Published in the year 2001, Getting Things Done is authored by David Allen. In the year 2001, the world was still new to the prospects of the internet and its abilities. People had access to the internet mostly in their office. Very few people considered using a computer at home and even fewer people had phones which offered access to the World Wide Web.
Offices were still trying to identify ways in which all the tools made available by the internet could be effectively used.
Email services were very crude and they offered very less in terms of organization. People knew very less about the functionalities of the email services and sorting them constantly was messy. People who had worked for years without email had to suddenly handle their work as well as their email box.
If they were using other tools like creating presentations for their projects, then they had to learn about these new tools and make sure that they were effectively used too.
Back in those days, offices also had a very different approach towards productivity. Employees had a difficult time trying to use the new tools made available to them on the computer and to continue their work productively. A nine-to-five job started extending into longer hours because employees found it difficult to get everything done within the designated time. A lot of employees were also constantly under the pressure of taking their work home, or they ended up thinking about the pressures at work even when they were at home.
Everyone was yearning for some secret formula that can simplify their usual business day. Even businesses began to notice the loss of productivity among employees and were concerned about finding a way that can benefit the employee as well as the company. Productivity became the talk of the day among most business entities. Managers, team leaders and employees were hoping for some kind of light at the end of the dark tunnel of growing job responsibilities.
This is when Getting Things Done made an entrance. It was perfectly timed.
People immediately reached out to this amazing methodology that managers and leaders started talking about. Companies got curious when they got to know that there was finally a solution for the growing concerns about productivity. Business owners started asking managers and leaders to implement this new methodology and given the fact that it approached the organization in a very methodical way, it was suitable at that time.
Managers passed on their knowledge to the newly hired employees and many of them found this unique way of organizing things to be helpful in getting started with a job that needed them to be highly productive. Everyone from business owners, bloggers and even board executives preached GTD.
Now that automation isn’t as difficult any longer and internet tools and mobile apps happily organize everything, people are less appreciative towards a methodology that requires rigorous effort in terms of making lists, creating contexts for those lists, moving items to someday/maybe where they can exist till they can finally be achieved, and reviewing all of these lists at least once a week to track items that need to be done and lists that need to be updated.
This is a generation too engrossed in social media – a generation that gets by easily with getting apps to organize their ‘things’. The clutter of the mind no longer represents work that needs to be done or is out of place and needs to be looked into; it is now filled with memes, selfies and mobile apps. GTD has probably lost its relevance in this generation, but its principles continue to be of essence in organizations, many of the mobile apps that serve as organizers and lots of training programs that are focused on productivity.