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Processing Best Practice

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  • Processing Best Practice

    Hey everyone! I'm new to these forums and relatively new to the GTD system.

    I just got through the GTD book and I was a little confused about the processing>organizing stages.

    Once you have your system up and running, what is the best method of emptying your in-boxes. Do you run through it and put actionable items in a pending file until you get through with your inbox, or do you process each item and put them into a list before moving onto the next one.

    For one reason or another, I couldn't find the best practice within the book.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Jay

  • #2
    Process each item completely before moving to the next. Pending files are the path to madness. All you've done with an unprocessed Pending file is re-label your Inbox.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Thanks for the quick reply!

      Do you find yourself performing seperate processing/organizing actions for each of your collection 'baskets' or do you collect all 'in' items and dump them into a master in basket to process everything at once?

      Thanks again,

      Jay

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      • #4
        I agree with Katherine. You should process each item completely.

        Process means follow the complete GTD logorithm of "do it ,or delegate it, or defer it, or drop it..." There is a flow chart in the book you will have seen already.

        "Defer" in the algorithm means you decide exactly what you will do, but defer the action to a future date (in calender, tickler file or whatever).

        There is the added issue of where you put the supporting material for this action (say the bill to be paid, or the invite to be replied to). If the action is part of a project you can put it in a project folder containing other project support materials. If it's a one off action with no project or a small project you can't be bothered to have a folder for, then you can have a folder or tray for these general items. I have a tray for these general support items under my inbox tray. It works fine unless the number of items in it gets large. This seldom happens in my case but it might be different for you.

        Good luck.
        Last edited by tominperu; 03-15-2007, 12:19 PM.

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        • #5
          Having written the above I realise that "defer it" in the book actually means either put it in the calender/tickler or put it on your action list. Meaning you defer it to a date in the future or to "as soon as possible" .

          I think the rest of what still holds true.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jayx773 View Post
            Do you find yourself performing seperate processing/organizing actions for each of your collection 'baskets' or do you collect all 'in' items and dump them into a master in basket to process everything at once?
            I work at home, so I really only have three collection baskets -- a physical inbox, my email, and my voice mail. Notes I take when away from my desk go into the physical inbox for processing.

            I generally process my physical inbox in one chunk, and my email inbox in another. That's primarily because I relax the 2-minute rule significantly for my email inbox, and can therefore spend an hour or more actually answering most of my actionable email. If I did that with the physical inbox too, I'd never get done.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              I process each inbox separately.

              For some reason, I'm much better at processing my email inbox than my physical mail inbox. My email inbox has been at zero almost uninterrupted for months now.

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