GTD – does it get things done?

I have noticed a sort of trend lately – bashing GTD for not Getting Things Done.  Examples are here, here, here, here, and here.

One common theme seems to be that running the GTD system takes too much time, so much in fact, that you don’t actually GET things done.  After all the time running the GTD system, there is no time left for deep thinking, strategic planning, or concentrated project work.

I think this line of thought is missing the while point of GTD.

GTD is built explicitly to clear your mind and your sub-conscious of the nagging, slowing, fogging thoughts that keep us from doing Deep work.  The design of GTD is such that you can make it as complicated or as simple as you need it to be.  You take from the system only the pieces you need, using them to clear your mind of self doubts, reminders, and worry.

I have read the book a couple of times and make use of as much or as little of the theories and systems as I need to simplify my life and clear my mind.  Some weeks or months I get heavy into the ‘system’, and sometimes I hardly use any.

Using more of the system than you need goes against one of the basic founding tenants of the system “Mind Like Water.”  That means in all things, act or react only as much as needed, no more and no less.  Similarly, as Einstein said, “Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

GTD  can’t be blamed for an inability to focus on the deep work – GTD is only a system.  It is up to each of us to make use of the system, not to allow the system to use us.