Stress-Free Steps to Getting More Things Done

Be productive in your day without unwanted stress and anxiety with these tips from David Allen, author of Getting Things Done.

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The 2-Minute Rule That Helps You Stay Organized (1:22)

If your to-do list gives you anxiety, you're not alone. David Allen, author of Getting Things Done has a new approach to helping you make the most of your day without stress.

Step 1: Capture

Capture anything that requires your attention for the day and write it down. It's important to get tasks out of your head as quickly as possible to clear up mental space.

Step 2: Clarify

Break down your to-do list into actionable steps, so that there is no barrier to getting the task at hand done. If there's anything you can do right away and have the time to do, get it out of the way. If there's anything you can delegate to someone else, then do it.

Step 3: Organize

Once you've decided on the action - park reminders in a place that you trust, sticking items in appropriate categories. Think of this as quality time with your to-do list so it doesn't overwhelm you as you start to execute it.

Step 4: Reflect

Take a step back and look at your to-do list or calendar. Make sure you're staying in touch with your commitments and can see everything from a bigger picture and higher perspective.

Step 5: Engage

Now it's time to get to work. Figure out what exactly you're going to do and where you're going to put your focus right now.

Step 6: Follow the 2-Minute Rule

As soon as you realize the next action or step to take on anything you want or need to do - and you can do it in two minutes or less - do it now. It's more efficient and practical to do it in the moment you think of it then to keep track of it, review it, and do it later. This doesn't mean spending your whole day doing these little tasks; just try to incorporate this as a habit when going through your day. Things like cleaning up your purse and clearing the kitchen counter will give you an amazing boost in productivity and good feelings during the day.

Step 7: The Weekly Review Habit

The only way to stay on top of your world is to build into your routine an hour or two to catch up with all the "stuff" that has emerged or changed in the last couple of days, in addition to checking in with yourself about your upcoming schedule. Don't let the day by day of life create a backlog for you for more than a week, you need to make sure you're looking at things from an elevated perspective rather than running around and dealing with the loudest and latest stuff. This can be challenging because it's easy to feel like you're too busy to stop and take a moment to catch up, so try to make it a ritual by creating a time and place where you have uninterrupted space, such as early in the morning before your family wakes up. Staying healthy requires regular regrouping and refreshing and this weekly review will help with just that.