A quick thought for this fine Friday: Something about the term “Getting Things Done” always bugged me. Now I know what it is. It’s the passive voice.

Instead of the indirect phrasing using the verb “to get”, maybe we really should simply say “Doing Things“. GTD isn’t about getting other people to do things — it’s about you doing things. Even delegation is something you have to actively do.

Or, as Nike said, “Just Do It” (an expression that adman Dan Weiden now says he thought up after reading Gary Gilmore’s last words as he faced a firing squad).


6 responses to “Doing Things vs. Getting Things Done”

  1. The phrase is more about the journey from having things to do to having done them. Part of that is doing the things, part of that is finding the time to do them, prioritising them, and breaking them into smaller things to do.

    It’s semantics and both mean the same thing, but there is a different, and I think appropriate stress, between “making sure things get done” and “making sure things are done.”

  2. I don’t think ‘Getting Things Done’ is passive. Its the action of putting things into their done state. Plus ‘doing things’ sounds crap.

  3. Good thing Grammar doesn’t need convincing. 😉

  4. Yup! They should have named it “being done with it already… jeese!”
    But then I guess people like to know how to get to that state rather than just be in that state.

  5. @felix: Well, in the technical/grammatical sense it is passive. But you’re right, “doing things” is crappy.

  6. “Doing Things” does quite capture the meaning of “Getting Things Done”. I can do things without getting them done.

    What about ‘Finishing Things’ or ‘Completing Tasks’