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GTD and non-paper stuff???

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  • GTD and non-paper stuff???

    How do GTD practices and principles apply when you are processing a large group of (mainly) non-paper items, and you don't know how homogenous the stuff will be until you start? This is a project like clearing off a counter or cleaning out a closet that leads to more projects, etc.

    Do you put things into a neat pile before you start?

    Do you remove anything that is trash first or just do that as you process?

    Do hunt through everything and pre-sort into piles according to some rubric like to whom it might belong or what room it is supposed to be taken to or some other action you need to take? How do you keep track of what the actions are? Or do you sort as you encounter each item, just one item at a time?

    Do you write down your projects or actions as they occur to you?

    When do you enter these into your system?

    Most of the things that have accumulated were placed there because of any of the following:

    Need a more accessible "home"

    Someone wnats me to take an action.

    I want someone to take an action.

    they were put there as a reminder of an action I plan to take (glue back together, sew buttion, buy a similar one, get a refill, etc)

    I don't know what they are or to whom they belong.

    They need to go into a different container for storage and then a place found.

    They need to be reduced in quantity, or checked (batteries), condensed or combined.

    I need to get someone to help me with it.

    If it is paper, it is usually somethng I want to refer such as directions or guidelines at a particular time or in general.

    I need to make a decision, such as where it goes?

    I would like very much to know how people who are a little more logical, practical, or facile with GTD, might approach these accumulations.

  • #2
    I toss it all into one big pile. I then process the pile using GTD-like principles, such as "Is it trash?" and "Is it part of a project?"

    Any physical object that won't fit in a physical folder goes into one of my closets, each of which are pretty clearly defined by function. I have one closet for house cleaning stuff, blankets, and occasionally-used kitchen appliances. I have another one for office supplies. And so forth.

    Does that help?

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    • #3
      That is helpful.

      Thanks for sharing.
      That helps, I needed to be reminded of having closets with particular purposes. Some hard edges on those functions (and clear labels, too) would help me.

      I am wondering however, as you go through the pile if there are things to be done to the item or in regard to the item, do you make a note and put in in your In Box or do you go directly to your context lists with a Next Action? Maybe your stuff only needs to be put away.


      I am not yet sure of the relative merits of one item at a time from a big pile versus pawing through to make smaller piles if it is obvious what they might be, and then processing.

      Also is it advantagous to decide on categories and label collection containers in advance, albeit temporarily, according to where the item goes or to whom it belongs or any actions that should be taken (e.g., repair at home, take to hardware store, put in hook for hanging, etc.).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
        I am wondering however, as you go through the pile if there are things to be done to the item or in regard to the item, do you make a note and put in in your In Box or do you go directly to your context lists with a Next Action? Maybe your stuff only needs to be put away.

        Also is it advantagous to decide on categories and label collection containers in advance, albeit temporarily, according to where the item goes or to whom it belongs or any actions that should be taken (e.g., repair at home, take to hardware store, put in hook for hanging, etc.).
        If I'm quickly putting paper in my inbox to be processed, and I'm not fully certain what I should do with it yet, I will often put a post-it on it or write in the upper right-hand corner, if I already know something about it. For example "check if numbers accurate" and it goes in my in-box. Or "file bank" and it goes in my outbox. Then when I process, it goes quicker. I don't always attached a note or comment. At that point I will not stop to sit down and record a next action in my system. If I'm actually sitting and decide to process my inbox, which I need to do daily, I will then create a next action or delegate it or file it or trash it, etc.

        When I'm working on "organizing" a box of papers in a closet, I will create presorting areas, which I can put away for future processing or put away properly. I don't like to have piles of paper or stuff anymore that I need to do xyz to. I put that away and pull it out when my NA calls for it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
          ...as you go through the pile if there are things to be done to the item or in regard to the item, do you make a note and put in in your In Box or do you go directly to your context lists with a Next Action?
          I go directly to my context lists with a Next Action.

          Maybe your stuff only needs to be put away.
          In which case, it just gets put away. It depends on the stuff.

          I am not yet sure of the relative merits of one item at a time from a big pile versus pawing through to make smaller piles if it is obvious what they might be, and then processing.
          Depends on the person. I'm more psychologically willing to attack a large pile of stuff than a bunch of smaller piles. I'm likely to avoid the less pleasant small piles.

          I'm suspicious of pre-sorting something that needs to be sorted away anyway. That amounts to two sorting steps per item. Why not sort each thing only once?

          Also is it advantagous to decide on categories and label collection containers in advance, albeit temporarily, according to where the item goes or to whom it belongs or any actions that should be taken (e.g., repair at home, take to hardware store, put in hook for hanging, etc.).
          Depends on the stuff. Depends on the amount of time you have. Depends on your personality, and your emotional reactions to your stuff.

          There is no GTD Police. If pre-sorting works for you, do it. It won't make the GTD process fall apart.

          Does that help?

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          • #6
            just looking for "best practices"

            All the responses help! I know there are are many ways, just trying to hone in on methods that really make the tedious and demanding more efficient and less unappealing!

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