???? My reading notes for getting things done Part 4.

GTD is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots. Incubate. There will probably be things in your in tray about which you will say to yourself, There’s nothing to do on this now, but there might be later.

If, however, you have 50 or 100 next actions pending, keeping all of those on one big list would make it too difficult to see what you need to see. Each time you got any window of time to do something, you’d have to do unproductive resorting. If you happen to be on a short break at a conference, during which you might be able to make some calls, you’d have to identify the calls among a big batch of unrelated items.

When you went out to do odds and ends, you’d probably want to pick out your errands and make another list. Another productivity factor that this kind of organization supports is leveraging your energy when you’re in a certain mode. When you’re in phone mode, it helps to make a lot of phone calls. Just do it.

My reading notes for Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress Free Productivity, David Allen and James Fallows, The Most Common Categories of Action Reminders. You’ll probably find that at least a few of the following common list headings for next actions will make sense for you. Calls. At computer. Errand.

At office. Miscellaneous. At home. Anywhere. Agendas. For people and meetings. Read. Review. Errands. It makes a lot of sense to group together in one place reminders of all the things you need to do when you’re out and about. Agendas invariably you’ll find that many of your next actions need to either occur in a real time interaction with someone, or be brought up in a committee, team, or staff meeting.

These next actions should be put on separate agenda lists for each of those people, and for that meeting, assuming you attend it regularly. Professionals who keep a file folder to hold all the things they need to go over with their boss already use a version of this method. The broader your responsibilities, and the more senior your organizational roles, the more you will get things done through your communications and transactions with other people.

If you participate in standing meetings, staff meetings, project meetings, board meetings, committee meetings, parent teacher meetings, whatever, they, too, deserve their own lists, in which you collect things that will need to be addressed on those occasions. Often you’ll want to keep a running list of things to go over with someone you’ll be interacting with only for a limited period of time.

For instance, if you have a contractor doing a significant piece of work on your house or property, you can create a list for him for the duration of the project. As you’re walking around the site after he’s left for the day, you may notice several things you need to talk with him about, and you’ll want that list to be easy to capture, and to access as needed.

Read review. You will no doubt have discovered in your in tray a number of things for which your next action is to read. I hope you have held to the Twaminute rule and dispatched many of those quick skim items already. Tossing, filing, or routing them forward as appropriate. Organizing, waiting for. Manage the commitments of others before their avoidance creates a crisis.

Like reminders of the actions you need to do, reminders of all the things that you’re waiting to get back from or get done by others have to be sorted and grouped. You won’t necessarily be tracking discrete action steps here, but more often final deliverables or projects that others are responsible for, such as the tickets you’ve ordered from the theater, the scanner that’s coming for the office, the okay on the proposal from your client, and so on.

When the next action on something is up to someone else, you don’t need an action reminder, just a trigger about what you’re waiting for and from whom. Your role is to review that list as often as you need to and assess whether you ought to be taking an action such as checking the status or lighting a fire in some way under the project.

You’ll probably find that it works best to keep this waiting for list close at hand in the same system as your next actions reminder lists. The responsibility for the next step may bounce back and forth many times before a project is finished. It’s important for this category in particular to include the date that each item is requested for each entry as well as any agreed upon due date.

Own action reminder. Keep actionable emails and papers separated from all the rest. The most efficient way to track your action reminders is to add them to lists or folders as they occur to you. The originating trigger won’t be needed after you have processed it. The primary reason for organizing is to reduce cognitive load, i.

e., to eliminate. The need to constantly be thinking, what do I need to do about this? The effectiveness of many workflow systems I see is the fact that all the documents of one type, e. g., service requests, are kept in a single tray or file, even though different kinds of actions may be required on each one.

One request needs a phone call, another needs data reviewed, and still another is waiting for someone to get back with some information, but they’re all sorted together. This arrangement can cause a person’s mind to go numb to the stack, because of all the decisions that are still pending about the next action level of doing.

Materials, emails that need action, are sometimes best as their own reminders, in this case within the email system itself. This is especially true if you get a lot of email and spend a lot of your work time with your email software active at hand. Many people have found it helpful to set up two or three unique folders on their email navigator bars.

