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GTD Mastery 100 Series

The 50 or so readers of my original blog, ttGTD, know that my original intention for blogging was to document a student’s journey of completing the GTD Mastery 100. This series of posts will do just that.

This will be the anchor post to reference my completion of the steps in 100 other posts.

The Basics

1. I have read Getting Things Done from front to back.

2. I have a calendar, which is always on hand.

3. I use my calendar for appointments and day-specific items only.

4. I have a physical inbox, which I use daily.

5. I have an email program, set up the way I want it.

6. I have voice mail, set up the way I want it.

7. I always have a way to capture ideas and get them out of my head, in all contexts (notepad, laptop, voice recorder, etc.).

8. I have a place or places to keep Next Actions lists, accessible in the right context.

9. I have a Master Projects List.

10. I have listened to GTD on audiobook.

11. I have a list for tracking “Waiting For” items.

12. I have lists for tracking “loaned out stuff” and “stuff I’m borrowing.”

13. I have a folder marked “inbox” on my computer for downloaded files.

14. I have a tickler file or reminder system in place which is fun and fast to use.

15. I have a paper file system which is fun and fast to use, perhaps using an automatic labeler.

16. I only have physical actions on my Next Actions lists—no multi-step projects.

17. I have a weekly review scheduled for each week.

18. I maintain a “Someday/Maybe list,” and regularly review and update this list during daily and weekly reviews.

19. I have dedicated physical office space set up.

20. I have all the office supplies I need (p. 92).

21. I have mobile office space set up, if needed.

22. My computer files are set up for maximum productivity.

23. I attend a weekly productivity group centered around the GTD methods.

24. For the first 6 months of implementing my GTD system, and often thereafter as needed, I keep a GTD journal in which I write a “how’d I do?” update nightly.

25. I review my notes from my GTD journal weekly and monthly to keep myself improving and on track.


26. I have been using the GTD system consistently for 3-6 months.

27. I have read Getting Things Done twice or more.

28. I have listened to GTD on audiobook so much I can impersonate David Allen’s voice with an eerie accuracy.

29. I consistently follow up on “waiting for” items.

30. I consistently follow up on “loaned out stuff” and “stuff I’m borrowing.”

31. I consistently clear out my email inbox to 0 every day by 5pm.

32. I consistently clear out my physical inbox to empty every day by 5pm.

33. I consistently clear out my voice mail every day by 5pm.

34. I consistently clear out my computer folder marked ”inbox“ daily by 5pm.

35. I consistently clear out any other “inboxes” (e.g. voice recorders, notepads, etc. with unsorted “stuff”) every day by 5pm.

36. I always do my weekly review, scheduled for the same time weekly.

37. I have no unsorted papers anywhere besides my physical inbox, project files, and reference files.

38. I have a file cleanout day scheduled in my tickler file or calendar for once or twice a year.

39. I have my other altitudes specified (p. 200), and I update them at least quarterly, with a reminder in my tickler file or calendar.

40. I reconnect with my higher altitudes at least weekly, usually daily in the morning to keep me inspired.

41. My Master Projects List is regularly updated at least weekly.

42. I often do a preview at the start of my day, and a mini-review at the end of my day.

43. I am familiar with the major GTD online tools and their strengths and weaknesses.

44. I have found online and/or paper tools that work best for me and my GTD system which I use every day.

45. When clearing my inboxes, I start at the top and take each item one at a time until it is processed (instead of skipping around to what’s easiest).

46. I am familiar with mind mapping, and either use software or paper to do mind maps when useful.

47. I know the 5 steps of the Natural Planning Model by heart (p. 56), and use it for personal project planning and for facilitating meetings.

48. I know the Threefold Model for Evaluating Daily Work by heart (p. 196), and refer to it often during the course of the day, or do so intuitively.

49. I know the Four-Criteria Model for Choosing Actions in the Moment by heart (p. 192), and actually work that way, or I have found something that works even better.

50. I have experimented with GTDGmail or some other productivity enhancing email software, and found what works best for me.



51. I have been using the GTD system for 6 months or more, every day.

52. I am subscribed to GTD Connect and have listened to much of the material there.

53. I have listened to the 43 Folders podcasts with David Allen.

54. I have coached 3 people in successfully implementing GTD into their lives.

55. I’ve read David Allen’s other book Ready for Anything, and several other books on personal productivity.

56. I get into a flow state when working about 1/4 to 1/2 of the time now.

57. I don’t ever carry anything in my head that could be put into my system, and many times during the day I download ideas, next actions, and projects to my lists.

58. I have read Getting Things Done at least twice, and used it so much for reference it is dog-eared and has notes on almost every page.

59. I always return phone calls within 24 hours, usually within 2-12 hours, with none lost or forgotten.

60. I respond to all emails within 24 hours (usually much sooner), and none get lost or forgotten.

61. When I put something into my inbox, I completely trust that it will get done…or I know why it’s not getting done and am comfortable with it.

62. When I commit to doing something for someone, I completely trust that I will do it…or I’ll let them know ahead of time why I can’t complete it.

63. That low-level anxiety I used to feel around my “stuff” and my work is completely gone.

64. My mind is like water, clear and calm, and I never think about anything I don’t want to more than once.

65. My paper filing system is completely up-to-date, always.

66. I am the most organized person of anyone I know, by far (except other GTD-masters!).

67. I never drop the ball on any project or task.

68. I can’t remember the last time something “fell through the cracks” in my system.

69. I get frustrated with people who drop the ball on things, because I honestly can’t understand their perspective anymore.

70. I get regular coaching from someone with at least 4 years experience with GTD.

71. I am familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the GTD system because I’ve read and studied other productivity systems.

