Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

New to GTD: Doubts about collecting and processing.

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • New to GTD: Doubts about collecting and processing.

    Hi, I am new to all this, just finished reading the book and I have a few doubts, I was hoping someone can help me with.

    Whilst it seems clear hot to do the initial collection and processing, throw everything in, process everything in order, I am not so clear on the day to day working of it.

    I get that I should always, at all times, have a way to write things down so they go on my inbox but:

    1) Should something still go in the inbox even if I need to/can do it as it comes up?
    At some point I thought maybe yes, in case I end up not being able to do it just then and that it should still be somehow processed, even if it is a very simple action? (Someone writes me an email to remind me it is someone else's birthday). Maybe this is not a good example because at that point I'll be processing my email inbox and that is a less than 2 minute action but maybe I am told by SMS..

    2) When should the processing take place? How often? I think all my inboxes should be down to 0 whenever I process and there should not be half processing? So, should I process when I know I have a gap to process everything that has gone into my inbox? What happens if meanwhile one of the things that went into my inbox needed to be done already?
    Presumably it isn't a very good practice to just remember about it and go ahead and do it? I mean because then I am still trying to hold things in my head as opposed to relying on the system?

    Sorry if all this seems a bit too basic and thank you for any help with it

  • #2
    Originally posted by kissa View Post
    1) Should something still go in the inbox even if I need to/can do it as it comes up?
    Not neccesarily. You mention the two minute rule, thats one scenario. if someone asks you to pull out a report you have on file, just do it then. You may also decide that even if its a 10 minute job, its best done right then. This is a personal thing, and kind of contra to the explanation in the GTD book. But if you have a cleap map of the days work and know everything that needs doing, and can make a positive judgement call that getting this 10 minute job out of the way would benefit all concerned, then do it. I often do this where someone else's job is being held up until I get this task out of the way. The potential pitfall is that the line between doing that and simply chasing after the first bit of work that comes your way, the busy trap, is mighty thin.

    The other scenario I can think of is that you know exactly where it needs to go in your system. if someone at work says to me that we need to buy a computer for a new staff member, that goes straight onto my project list. No point adding to the inbox then taking it out again, it may as well go straight onto the list.

    The inbox is just there because sometimes you dont want to have to even spend the 10 seconds thinking about where it should go or what it means.

    Originally posted by kissa View Post
    2) When should the processing take place? How often?
    As often as you need, I would say. Personally I always hit zero at least once a day, preferably more than once. But it totally depends on the day. If I'm putting on a large event and we're receiving lots of guests, organising speakers, expecting food and its one of those 12 hour hectic crazy days, why bother adding even another minute by processing my inbox/tray. I wouldnt be able to do anything else anyway, so it sits until tomorrow. On the other hand if im at my desk all day, may as well keep it clear before it builds up, so I spend 5 lots of 3 or 4 minutes instead of one lot of 20 minutes.

    RE the fear that there's something lurking in there, there's a few thinks that Iv noticed about myself. The first thing is that doing GTD over a period of time really does reduce the amount of fires. Your system can never be 100%, since you cant predict the future, but a good weekly and maybe monthly review is about peering eagle-eyed into the future and trying to see what obstacles are on the way. Checking out your job description, business plan, the news, financial arrangements and so on can all produce thoughts about problems you might not see looking at the runway.

    The next thing is to have a relationship with people where they know not to send things by email and expect instant replies. If they need an urgent answer, call or SMS. If you have a good relationship with your colleague, just tell them you only check emails once a day. They may think your eccentric of course, but thats never bothered me. (eccentricity is the great British tradition)

    Oh and if you cant get to the bottom of your inbox in one go, dont worry. A bit of work is better than none, and as long as you come back to it then no problem. No system can be completely current. As soon as you do a single next action on your list, your system is out of date. The idea is that it stays current enough to support your job, not that your job becomes maintaining the system itself.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks

      Thank you, that is very useful

      British eccentricity is quite ok with me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by kissa View Post
        1) Should something still go in the inbox even if I need to/can do it as it comes up?
        ...
        2) When should the processing take place? How often?
        To number one, it depends. You may decide not to interrupt what you are doing so it goes in the inbox or you might decide that it's easier to just do the action then. The choice depends on your context and energy and priorities of what you are doing. All of those make more sense if you are doing the weekly review regularly every week.

        As to number 2... Personally I process several times during the day and spend on average about an hour a day processing stuff. I do not get my inboxes to 0 every day and certainly not every time I process. Instead if I have a few minutes between stuff I may try to process a few e-mails, or a few of my notes. One rule is every night I toss in any unprocessed notes from my little carry around notebook into my inbox and every morning as I am drinking my coffee and checking the weather I process my paper inbox or at least all the notes from the night before. Reason is I've discovered I often think of things at dinner when hubby & I are talking that may have to be done next day or started the next day. I process those notes before they have time to get stale and while I can perhaps recall the conversation as my handwriting gets worse the faster I try to write.

        Comment


        • #5
          But if you are looking through your inbox without getting it to zero, won't that mean you are half processing some items more than once? Or at least looking at them and leave them to be processed later?
          Or you mean you start with something and everything you pick up you process but you might not get through the whole pile?

          Comment


          • #6
            "Half-processed" = "not-processed".

            Originally posted by kissa View Post
            Or you mean you start with something and everything you pick up you process but you might not get through the whole pile?
            Yes, you should avoid "half-processing" because "half-processed" is "not-processed".

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kissa View Post
              Or you mean you start with something and everything you pick up you process but you might not get through the whole pile?
              I pick up one item and fully process it. I may not finish the inbox but what I picked up is usually done. Yes, on occasion I know that I just can't face the thinking required for something so I will very rarely put an item back in the inbox and take something else out to process but only maybe once a month or so does that happen.

              Comment

              Working...
              X