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  • Implementing GTD - Do I need to "Collect"?

    So I'm new to GTD. I've read the book (Chapter 2 twice) and I've listened to the Best Practices free podcasts (there's one on each phase). I don't have the bandwidth in my life to take two days to focus on implementation. I'm using GTD more for personal aspects of my life - work is pretty simple and focused.

    I've got to admit that while I've always thought of myself as a highly organized person, procrastination has made my world highly disorganized. I've got piles of stuff everywhere. So I don't see the point in collecting "stuff" - it's already there, it's just that my whole family room is like a giant Inbox. Ditto other areas of my life. So my strategy has been to pick up stuff, one pile at a time, and process it, as much as I can at once, usually while watching baseball. I am collecting new stuff, especially ideas, that need to be processed later, but that's a small part of this effort.

    So far, so good, but I've heard DA and other coaches comment that the best way to start GTD is specifically to get an in basket and start collection, rather than what I'm doing. Am I missing something? Could I multiply the effectiveness of my efforts?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I didn't do the two-day thing. I started carrying around a notebook for GTD and gradually shifted my organizing systems into it over a number of weeks and months, as things came up.

    You might want to do this: Set up a physical inbox. Write on a sheet of paper "process piles of stuff in family room" and put it in the inbox. Then process that: i.e. maybe get that written as an action on a context list or scheduled on your calendar or something, so you can empty your inbox. Or you could identify each pile of stuff in the room and write several separate sheets of paper e.g. "process pile to left of door" etc. Then, think about whether you have any other "stuff" elsewhere that hasn't been collected.

    Or, you could get several physical inboxes and slip one under each of the piles in the family room. Then you can say that your inbox is actually several physical inboxes. The advantage of doing this is that it clarifies which things are in your inbox and which aren't, and might also help to overcome inertia in starting to process the piles.

    You might want an actual physical inbox, usually empty, in case urgent stuff comes up.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by DavidB View Post
      So I'm new to GTD. I've read the book (Chapter 2 twice) and I've listened to the Best Practices free podcasts (there's one on each phase). I don't have the bandwidth in my life to take two days to focus on implementation. I'm using GTD more for personal aspects of my life - work is pretty simple and focused.

      I've got to admit that while I've always thought of myself as a highly organized person, procrastination has made my world highly disorganized. I've got piles of stuff everywhere. So I don't see the point in collecting "stuff" - it's already there, it's just that my whole family room is like a giant Inbox. Ditto other areas of my life. So my strategy has been to pick up stuff, one pile at a time, and process it, as much as I can at once, usually while watching baseball. I am collecting new stuff, especially ideas, that need to be processed later, but that's a small part of this effort.

      So far, so good, but I've heard DA and other coaches comment that the best way to start GTD is specifically to get an in basket and start collection, rather than what I'm doing. Am I missing something? Could I multiply the effectiveness of my efforts?

      Thanks!
      Most people don't have what they need to Collect all corralled in one place that resembles an Inbox. If you already do, including EVERYTHING that has your attention (including off your mind), then dive right into Process. Start with one at a time, going through the GTD Processing questions. It can usually help to start with what most has your attention.

      I would encourage you though to go through the Collect process anyway. I bet you have things in your family room that is not an Inbox, but is actually Reference, Equipment, Decoration, or Supplies (think "REDS"). Those stay where they are. If I thought my whole family room was an Inbox, I sure would be overwhelmed too.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by DavidB View Post
        I've got piles of stuff everywhere. So I don't see the point in collecting "stuff" - it's already there, it's just that my whole family room is like a giant Inbox. D
        Personally I'd suggest setting aside a table or countertop or spare bedroom or something and start moving all the piles of stuff onto that one single location and call it your inbox. As you pick up a pile to move see if you can EASILY (as in less than 2 minutes) toss some of the stuff into the trash. If you have to stop and think AT ALL then call it collection and put it in your location.

        Reason is there are probably hundreds of things in your family room that really aren't stuff to be in your inbox.

        I think collection is absolutely vital and the more piles you have the more important it is to find one place for your new inbox, even if it's boxes of stuff that you process as backlog.

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        • #5
          Another thing that might help is to spend a bit of time building your organization.

          I believe I heard this on a Kelly podcast, that while the Book says to start with Collection for some of us it's a good idea to build at least the skeleton of an organization system early on. Processing is HARD if you have to ask, well, where would I put this for each item.

          Since I'm an inveterate packrat/borderline hoarder, I totally relate to your problem. My wife has been the cure. I think clutter actually talks to her: "Denise, I'm sitting here on the table...put me away...I'm getting old and moldy...clean me up." I don't hear those piles talking at all!

          My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to consider a very simple paper system to start. I'd build just a few contexts (maybe "home", "work", "errands", "computer"?) and the incredibly essential Waiting For and Someday/Maybe lists. Waiting For saves my cookies on a regular basis.

          You might consider, when "digging out", making a "Home Urgent" and a "Home Later" list since you could really easily end up with 250 action items and it can be discouraging (been there done that.) Also Home Urgent gives you a place to put the "Oh my Lord I totally forgot that" items that might pop up and derail you.

          Also I do like the alphabetical file system he recommends and a labeller is for some bizarre reason really cool and helpful. Why? Who knows? And for a doctor I have quite good handwriting. But the labeller helps.

          It's a good trick to get a bunch of Office Depot bank boxes and number them as backlog, and put a "process box #3" etc into your lists. Warning from an experienced procrastinator: it's just as easy to procrastinate a box as a pile, maybe easier so make them "bite sized" so they don't exert a magnetic repulsion on you.

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