Crucial Skills®

A Blog by Crucial Learning

Trainer Insights

A First Look at the GTD Refresh

We are so excited to announce the refresh of our Getting Things Done (GTD) course. We’ve modernized the look and feel, updated key exercises, and created a more seamless delivery experience for trainers, regardless of whether you’re facilitating virtually or in person, or leading a blended cohort.

Leading this refresh over the past nine months, I’ve gained new insights about the way all of us work and how to address the growing burnout among people around the world. Skills related to these insights are now included in the updated version of the course.

Here are some insights that I hope help you as well.

Productivity is a team sport. Even small productivity fumbles (drop balls, miss deadlines, fail to make critical handoffs, etc.) can negatively affect team performance. In a Crucial Learning survey, respondents estimated on average that one person who frequently drops the ball can negatively affect team productivity by as much as 24%. If we don’t capture ideas and commitments in a trusted tool (not just our head), it impacts us, and it impacts team trust and delivery. If someone comes to me and asks me to do something, and I commit to do it but don’t write anything down, what message does that send the other person? One of the best ways to show mutual purpose to a teammate is to write detailed notes about their request in the moment. There is no great honor in being a teammate who thinks they take great “mental notes.”

You have to say no to find true focus. You can either use all of your willpower to ignore the ever-growing distractions in your life, or you can work to cut them out. Most people have overcommitted themselves and are in the habit of letting people down or burning themselves out (or both). I’m grateful for what David Allen says: “You can do anything, but not everything.” Those of us stuck in the rut of too much should consider a few realities:

  • There are only 24 hours in a day.
  • You can only do one thing at a time.
  • You can’t please everyone all the time.

When we accept these realities, our tactics change. Instead of saying yes to everything and dealing with the consequences later, we begin to gain courage to say no to things that might seem nice but ultimately threaten our focus on the most important. But this is easier said than done. Saying no is done best when we share our good intent and are specific about the concern (sound familiar for the Crucial Conversations trainers out there?). This might sound like:

“I don’t want to let you or anyone else down. Keeping commitments is important to me. That’s why I want to make sure I can keep the commitments I’ve already made. For that reason, I won’t be able to take on this request.”


“My goal is to be a solid contributor and help the team where I can, but I also don’t want to overcommit myself. If I agree to this, I’ll be at a high risk of dropping something, and that wouldn’t be fair to you, me, or the team. I think it’s best if I don’t commit to this right now.”

With GTD, our goal is to help your learners become more productive and less stressed by doing the right stuff. We’re confident this update will help drive that result even more. Good luck!

To learn more about what’s new in this updated version of GTD, click here.

Leave a Reply