So a couple of weeks ago I professed my love of the GTD method but I wasn’t totally honest. I only really like the first 2 steps of the process. I mean it’s pretty easy to sit down with some paper and write out every single thing on your mind.  And then clarifying? Man, its actually fun trashing things and getting those 2-minute tasks done.  But then we come to the stuff that takes more than two minutes.  The stuff that I can’t just give to someone else to do? That’s where the hard work is and to be really honest I still haven’t mastered this part either, haha! So we’re going to work this out together!

Step 3: Putting stuff in its right place!

So in this step you take every single thing you captured and is something that will take more than two minutes and has more than one step to it and put it on a list! Yes I know lists are boring.  But how else are you going to keep these things out of your head and achieve that “mind like water” state?

David Allen suggests 3 main lists: Project list, Errand list, and a “someday maybe list”. 

Project list: All things that you’ve captured that you need to work on now. You can have one big one with all your projects from every facet of your life or you can break it up.  I have one for work, one for personal, and one for the leadership role I have at my church.

Errand list: All your “to do’s” (i.e. pick up dry cleaning, call that person, etc.)

Someday maybe list: Now this is the crazy list.  This is the one that you know you need to do it but you know you not going to do that thing now list.  It may feel and seem wishy washy but it’s really important!

Where do I keep all these lists? Well it’s up to you! Do you like paper and pencil or do you like digital? I’m trying out something called Todoist and I’m enjoying it do far! Others use Evernote, and some just use a plain old notebook.

Now I know you’re like but lists suck and what’s the point to all this? Well, remember “mind like water”? The more we keep in our head the more restless and stressed we get! But if we can put together a system that we can trust our mind doesn’t have to keep on reminding itself that you have to pick up the dry cleaning!  If you don’t believe me, try the exercise I mentioned in my Mind Like Water post!

So before you go, let me give you some practical tips to help:

  1. Get a system you trust and like.  It’s going to take time but it will be worth it!

  2. Review often and make decisions! Check out the next few posts on steps 4 and 5 of the GTD method for a bit more.

  3. Be sure to always have a next action for your project.  It can’t just be a long list of things to do because it will start to get overwhelming.  Put things on your project list, but take the time to assess what that next action needs to be.

  4. Your calendar is your best friend.  If it needs to happen on a certain date put it in the calendar. I say to my friends all the time “if it ain’t on the calendar it does not exist” lol!

  5. Someday/maybe is not the give up list: Don’t feel like this list is for all the things you think you’ll never get to do but make it a conscience effort to decide what you have time for now vs., what you will do later and assign it to this list accordingly.  Ask the question “is this something I need/can/want to do now?”  often and if not move it to the someday/maybe list.

Alright folks! Let’s get to organizing!!!!