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When are you done collecting

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  • When are you done collecting

    I have created an inbox stack on my desk. How will I know when I'm done collecting and ready to start processing?

    For the last few days I'm still collecting, and trying to find 2 ply folders. Staples has reinforced tab folders, but no 2 ply folders.

    If collecting is an on-going process then when is a good time to stop collecting and start processing?

    My mind is never empty and my office and house have more things in them than I could enumerate in a few hours.
    Last edited by gtdlater; 05-01-2007, 03:40 PM. Reason: I forgot a question mark.

  • #2
    When you die?

    While collecting is an ongoing process there are two types of collecting. First is the two days that David recommends you set aside for "getting started". The second is the day to day collection you do as an on-going process.

    The purpose of the first two days is to get at least 80-90% of your stuff collected. You probably won't get it all and deciding when to stop is probably a personal choice you'll have to make based on your own intuition. The stuff you touch day to day and that is front and center on your mind is the stuff you should collect first. Get most of that down and into IN for processing.

    It's okay to look at "stuff" (stuff being an "amorphous blob of undoability") and having your gut tell you that since you haven't touched that box in the garage for three years there probably isn't anything urgent in it. Which means "Collect box in garage" might go on a someday maybe and it's okay to put some mental yellow police tape around it. It still probably takes up some of your mental/psychic energy so it should be collected and processed at some time, but at least you've told your brain that you've renegotiated that agreement with yourself and "Collect box in garage" isn't on the next action list for this week. You'll re-visit it next week and that's good enough...

    The pile of "stuff" front and center on your desk is not a place to stop. However, somewhere between these two you can draw a line and move forward with processing.

    The second kind of collection happens daily. When you take notes you are collecting. In the very near future you'll need to process those notes. How you do that is up to you. I try to collect and process at the same time. It seems to be the most effective way to GTD but I'm not always able to do so.

    hope this helps.


    • #3
      Yes that helps, thanks.

      Last night I collected a lot of stuff. Eventually my intuition told me to stop because I was really tired.

      Most of the stuff consists of sheets of paper. Even after collecting enough stuff to process for 3 hours I still thought of 24 more things.