Getting Things Done - For Software Developers

I have been using the incredibly simple techniques within Getting Things Done (GTD) to good effect over the last twelve months.

The System

At a high level the system consists of buckets, grouping and a task store. The actual implementation of GTD systems is down to personal preference. Many find their system changes and evolves over time.


Have one or more buckets which act as simple dumping grounds for anything you need to do. My phone, pen and paper and post it notes are the three core buckets I use.

Buckets are where you store anything that takes more than a couple of minutes to do. If something takes less time, just do it there and then. Regularly empty the buckets and assign them to groupings of related items. Example groupings include tasks around the house, work projects, blog items, or items to buy.


Each grouping can then be allocated a priority. Each grouping essentially becomes a mini kanban board.

Grouping is preferred to having one big todo list as different scenarios allows the act of tackling items when the time is right. If you have thirty minutes to spare on the computer, anything that can be done via the PC can be worked on. Likewise if the weather is good, what tasks can I do outside?


I use Trello for the storing of tasks. Trello has the added benefit of being able to assign due dates, notes and comments. The boards also make priorities visible. The more tasks in a column, the more to do and potentially the more attention a certain grouping should be given.

Daily one or more emails land in my inbox after being filtered. These are tasks that need doing within the next twenty four hours. These are simply reminders or tickles to complete a task by a set date.

Day to Day

GTD has been a great assistance not just in software development, but day to day life in general. There is more to GTD but the core system is very simple yet highly effective.

One of the biggest benefits of GTD is the ability to clear you mind. As everything is recorded or waiting in a bucket nothing gets forgotten. Instead you can focus on exactly what you need to be doing at the time.

In part the use of GTD is partly responsible for the growth of this blog from 2014 to present.