What does Clarifying mean in GTD?
Also called Process, it is the second of the GTD's Five-Stages of Mastering Workflow. Once you have captured everything that catches your attention, the next stage is to empty your inbox, which does not mean doing all the actions that you have captured. It just means defining what each item is and deciding what you are going to do with it.
You need to ask yourself two questions when clarifying each of the items:
- What is it? Think about what that stuff really means to you and clearly define the result you want to achieve.
- Is it actionable? It is actionable if you can do something about it and want to do it.
If it is not actionable, you have three possibilities:
- If it's something you don't need and is of no value to you, then you trash it.
- If it's something that doesn't require any action now, but you may need to do something in the future, then you incubate it.
- If it's potentially useful information that you might need later, then you archive it as reference material.
If it is actionable, you need to define what the next action is. Then you also have three options:
- If you are the one who is going to carry out the next action and it does not require more than two minutes, then you can do it at the moment.
- If you are the one who is going to do the next action and it takes longer than two minutes, then you defer it.
- If you are not the right person to take such action, then you delegate it.
In case the item is actionable you also need to ask yourself if the result is going to be achieved when the next action is completed. If so, you are done; if not, you will need to define the desired result and add it to the project list. It will serve as a reminder that this job is not yet finished when you have completed the action.