Productivity and GTD

Readings and links, for later

AUTHOR: David Torné

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We go through life as if we were a fishing trawler, sweeping away all we find interesting in the social networks and the web. Knowledge does not take any place, right? Maybe it does not occupy a physical space but it takes time to decide what to do with the collected info. GTD, combined with apps like FacileThings and Evernote, allows us to collect everything, making us insatiable hoarders.

It must be so. Sending stuff to your digital inbox is a lesser evil compared to being seized by a link or by the latest issue arrived by email, and then starting to do things without thinking about how this decision affects your day. Saving it for later is definitely a powerful self-management tool.

But all that stuff is still there, waiting to get processed. If you regularly empty your inbox, you will find a reasonable amount of links each day. You can move it to your Someday/Maybe list, or keep it wherever you store your digital readings (Evernote, Pocket, etc.). If you keep it as reference material or deferred actions in your GTD system, eventually you will have to clean it up. Otherwise, it will become a noise that will not let you see what is important.

So what to do?

What I recommend is to send everything to a “readings” notebook on Evernote, or save it in Pocket, so you can read it later all at once, in one sitting. You can spend an hour during one of those soporific moments of the weekend, and see if there is something really interesting. Just skim every item in a quick reading and, if necessary, mark it for another deeper review.

Probably you will find more links to other interesting articles within the content you are reading. Apply the same principle; capture them for another time. It is the only way not to obstruct your workflow.

You can create a recurring task or routine in your GTD system that will put every weekend an action on your Calendar, so you can remember spending some time with your delayed readings.

Note: Do not do that if you are not willing to spend 45 minutes or an hour reviewing your readings. Otherwise, this routine will become an obligation that you will do reluctantly or simply will not do, which will make you feel bad and less confident with your GTD system.

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