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There is no secret to getting organized so you can be more productive. Productivity is actually quite simple. All you need is a trusted system. It must be easy to maintain and use, of course, so that your system doesn’t eat up your productive time. But that’s it. Once you have a system, you can stop worrying about what you have to get done and just do it.

The hard part is that you actually have to use the system all the time, which might take some adjustment. Fortunately, there are easy-to-use systems like Getting Things Done and its counterpart for email, Inbox Zero. Since many people struggle to adopt even simple systems like Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero, I have distilled both to the absolute essentials and the shortcuts I developed are included in this guide.

Once you have adopted a system, you can spend your time getting things done, not putting out fires.

In this guide you will find a basic overview of Getting Things Done and Inbox Zero. It will be enough to get you started on both systems, although you will probably want to pick up a copy of Getting Things Done to read when you can. If neither system is for you, keep reading. I have also included two dead-simple shortcut systems for tasks and email that will make you more productive even if you never get into Getting Things Done.