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  • Before getting started ...

    Hello Folks :


    I just finished the GTB Book, and I'm looking forward to implement it, but before that I want to make sure I trully understand the GTD process to certain "reasonable" detail (it sounds, based on the forum feedback, that practice makes perfect ...), so I have two main doubts related with the general concepts of GTD :

    - How often should you process the "in" basket (including you email inbox) ? The GTD Book explains quite good the process from the start, but I feel it is not clear "how life should be after that start" : the review process seems to be the prefered place to empty the "in" basket once a week, but it doesn't provide suggestions on how often to process the incoming things on the "in" basket for latter processing ... should this things wait a week for attention ? Should I start processing / organizing daily or when time is available ? Does it makes sense ?

    - Difference between PROCESSING and ORGANIZING : is a bit confusing still to have both phases of GTD separated : is it critical to manage ALWAYS both phases of the process separated ? do they tend to mix when you manage the process regularly or that is not the best practice ? if so : why ? What should not be done as part of PROCESSING that must be addressed in ORGANIZING ?


    Thanks in advance for any feedback.


    Arturo

  • #2
    Originally posted by amartin
    Hello Folks :
    Greetings Arturo!

    Before I insert my comments, I want to say that it is important to remember that GTD is not a rulebook for living; rather, it is more like a playbook (as used in sports) in that it defines the general structure of things, and some variation is to be expected. That said....

    - How often should you process the "in" basket (including you email inbox) ? The GTD Book explains quite good the process from the start, but I feel it is not clear "how life should be after that start" : the review process seems to be the prefered place to empty the "in" basket once a week, but it doesn't provide suggestions on how often to process the incoming things on the "in" basket for latter processing ... should this things wait a week for attention ? Should I start processing / organizing daily or when time is available ? Does it makes sense ?
    As often as is required to get it off your mind. At work, my e-mail client is on at all times, and I process as soon as I see a new e-mail. I decide right then whether the e-mail is actionable or not, and if it is, whether I can do, defer, or delegate. If defer or delegate, it becomes either a project or a NA (entered into a list). Same thing for the "in" basket.

    At home, I process the "in" basket at my convenience. Unless there's something urgent or taking up mind space, I try to address the home "in" basket at a time that does not take away from my family.

    By addressing my "in" box in a timely fashion, it assures me that I am either aware of all the important items for my attention, or that the important items are on my Project/NA lists and will be seen each time I scan those lists.

    My understanding is that the weekly review is the chance to collect/processs/organize all the loose ends that may have accumulated during the week; essentially an opportunity to regroup and re-focus. I don't think you'd want to store up a week's worth of input before processing. After all, it'd be on your mind all week - and that's what you're trying to change

    - Difference between PROCESSING and ORGANIZING : is a bit confusing still to have both phases of GTD separated : is it critical to manage ALWAYS both phases of the process separated ? do they tend to mix when you manage the process regularly or that is not the best practice ? if so : why ? What should not be done as part of PROCESSING that must be addressed in ORGANIZING ?
    I'm a little confused, since I didn't really think of organizing as a phase as much as it is the action of placing an item into the right collection bucket (read/review, trash, reference, NA, project,etc.). I guess I view processing as deciding where an item goes, and organization as actually placing the item in that place in the appropriate fashion. For example, if an item is deemed reference material, then either add to the appropriate folder or start a new one. If an item is deemed a project, then add to the projects list and consider what the possible next actions are - and enter that on the list.

    I hope this helps. Try not to get too hung up on getting the system perfect on the first run out of the gate. You will undoubtedly change the implementation details along the way as you tailor the system to your needs.

    Matthew

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    • #3
      Thx a lot for your comments, Matthew. That was helpfull !!!

      Saludos

      Arturo

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      • #4
        Originally posted by amartin
        - Difference between PROCESSING and ORGANIZING : is a bit confusing still to have both phases of GTD separated : is it critical to manage ALWAYS both phases of the process separated ? do they tend to mix when you manage the process regularly or that is not the best practice ? if so : why ? What should not be done as part of PROCESSING that must be addressed in ORGANIZING ?
        After you get your organizing buckets set up, 'process' and 'organize' will be one step. This is because after you set up your organization, you'll know immediately where to put next actions, projects, calendar items, tickler items, reference items, etc. You will open an envelope, decide what to do with it (process), and place it where it belongs (organize) in one "step." So no, in practice, process and organize are not necessarily separated.

        I think that for the purposes of the book's discussion, process and organize were best separated because there is a lot to know about each, especially for disorganized people like myself. On the flowchart on p. 120, the bold boxes and arrows are the decisions of processing, while the boxes on the perimeter are the basic buckets of organizing. Then the chapter on organizing elaborates on all those buckets with a lot more detail. When I first read the book, I had virtually no organizing buckets set up, so the detail was helpful for me to get started.

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        • #5
          Note: This is just my perspective.

          Originally posted by amartin
          How often should you process the "in" basket (including you email inbox) ?
          "Should" is a tough word to address! But I recommend that you process your Inbox whenever there is material in your inbox, and you have time to process it. That's a worthwhile goal, in my mind.

          My inboxes spend most of their time empty. It's unusual for an item to stay more than eight hours in my work inbox, for example.

          Difference between PROCESSING and ORGANIZING
          As andersons pointed out, processing and organizing tend to merge. However, they are conceptually separate: Processing is the act of deciding the action that needs to be taken with an actionable item. Organizing is the act of placing an actionable item in your organizational system. Organizing can involve manipulation of your system -- you may need to add a folder to your files, for example. That's not part of Processing, however.

          In my experience, Processing is a purely mental, creative exercise. When processing, you are deeply thinking about the consequences of an actionable item. On the other hand, Organizing is a mostly physical exercise. It involves reviewing your organizational system to see where the item belongs.

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          • #6
            Thx a lot for all the comments ... a lot clearer to me now !!!


            Saludos

            Arturo

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