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Top 10 GTD® Mistakes


I’m a GTD master trainer. And I’ve been practicing GTD since 2008.

I’ve coached Entrepreneurs, Venture Capitalists, CEOs, CFOs, Lawyers, Movie directors & Priests.

Here are the top mistakes I keep seeing. Plug a hole in a few & you’ll see your productivity shine 🌞

Not getting INs to zero

You might be capturing ideas and writing things down.

But are you regularly getting your INs to zero by clarifying them?

If not, then your mind won’t trust your GTD system.

Remember clarifying is not doing. It’s just getting clear what the work is.

Not clarifying the next action

This is the #1 reason why people procrastinate.

They write down “File Taxes” on their list. But that’s not the next physical visible thing to do.

The next action is usually a Call, Email, Discuss, Buy, Research.

Clarity drives action.

Projects list is not current

This is probably the most difficult list to keep updated.

People resist because it forces you to get clear on your larger commitments.

Maintain it well and you’ll get a sense of control week to week.

Not looking at your someday/maybe list

Out of sight is out of mind. An active someday/maybe list will give you the freedom to park commitments for later.

But without one, they’ll linger in your mind or get stale on the projects list.

Not taking out time to plan

There’s a surprise coming at you.

If you don’t take time out to plan your work, you’ll not be ready for the surprises.

Take out 20 mins a day to clarify your inputs.

Putting everything on the calendar

Don’t use your calendar to park all your commitments. Else you’ll not have the flexibility to move things around.

The calendar is ONLY meant for date & time-specific actions/information.

The rest goes to your Next Actions list.

Taking too long to do the Weekly Review

Somethings wrong if the Weekly Review is taking > 1.5 hours.

The idea of the weekly review is to get a birds-eye view of your commitments and update your system to make it current.

Don’t use Weekly Review time to clear your backlog.

Not look at your lists

If you’ve done the hard work of capturing, clarifying, organizing… it won’t benefit you if you don’t look at your lists.

By looking at it regularly, your mind learns to trust your GTD system to track open loops.

Investing in tools and not habits

I’ve been guilty of this.

Fact: The tool is not as important as building the right habits:

👉 Capture what has your attention
👉 Clarify what it means
👉 Organize it where it belongs
👉 Reflect regularly
👉 Engage make a trusted choice

Addiction to stress

The biggest barrier to people practicing GTD is their addiction to stress.

Remember GTD is not just about Getting Things Done. It’s about being fully present with what you’re doing.

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