72. My system is automatic and almost never requires discipline or will to follow through.

73. I can clearly see how my daily work connects all the way up and down my altitudes.

74. I am so productive and clear that new creative ideas are bursting forth like never before…and I have a way to capture them and make them real, if I choose to.

75. I can always say no with integrity, because I always know what’s on my plate and what’s important.


76. I have been using the GTD system for 12 months or more, very consistently.

77. My system has been squeaky clean for over 6 months.

78. My system has gone through several evolutions, changing tools as needed to improve productivity, adapting to my life appropriately.

79. I have coached over 10 people in successfully implementing GTD into their lives, who have sustained their systems for over 6 months.

80. I easily arrive at all appointments 10 minutes early, well-prepared, with a calm and peaceful mind.

81. I am usually in a flow state when working.

82. I never drink caffeine or eat sugar anymore—my work naturally energizes me.

83. I don’t work with people who let things drop through the cracks anymore, unless I absolutely have to, or unless they are my GTD coaching client.

84. I am known for consistently under-promising and over-delivering on my commitments to others.

85. I exercise regularly according to an intelligent plan that is best for my body and is leading towards ever-improving health, strength, aerobic capacity, flexibility, and overall fitness.

86. I get up at the same time early every morning, right when my alarm goes off, and immediately enter the GTD flow, with relaxed focus.

87. I have a regular spiritual practice, scheduled daily or weekly, which I consistently follow.

88. I have a list of books for personal/spiritual/career development which I consistently burn through, perhaps by scheduling reading time at regular times of the day or week.

89. I regularly try out new productivity tools, but only when there is a real need, not for the sake of “productivity pr0n.”

90. When I commit to something, it’s as good as done, no matter how hard or how many steps it will take.

91. Project planning and mind mapping are as easy and automatic as breathing to me.

92. I’ve delegated or automatized many of my regular errands, to the point where I rarely do errands anymore.

93. I’m surrounded by people who are as productive as me.

94. I have several mentors who are orders of magnitude more productive than me, whom I meet with regularly.

95. My living space is like a zen temple—everything accounted for, everything purposefully and consciously attended to.

96. My office space is meditatively state-changing—people regularly comment on how peaceful they feel when they sit at my desk.

97. I could, if I chose to, make a comfortable living teaching personal productivity—I have people asking me about it constantly, without me saying anything first.

98. I could write my own book on productivity…or maybe I already have.

99. I tend to reach my goals earlier and with greater ease than expected.

100. Work—and life—is ecstasy, bliss, pure joy.

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9 Responses to “GTD Mastery 100 Series”

  1. Wow, are you really going to try for 100 posts on this?!? Because I think that you should, it’d make a great e-book someday, 5 months from now. I downloaded this a while back, and I am now at a score of 56 out of 75.

    21/25 for the Basics (no audio book, no GTD-specific Journal)
    17/25 for the Intermediate (again, no audiobook, I clear my Inboxes at the end of my “Day”, and my higher-level thinking is Monthly for now)
    18/25 for Advanced (Not a subscriber or personal coach – but I have 400+ readers that I help!)

    Not doing too bad, looking to do better. Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Heya – as a mature age student who’s supremely messy and disorganised, the blog you guys have created is a fantastic find. Just wanted to say thanks for that.

    Albert | UrbanMonk.Net
    Modern personal development, entwined with ancient spirituality.

  3. Chris Y. says:

    I’ll certainly try because Step 100 sounds really nice =)
    It won’t be 100 posts exactly because some of the concepts overlap (e.g. 54 & 79).

    Glad we could help.

    @Both of you
    Very nice looking sites, +2 to the blog roll =D

  4. I admire your ambition! Best of luck with it. For reference, if you need an alternative that’s shorter and (IHMO) more applied, check out this post – I use it do diagnose areas for improvement with clients:

    GTD Workflow Assessment/Tips Checklist

  5. Chris Y. says:


    I had your list on my posted on my bulletin board above my desk. I can proudly say I checked off that list =D

    Thanks for the well wishes with the 100 steps. I hope to have it completed by this time next year.

  6. [...] GTD Mastery 100: Step 7 [Gearfire Productivity] To read my complete journey to GTD Mastery see the main post. [...]

  7. [...] Chris Y. at Gearfire Productivity is working towards GTD Mastery by posting on how to implement each of the 100 items on the GTD Mastery 100 Checklist. As part of my personal development program for 2008 (more on that later, maybe next week) I have been inspired to go through the list and start working on the items that I have not yet checked off. [...]

  8. [...] toward GTD Mastery, I will keep a GTD journal to monitor my [...]

  9. jessie says:

    hi! just passing by thru entrecard. i noticed some errors in your WordPress database. i just want to let you know. thanks.

  10. [...] maintain the GTD Scoring in the Book of Days for the month of February to continue the work towards GTD Mastery. I will add to [...]

  11. [...] maintain the GTD Scoring in the Book of Days for the month of February to continue the work towards GTD Mastery. I have been 100% in keeping my GTD journal scoring, this Sparkline shows the progress this past [...]

  12. [...] maintain the GTD Scoring in the Book of Days for the month of February to continue the work towards GTD Mastery. I have been 100% in keeping my GTD journal scoring, this Sparkline shows the progress this past [...]

  13. Jorge says:

    Good luck on completing this interesting project Chris.

  14. Chris Y. says:

    Thanks Jorge. I’m about 1/2 way there. The posts will follow.

  15. Duff says:

    How cool that you are really going for it. I wrote that list a couple years ago, in a creative flurry and never thought it would become as popular as it is.

    I can’t wait to read all of your posts. Fun!