Processing stuff does not mean doing actions. It just means taking time to define exactly what each one is and thinking about the next step that will lead you to achieve the final outcome.
The best way to do this is one thing at a time. By doing so, the other things do not interfere in your thinking and everything gets equally processed.
Do not process things while you are collecting them, this will distract you from what you are doing at the time. Instead, spend one or two times a day processing what you have collected. To do this, click the Process option in the main menu. The following page will appear:
Firstly, you must put in words the exact meaning of what you have in hand. If it is a task, pick the appropriate verb to express the next step action you should carry out. Assign the proper context, and optionally, a completion date. You can also set the time and energy that will be required. This will help you choosing the most appropriate action to perform when you have limited time or are tired.
Secondly, think whether an action is required or not. If it is:
- If it is an action you have to do and requires some time, defer it. If it has a reminder it will go to the Calendar, otherwise it will go to the Next Actions list.
- If you are not the right person to do that, delegate it. Use a @name to indicate who will do it. You can also add a reminder if you want. This action will be added to the Waiting for list.
- If it is something that takes a couple of minutes, do not hesitate, do it now. The action will go directly to the Done list.
If no action is required:
- If it is something you might want to rethink in the future, incubate it in the Someday/Maybe list. You can add a reminder to resurface it at an appropriate time.
- If it is information that may be valuable in the future, file it in the Reference Material list. You should classify it with proper tags for easy reference.
- If it is something that has no value, i.e. does not belong to any of the above categories, it’s trash. The item will be kept in the Trash for 7 days.
If you need more than one action to achieve the outcome, the “It needs more than one action” option on the left, allows you to create a new project—or select an existing one—to which the action in progress will be added.
If it is an action that must be done at regular intervals, click on the “It’s a recurring task” option to create the routine. The current action will go to the Calendar and the system will automatically generate a new one when appropriate.
At the end of the process, your Inbox will be empty.
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