Basic GTD: How and why you must collect everything
Collecting is the first phase of your personal organization system, in which you try to collect all your incompletes and stuff in one location: your Inbox (not to be confused with the e-mail inbox).
When you start implementing GTD, this phase can take a few hours, but once everything is working, it is just about throwing to your inbox everything that shows up, in the moment it shows up.
The main reasons for gathering everything before processing, are practical:
- It helps you get an idea of the volume of stuff you are dealing with.
- It lets you know where the end of the tunnel is.
- When you are doing other things, you will not be psychologically distracted by an amorphous mass of stuff you have somewhere.
The most common error is not to collect something because “it is not so important”. Something that is not urgent when it appears the first time can become urgent after a while if you do no pay adequate attention to it. But the best reason to collect everything is well represented in this sentence:
“You can feel good about what you’re not doing, only when you know what you’re not doing.” ~ David Allen
The objective in this stage is to get everything into the inbox as quickly as possible:
- It is a good practice to record the date of collection in each element, as a reference.
- If you know immediately that something is useless, just do not collect it. If it is something physical, throw it away.
- If you are unsure, collect it and you will decide what to do in the processing phase.