capturing messages/conversations in various tools?


For those who use software tools for work (e.g., Slack, Asana, Jira, Figma, GitHub, etc.): how are you currently applying GTD to all the comments, messages, notifications, tasks in various tools? For example, a Slack message from a coworker/manager asking me to do something. Or, a feedback comment in my pull requests that I'll have to follow up.

From my experience, it's inevitable to use multiple apps for work as each has its own use case/workflow, so sticking with a single tool for all isn't gonna solve the problem. any thoughts/suggestions?


It would depend on whether the task is pretty standardized and heavily tracked within the system in question, or...not.

For example, if I have an account in WidgetApproval, and I get a couple of dozen approval requests in a day, and the vast majority of them just require reading a paragraph or two and clicking Approve, I certainly wouldn't move each approval request into my main preferred task management system. My main preferred task management system might include a reference to that part of my job, but probably just with a "Do daily WidgetApprovals" repeater or something of the sort.

On the other hand, if one of those approvals is difficult and messy, and requires that I do some research and ask a colleague, I might add an action or even a project to my main preferred task management system--possibly adding the relevant WidgetApproval Number, to make it maximally easy to get back and do the eventual approval or rejection.

In your Slack example, I would probably create an action in my main system. In fact, yes, I just did exactly that this week--I added the action to my main system, did the thing a day later, and returned to Slack to note that the action had been completed.

That may sound like a lot of extra steps, but for me, minimizing the effort for scanning my action list is a much higher priority than minimizing the effort to either create or close an action.

Satrujeet Rath

Having all my tasks at one place gives me a good view of all my commitments. The different places where I can be assigned work such as Slack messages, Comments on different tools, Emails etc. are all Inboxes. I process them to understand if I need to Do It, Delegate It or Defer It and if I have something to do, and I cannot do that right away, it needs to go into my system as a task. I don't put any more detail than what is necessary for me to recollect what the task stands for. I generously add links to my tasks so that it can directly take me to whichever context I need to be i.e. in Slack, in the google doc where a comment was left for me, in the PR where I need to respond to a comment etc., to make my capturing process easy.

The value I find in doing this is to have all my commitments in one place. This helps me avoid to use Slack or my email as my task manager and I can safely scan and get out of it and work from my actual task manager when I want to get through my tasks without being distracted. I also have my task manager always open and I keep capturing tasks that I get from any meetings that I might be on, any article that I am reading etc. so that I don't miss it in my review process.

You will have to use the necessary tool for the task but the trick is to think of them as contexts where you need to be to get something done and keep your task management system separate so that you can have a good view of what all you have on your plate. It will also help you later in the review process to see what all you have accomplished if you want to examine them in your weekly reviews.


That may sound like a lot of extra steps, but for me, minimizing the effort for scanning my action list is a much higher priority than minimizing the effort to either create or close an action.
This is SO critical! If it's too hard to create or close out an action then look at that process but keep your stuff in one place.


In my primary GTD system I have a few routines setup. I have my workday startup I do at around 7 am and workday shutdown from 5-6. I also have a "mid day reset".

During each of these reviews I have in a checklist a series of steps and one of them is inbox zero (for cleaning my email) and also reviewing 3rd party tasks. So during each of these routines I review and take action on tasks assigned to me (in a program similar to asana), respond to my teams messages (as I treat those like email) and at the end of hte day to process inputs. If completing those items can fit in my time allottment for the routine I do it than. If it will take longer I let the other person know "it is on my list" and put it on my primary GTD system. They all know I have an "other list" that I keep sacred and have just learned that is how I work so they almost expect it.

I find the best thing I do is to be very vocal about my GTD passion with my colleagues. They understand this is how I work and they kind of work within it.