Getting Things Done - GTD

GTD: What's your next action?

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez Tags Capture Clarify Engage List Management

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As GTD followers, we start writing or collecting in a trusted place all the things we think need to be done. A trusted place is one that allows us to view and retrieve this information at any time; it can be a notebook, a computer, a website, etc.

Later, we decide what to do with them, that is, we process them. Here we realize that some of these things don’t require any action; we toss them to the trash because they are worthless, or we keep them on a someday/maybe list because now is not the right time, or we store them as reference material if it’s interesting information. In any case, we don’t need to think about them anymore, so we can forget them.

We also realize there are other things that will require just a few-minutes action—make a call, send an email, read an article—. Wonderful, we can do them immediately, and also forget them.

So what remains after this riddle? Well, the most important, the actions we have to do, our tasks. And we have these actions divided into 3 lists that help us to focus every day on what is important:

  1. The calendar is made up of actions that have to be made on a specific date. You must think about this list as something sacred. It isn’t just a calendar with lots of things you want to do; that doesn’t work. If there isn’t a particular date to do an action, you don’t have to put it on the calendar. There are no preferences or priorities here, you must do everything, simply. Try to accomplish the tasks in this list as soon as possible, earlier in the day.
  2. The next actions list contains the rest of the actions you have to do, those that don’t have a specific date assigned. Which one should you choose? Well, the one which best fits the context in which you are, the time available you have ahead, your energy and mood at the moment, and the relative priority of the task. If an action of this list must be done on a date, assign it a reminder and move it to the calendar.
  3. The waiting for list contains tasks that you’ve delegated because you are not the right person to do them. However, you are the responsible one. You should review this list every day and make sure everything is progressing.

Managing properly these 3 lists is essential to stay organized and productive. How do you do? Would you add anything?

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