Getting Things Done - GTD

The Someday/Maybe List: Your Personal Productivity Storage

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
tags Weekly Review List Management Organize
"The ability to convert ideas to things is the secret of outward success." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

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The Someday/Maybe List: Your Personal Productivity Storage

In the business world, stocks are a common pool or resource holding tank, a collection of goods that are kept somewhere until someone takes them out and gives them the use for which they were created. A spare parts warehouse is the most common example. A checking account is another example of stock: a monetary fund waiting to be used.

In the case of a personal management system such as GTD (Getting Things Done), the Someday/Maybe list would be the warehouse where stocks are kept safely. It’s a very interesting list because it allows you to “not do”, in other words, it allows you to procrastinate in an effective way. It’s a list of things, tasks, projects, events and ideas, which are at rest, waiting to be taken out of that state one day and turned into “working capital”.

In any system, in order to increase the stock, you have to increase the incoming flows and/or decrease the outgoing flows. On the other hand, if you want to reduce the stock, you must reduce the incoming flows and/or increase the outgoing flows.

Unlike a checking account, where it’s really easy to make money go down (we love to spend), on the Someday/Maybe list the common tendency is for the stock volume to grow and grow nonstop, to a point where the list becomes very unwieldy, thus losing much of its usefulness.

For a system to work effectively, the volume of stock should be adequate: not too large, not too small.

Having too many things on the Someday/Maybe list decreases the efficiency of your management. Every time you face that list during a Weekly Review and come across 865 items to review, you just skip that step, right?

You are accumulating a lot of potentially interesting things on that list, but since you never check them out, those things will never get a chance to leave the reserve and getting into the game. If this is your case, you must realize that you’ve lost one of the most important assets of your management system and you must recover it as soon as possible.

Low activity periods are good moments to optimize stock management. If, as a result of the pandemic, lockdown, lack of work, etc., you have more time available, use it to do a thorough review of your Someday/Maybe list. You’ll find many things that have become obsolete or no longer make sense in your life, but still take up space in the warehouse. Better yet, I’m sure you’ll find some things that you’ve forgotten and that you’ll be glad you can rescue. There is nothing like recovering exciting projects that had been buried in the day-to-day exhausting activity.

If you don’t have the time for that review, do your best to have it. At least, you should review that list thoroughly every three months.

Although the Someday/Maybe list is a container of things you haven’t committed to yet, there’s no reason not to give it some organization. It will make it easier to manage. Use tags to classify the items in that list so that you can get a sub-list with all the items of a certain category when needed, or remove from the Weekly Review a good number of items that don’t need to be reviewed every week.

Francisco Sáez

Francisco is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a Software Engineer who is passionate about personal productivity and the GTD philosophy as a means to a better life.

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