GTD Workflow Diagram

Here’s something I put together using Lucidchart. It’s a neat little webapp that allows you to create relatively robust diagrams for free.


The beauty of Evernote is the ubiquitousness of its importing ability.

  • You can forward (or redirect) emails from whatever address you want to a dedicated Evernote email address.
  • You can scan documents as jpeg or pdf files and drag them into Evernote. If you really want to go paperless, something like Doxie has a small profile scanner that automatically imports into Evernote. There is even a wireless version to toss in your bookbag!
  • Brainstorming can be done as plain text files in a new note, or you can free form on paper or a whiteboard and snap a picture. If you’re handwriting is decent, Evernote has a strong OCR engine to make all handwritten text searchable.
  • If you use any of the myriad of RSS readers (Reeder for iPhone is my favorite) there is either a dedicated Evernote button, or again, use the Evernote email address. Extensions like Clearly for Chrome let you strip a webpage down to it’s essentials before getting it into Evernote.
  • On that note, the Evernote webclipper (for all browswers) lets you save webpages directly.
  • Skitch has an autosyncing service for importing screen-grabs. You can even annotate them first.
  • Many file types, including Microsoft docs and powerpoints, can be attached to notes and their text becomes searchable.
  • Another great trick is to open a new note and click the audio recording button and just start talking. That’s about as hands free as I get when I have an epiphany while driving.

From there, all these modalities are sitting in your inbox. Next, choose whether they’re actionable. If not, tag them as best as you can (much better than relegating them to one notebook) and put them in your digital filing cabinet (a notebook I call Online Cabinet). If you can remember any word or phrase, that note and its attachment is only a search away.

Perhaps it’s just an idea you’d like to make an action item one day. Tag it “Someday”, perhaps set a reminder, and let it marinate. These are the more esoteric things like “Learn to Widdle” which is a webclip of a website giving a step by step guide. One day, I would like to make that a hobby.

If the item is actionable, it may be part of a multistep project. If no project overview note exists, create it (More on that in another post). This new item then becomes an action item  for that project. If it’s just reference material for a project, put a link to it on the project note. Now all material and action items for a project have a central note to work from!

Perhaps the item is a quick “2 mins or less” item. Just do it!

If it takes more than two minutes, or it has to be done later, or someone else can do it, tag it appropriately (and schedule it in a calendar if there’s a date associated). Maybe you’re waiting to hear back from a program director you emailed saturday afternoon, give it a “waiting” tag. Maybe you want to apply to an AMA council, but the applications don’t open for a month. Tag it “scheduled”, and place a reminder.

I use two action item tags, “Next” and “Later”. I move things from Later to Next as needed, and I make sure to at least get my Next items done.

Seriously, there’s a book to be written on this stuff (Oh wait, it has been written), but the actual implementation has to be your own. Hopefully this chart has given you some ideas, and as always, I love feedback.

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2 comments on “GTD Workflow Diagram
  1. DanGTD says:

    For implementing GTD you can use this web-application:

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

    • Mark says:

      I like the idea. I think that programs that utilize the underlying functionality of Evernote (like those that use gCal, apple reminders, etc.) are better able to meet the needs of a specific system for some people. You are sacrificing open functionality for specific concerns (and may actually be introducing new functions) and that works for you. The reason I love Evernote is that with a little fanagling, I can utilize every aspect of GTD with one system agnostic program. Keep up the good work though, you will definitely get converts!

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