who has struggled with staying organized and productive under the weight of the amorphous nature of his job. He gave GTD a serious go, got in too deep, and fell hard. He’s got a pretty detailed blog post discussing how he’s learned from his mistakes and designed his own variation of the GTD system. He also makes a pretty broad statement regarding the oil/water relationship between pure GTD and being a writer.

GTD isn’t designed for people like me. It’s for people who have to carry out many small-to-medium sized tasks during any given day, including the acquisition of new tasks at arbitrary intervals, all of which must be quickly acted upon, delegated or deferred. It’s for people who do lots of different things, in interrupt-driven environments and situations, and need to keep track of them all.

By contrast, writers have a small number of large tasks that require many hours of work, often over multiple separate days, and mainly in a single continuous environment (i.e. We spend all day in front of our computers, which also makes the @Computer context somewhat redundant). Our working days aren’t primarily interrupt-driven, most of us don’t have staff we can delegate to (or receive new tasks from), and frankly we just want to get on with, you know, writing instead of dealing with all this horrible business stuff.

I disagree with Johnson’s notion that writing is just one big task that can’t benefit from GTDs contexts, and he contradicts himself somewhat later in the article by having to track his workflow using a job sheet. But, overall, it’s an interesting look at how a working writer has implemented aspects of GTD in order to make his life easier.

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Getting Things Written