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Processing and Organizing - Separate Steps?

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  • Processing and Organizing - Separate Steps?

    I recently heard someone I admire in the GTD community saying on a podcast that Processing and Organizing are to be done separately. I must be confused. When I process one of my inboxes I identify what the item is and what is to be done with it. I immediately then put it where it belongs whether it is setting it up as a new Project or an action in my preferred tool, delegating it, etc. I don't understand why I would go through the 50-100 work related items in my email inbox each day and process them but not organize them. And then go right back and go through everyone again and organize these items. Just an example. The same applies to going through a stack of stuff in a paper inbox and then throwing everything back in the box and going through again to organize. I really think the problem here is me. I must not understand. Thanks for any feedback.



  • #2
    Separate steps but

    Hi Steve,

    They are separate steps, but they are often done consecutively. So you're not wrong. Somebody wasn't totally clear.


    • #3
      Processing is deciding what an item's significance is to you, while organizing is getting it to the right place. Suppose you had 51 physical items in your inbox, and equal numbers (17) needed to be pitched, filed, and added to lists. You would probably pitch as you go, but find it more efficient to do all the filing at once after processing your inbox. With single items everyone tends to do both steps at once, but for batch processing you may not. They really are different modes of thinking though.


      • #4
        Barb! I was so carefully to protect your anonymity!


        • #5
          I know, but...

          Originally posted by SteveMRL View Post
          Barb! I was so carefully to protect your anonymity!
          I had to own it, Steve. Thanks for the nice thing you said, though. You made my day!


          • #6

            They are separate steps (process = decide and organize = store) but because they are done so closely together (or consecutively as Barb said) they can see like one all inclusive step.



            • #7
              I think the important thing is to make sure the processing step isn't missed. I sometimes find myself trying to organise without fully going through the process of What is it? What's the next action? This normally produces a rather vague step on the action list that I have to clean up at a later date...