Basic GTD: Evaluate your Daily Work
According to The Threefold Model for Evaluating Daily Work defined by David Allen, a person may be held in one of these three types of activities at any time during a normal workday (1):
Defining the work. It is the time spent to process your inbox to determine what work needs to be done, and to organize and review your lists.
Doing the work as it shows up. When you have a lot of work unprocessed and out of control, it is easier to engage in the urgencies of the moment than to deal with your inbox and open loops. There are many people caught in this type of activity, to the detriment of the other two.
Doing the work as it arises is tolerable only if it is your choice, that is, if you know what you are stopping to do, in return. For you to choose properly it is necessary to process your inbox regularly and constantly review all your lists.
If you choose systematically the urgencies of the moment, without knowing what you are not doing, you will enter a spiral of frustration and stress. Besides, if you don’t clarify your own work regularly, some of the actions you have not checked properly in your lists will become new urgencies later.
Emergencies, crises and interruptions are unavoidable. The challenge is to feel confident about what you have decided to do. When an unexpected work shows up, you should assess how important it is against all the rest.
1 This article uses the word work in the broadest sense—as always in GTD—, to mean anything you have committed to do, whether personally or professionally.