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  • Inboxes empty ... now what?

    I just started implementing the GTD ideas, but I'm having a block about what I should do next. I have my inboxes empty (!) and that feels good, but now I have well-organized piles, and I just can't get my mind wrapped around the direction I should go next.

    My calender items are all taken care of, so I don't have concerns there...

    My desk has several piles based on the contexts suggested in GTD under Organizing As-Soon-As-Possible Actions by Context. I have a pile for Office, a pile for Someday/Maybe, a pile for Read/Review, Computer:Work, Computer" Home, Calls, Errands, etc.

    A few of the piles are quite intimidating...!

    Does each pile get it's own list? Can each pile be broken down into multiple lists? (For instance Computer: Work could have a Customer Service list, Documentation list, Web training list, etc.)

    I also have a pretty thick "Projects" list, and I suspect some of the "pile" items could/should be moved there too.

    But right now my biggest question is how to make the piles on my desk disappear...! Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  • #2
    Originally posted by davehultin
    My desk has several piles based on the contexts suggested in GTD under Organizing As-Soon-As-Possible Actions by Context. I have a pile for Office, a pile for Someday/Maybe, a pile for Read/Review, Computer:Work, Computer" Home, Calls, Errands, etc.p=
    Create a list, subdivided by context, and put each of those items on that list. This is your Next Actions list. File the pieces of paper.

    What are those items for? If you have several items relating to Web training, then "Complete Web Training" is one of your projects. If you have several items relating to a document you're creating, "Finish Document" is one of your projects. Add these to your list of Projects.

    These paper items should be support material for your Next Actions and Projects lists. File your paper. (Or put them in a tickler file if that's necessary.) Get all of your paper into your filing system. You'll be able to retrieve any of it within seconds if you need it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by davehultin
      I just started implementing the GTD ideas, but I'm having a block about what I should do next. I have my inboxes empty (!) and that feels good, but now I have well-organized piles, and I just can't get my mind wrapped around the direction I should go next.
      Does everything in each of your "context" piles have a next physical action associated with it? If not, you now have well-organized inboxes! Getting-it-out-of-the-inbox really means that you've decided the desired goal for each item, and figured out the next step to get towards that goal.

      If that's all done, review what's appropriate for your current "context" right now, , and do whatever has the most of your attention. (Or in a recent blog entry from The David, do what has the most leverage.

      His question: "What on the list, if completed, would positively affect the most things of importance in my world?"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Brent
        Create a list, subdivided by context, and put each of those items on that list. This is your Next Actions list. File the pieces of paper.
        Originally posted by ericlechner
        Does everything in each of your "context" piles have a next physical action associated with it? If not, you now have well-organized inboxes!
        Thanks both of you! I'm able to take something from both of your replies to get me past the block that was holding me back. I think I was getting spun around because the piles often had multiple elements of a project masquerading as a individual next actions. Now I am broadening the scope of some of my projects and taking some things out of the piles in more logical groupings in order to support the projects. That should leave me with ONE next action per project, and I think that's the key.

        Each item in the pile had a next action, but too often I discovered that I was attempting to work on too many parts of a project all at once.

        Now I'll quit tapping my keyboard and get back to Getting Things Done...!

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