True, most folders and emails should be used for reference or archive materials, but it’s also possible to set up a workable system that will keep your actionable messages discreetly organized outside the in area itself, which is where most people tend to keep them. If you choose this route, I recommend that you create one folder for any longer than two minute emails that you need to act on.

Again, you should be able to dispatch many messages right off the bat by following the two minute rule. The folder name should begin with a prefix letter or symbol so that it looks different from your reference folders and it sits at the top of your folders in the navigator bar. Next you can create a folder titled waiting for which will show up in the same place as the action folder.

Then as you receive emails that indicate that someone is going to do something you care about tracking you can drag them over into the waiting for file. It can also hold reminders for anything that you delegate via email when you forward something or use email to make a request or delegate an action.

Just save a cc or bcc copy into your waiting for file. My reading notes for getting things done the art of stress free productivity David Allen and James Fallows. It takes much less energy to maintain email backlog at zero than at a thousand. Some applications allow you to file a copy of an email into one of your folders as you send it, with a send and file button.

Others will simultaneously save only into your universal sent mail folder, getting email in to empty. You’ll reclaim in as in, so anything residing there will be like a new message in your voicemail or an unread text on your mobile device. Clues that you need to process something. Most people use their email in for staging still undecided actionable things, reference, and even trash, a practice that rapidly numbs the mind.

They know they’ve got to reassess everything every time they glance at the screen. This doesn’t mean you’ve handled everything. It means that you’ve deleted what you could, filed what you wanted to keep but don’t need to act on, done the less than two minute responses, and moved into your reminder folders all the things you’re waiting for and all your actionable emails.

Now you can open the action file and review the emails that you’ve determined you need to spend time on. Organizing project reminders, creating and maintaining one list of all your projects, that is, again, every commitment or desired outcome that may require more than one action step to complete, can be a profound experience.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend that initially you make a projects list in a very simple format, similar to the ones you’ve used for your lists of actions. It can be a category in a digital organizer, a page in a loose leaf planner, or even a single file folder labeled projects, with either a master list or separate sheets of paper for each one.

The Projects List is not meant to hold plans or details about your projects themselves, nor should you try to keep it arranged by priority or size or urgency. It’s just a comprehensive index of your open loops. You actually won’t be working off of the Projects List during your moment to moment activities, for the most part, your calendar, action lists, and any unexpected tasks that come up will constitute your tactical and immediate focus.

Remember, you can’t do a project, you can only do the action steps it requires. The real value of the Projects List lies in the complete review it can provide, at least once a week. Ensuring that you have action steps defined for all of your projects, and that nothing is slipping through the cracks. As I have indicated in other places, the weekly review is the critical success factor for marrying your larger commitments to your day to day activities.

And a complete projects list remains the linchpin for that orientation. Ensuring weekly that you’re okay about what you’re doing, or not doing, with a dog for your kids, along with what you’re doing, or not doing, about next year’s conference, is an essential practice. But that project’s list must already be there, in at least a somewhat recent form, before you have the capability to think about things from that perspective.

Current activities, often there are projects that need to be captured from a simple inventory of your calendar, your action lists, and your workspaces. What meetings are on your schedule, past or upcoming, because there are also very likely still unrecognized projects connected to the next actions on your lists.

Many times people we work with have Call Mario Ray, the fundraising event, on their calls list, but have not yet identified Finalize the fundraiser as something that should be on their projects list. current problems, issues, and opportunities. These fall into three categories. Problems, uh, process improvements, creative and capacity building opportunities.

When is a problem a project? Always. Finally, there might very well be things you’ve been telling yourself you’d like to learn or experience to expand your own development or creative expression. Would you like to learn Italian cooking or how to draw? Have you been telling yourself it would be great to take an online course in digital photography or social media marketing?

It’s very possible that many of these kinds of might like to projects would live just fine on your someday maybe list. One list, or subdivided. Most people find that one list is the best way to go because it serves as a master inventory rather than as a daily prioritizing guideline. To reiterate, you don’t want to use support materials as your primary reminders of what to do.

Mortgage Peeps – Follow us on Facebook (below or #DuaneKayeWTMS) or Twitter (@MakesYouSmarter) for daily rate lock updates.