Basics of GTD

Processing

This stage is about identifying each collected item, and deciding what you are going to do with it, if any action is required. This will provide the basis of your personal organization. For each item you need to ask yourself two questions:

1. What is it?

It is not a silly question. Some items are obvious, as “do the shopping”, but many of them will need you to spend some time to determine what they exactly are and what actions will be required, if any (e.g. “read the new privacy policy of the company”).

2. Is it actionable?

If the answer is no, there are three possibilities:

  1. If it’s no longer needed, it’s trash.
  2. If no action is needed now but something might need to be done someday, incubate it somewhere you will check periodically.
  3. if it’s potentially helpful information, file it as reference material.

If the answer is yes, first you have to establish what the next action is and then:

  1. If the action will take less than two minutes, just do it.
  2. If you are not the right person to do it, delegate it to the appropiate one.
  3. If you are the right person and the action will take more than two minutes, defer the action by adding it to one of your “next actions” lists.

As things are processed, they are removed from the inbox, leaving it empty in the end.