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GTD Verbs

GTD Verbs

One of the more powerful, yet easily-missed lesson from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done (GTD) is his call to verberize tasks and projects–all the while recognizing the subtle differences between the verbs for each.


Before we go further, let’s get clear on a few definitions. Verberize* is the act of beginning each task reminder with a specific verb describing the physical next action and/or embedding within each project reminder a general verb describing the desired outcome. A task is a discrete step. And a project is a set of discrete, interconnected tasks.

Single-Step To Do Verbs

When you play the following single-step verbs out like a movie in your mind’s eye, it’s easy to conjure up a picture of exactly what the specific action looks like. They’ll leave you poised for action when you use them to cue up a task reminder.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

  • Book
  • Brainstorm
  • Buy
  • Call
  • Copy
  • Discuss
  • Draft
  • Edit
  • Email
  • Fill out
  • Find
  • Gather
  • Load
  • Outline
  • Print
  • Purge
  • Read
  • Record
  • Register
  • Research
  • Review
  • Schedule
  • Update (single-step)
  • Verify
  • Wait For
  • Write

Multi-Step Project Verbs

When you play these multi-step verbs out like a movie in your mind’s eye, however, you get stopped because the verbs describe a desired outcome rather than a specific next step. There are several ways to picture a path of smaller verbs to get you to the finish.

  • Analyze
  • Complete
  • Decide
  • Design
  • Ensure
  • Finalize
  • Finish
  • Handle
  • Implement
  • Install
  • Launch
  • Look Into
  • Maximize
  • Organize
  • Research
  • Resolve
  • Roll Out
  • Set Up
  • Update (multi-step)

You can feel the difference, right?

Language is certainly one of the keys for how to track tasks at work. I hope you’ll find these GTD verbs useful for how to keep track of tasks and projects and to understand the difference.

* Verberize is Marie’s word, not David’s.

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