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Do we really need process what's in the inbox?

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  • Do we really need process what's in the inbox?

    I own omnifoucs, but oftentimes, I just do things from inbox. If it's a big one, then it would take me longer to finish it.
    I don't see why I need to process it when I am not doing it. (and for most to-do apps, you just get inbox)
    so I tried to look answers in his book, David said, it's because if you don't figure it out, it would bug you.
    I don't have trouble forgetting them. I have trouble remembering them. that's why I note them down, and why Apple call its to-do app reminder.
    So, what do you think?

  • #2
    If you really capture everything then you end up with a lot. I have about 120 projects, 250 identified next actions and about 200 items on my Someday/Maybe list. If I left the whole lot in one big list, I would have almost 600 items. That's a lot of stuff to look through!

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    • #3
      This is the essence of the 2 minute rule. You don't have to park everything you process into your lists - if it's quick to get done then just do it and then continue processing. Just remember that if you are spending a lot more than 2 minutes per item (10+ minutes for example) then you are doing and processing at the same time, and that it could be more effective first process and then work from your context lists as that helps you prioritise.

      But there's no law against it Just realise that you may be spending your time working on what's latest and loudest rather than on what's priority.

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      • #4
        If all your stuff is at about the same priority level, then you don't need to spend time
        prioritizing; you can save time by skipping that and just doing, and get more
        done that way.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
          If all your stuff is at about the same priority level, then you don't need to spend time
          prioritizing; you can save time by skipping that and just doing, and get more
          done that way.
          In practice, I haven't put a dedicated time for processing, I just go ahead and use the inbox as a conversation to move things forward.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by enyonam View Post
            Just remember that if you are spending a lot more than 2 minutes per item (10+ minutes for example) then you are doing and processing at the same time,
            Assuming you can actually process an item in less than 2 minutes. As discussed before not everyone has things that are so easily categorized, documented and processed.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
              Assuming you can actually process an item in less than 2 minutes. As discussed before not everyone has things that are so easily categorized, documented and processed.
              Agreed. Whatever your '2 mins' is. If I'm at work and it's processing emails - it's about 5 minutes for me.

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              • #8
                No, you don't.

                No, you don't have to do GTD.

                If you feel that you're stress free and at the top of your game by working out of your inbox then stay with what works. As much of a fan of GTD as I am, I know it's not a one size fits all method for everyone. I wish I did not feel stress if I had a list of 200 amorphous things in my inbox. Or maybe just a list of 20 and the rest of my commitments didn't bother me in my head. But more power to you! You got a very simple system that works, don't let anyone tell you you need to change that!

                Curious though, if that's how you work, why use OmniFocus? Isn't that overkill? If a simple list is all you need, then as you mentioned, the built in Reminders app is good enough for that.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Noel View Post
                  No, you don't have to do GTD.
                  I wouldn't say that Alexander's system isn't GTD. Doing work as it comes up is GTD. Doing less-than-2-minute (or more, e.g. 5-minute) actions out of the inbox is GTD. Maybe doing longer actions out of the inbox is GTD too. GTD is a flexible system that needs to be tailored to each person.

                  Alexander, I have a question for you, though: if something comes up that's extremely important, that has to be done within 24 hours, that you can't do right now, and that you might forget to do, can your system handle that? How would you handle that type of thing? I'm asking because it seems to me that that could be a weak point in your system. One reason to quickly process everything before spending a lot of time doing things is to find the important, urgent things so you can be sufficiently aware of them to be able to do them first.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                    I wouldn't say that Alexander's system isn't GTD. Doing work as it comes up is GTD. Doing less-than-2-minute (or more, e.g. 5-minute) actions out of the inbox is GTD. Maybe doing longer actions out of the inbox is GTD too. GTD is a flexible system that needs to be tailored to each person.

                    Alexander, I have a question for you, though: if something comes up that's extremely important, that has to be done within 24 hours, that you can't do right now, and that you might forget to do, can your system handle that? How would you handle that type of thing? I'm asking because it seems to me that that could be a weak point in your system. One reason to quickly process everything before spending a lot of time doing things is to find the important, urgent things so you can be sufficiently aware of them to be able to do them first.
                    Good question, I 'll quick glance the list rather than process it. you don't have to process it in order to know what is it. and once I pick up the one I am going to work on, that one would serve as a conversation from which I start.

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                    • #11
                      The two minute rule is relative. David Allen came up with two minutes based on his observations as what he saw worked for most people. If taking time to do tasks in five or ten minutes is more effective for you than processing some of those items and you also have the stretches of time to operate in this way, then more power to you. However some things end up being projects with multiple steps and should be processed as such. Meaning they should be out of your inbox. Otherwise youll trip over those items and waste energy looking for whats new in your inbox.

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