What Do I

JamesAbellArt

Registered
Hi I am enjoying the GTD workbook. However, I am on Chapter 4 to clear out my in tray, ie "Is It actionable etc?"
Perhaps as this is just the workbook, its now saying things like "put it on your next actions list " etc.
I guess this may become more evident later. However is there a definitive folder structure for things that I am clearing from my in tray.
For example - Next actions, Reference etc? If so I can then go buy the number of required folders. At this point I really dont understand that I am meant to clear out my in tray but dont know where exactly to put the items while I do this if they are not actionable straight away? Any help would be great thanks!
 

Gardener

Registered
I think it depends on the nature of the item that was in the inbox. (Are we talking about a physical inbox?) As I see it, the Inbox is physical reminders of thoughts that should be added to your GTD lists, actual physical material that supports GTD tasks, or a given item may be both.

For example, if it's a Post-It saying, "Order cake for party", then IMO you'd add that to your Next Action list, whether that list is on paper or in a a piece of software. Or if it's not a simple order ("Hey, I'd like two layers, nine inches, I'll pick it up on the 20th, name is John Smith, would you like me to pre-pay now?") you might create a project for it. Either way, you throw away the Post-It, because its entire purpose was to get you to add that action or that project, and you've done that.

If the cake is already a project, and now that project is up to the point where the Inbox contains the bakery's quote and sketch for an elaborate cake to be the centerpiece of a retirement party, and the co-worker that needs to approve the order is on vacation, then you might add add "WAITING FOR Joe to approve cake" to the "Get cake for retirement party" project's Next Action list and file the quote in the folder where you're keeping project support material for the cake or the party.

If it's your W-2, you'd file it with your tax papers, and you might or might not already have a project for doing your taxes this year. But there's really nothing to add to that project, unless it already has "WAITING FOR W-2" as a trigger to start action.

If it's a stock report that you want to read, you might just toss it in your "Stuff to Read" basket. Or you might toss it in that basket AND add its title to your "Stuff to Read" list.

And so on.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I think it can be helpful in the early stages of GTD adoption to ask “what would I have done with this before GTD?” GTD asks you to have clear boundaries between next actions and other project-related material, but is fairly agnostic on how that additional material is organized. Everybody is different, and every project is different. Over time, your systems and practices will change. For now, if you are using physical file folders for everything, use file folders. If you use Google calendar, continue to use it. If there is a GTD category of “stuff”, for example ticklers or waiting-for’s, that you don‘t have a ’place‘ for, you need to choose an accumulation point. It could be a file folder, a page in a notebook, a list or tag in an app like OmniFocus or Microsoft ToDo, whatever you want. But when the GTD police walk into your office and ask where your waiting-for’s are, or where your project support material is, you have to be able to tell them.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Hi I am enjoying the GTD workbook. However, I am on Chapter 4 to clear out my in tray, ie "Is It actionable etc?"
Perhaps as this is just the workbook, its now saying things like "put it on your next actions list " etc.
I guess this may become more evident later. However is there a definitive folder structure for things that I am clearing from my in tray.
For example - Next actions, Reference etc? If so I can then go buy the number of required folders. At this point I really dont understand that I am meant to clear out my in tray but dont know where exactly to put the items while I do this if they are not actionable straight away? Any help would be great thanks!
@JamesAbellArt You're right. In Step 4 "The GTD Workbook" tells you to use folders/lists that you will create in Step 6. Probably it should be titled "The GTD Workbook for Time Travelers"? ;)
 

OliverG

GTD Connect
Hi I am enjoying the GTD workbook. However, I am on Chapter 4 to clear out my in tray, ie "Is It actionable etc?"
Perhaps as this is just the workbook, its now saying things like "put it on your next actions list " etc.
I guess this may become more evident later. However is there a definitive folder structure for things that I am clearing from my in tray.
For example - Next actions, Reference etc? If so I can then go buy the number of required folders. At this point I really dont understand that I am meant to clear out my in tray but dont know where exactly to put the items while I do this if they are not actionable straight away? Any help would be great thanks!
Later this will be one 'fluid' process, but to learn it you need to do it step by step. Just go along with the text.
We could say: You are not DOING GTD at the moment and just LEARNING GTD.
 

JamesAbellArt

Registered
Ok thanks for the comments. Yes I kind of get it. More of a process than putting into folders. I work a lot on the computer, so actually find manual folders easier so I remember them!
 

OliverG

GTD Connect
Ehm, don't think folders so much, they might be for prtoject support material (digitally) or physical pieces of paper.

Think: Lists (a folder ist just a kind of ist like a calendar is a kind of list or a checklist)

So:
- you find an item in your email
- you decide (if the irtem is actionable AND type of the Action is 'defer' and not '2 minutes' or 'delegate') about the next physical action and the desired result and punt them on a next action list (e.g. @Computer) and in your Project List respectively.
- if the itm is of the type 'delegate' you delegate the task and make a note on your waiting list
This 'list' CAN be
- a folder with peces of paper
- a text file
- a task list in some task planning program (like Things or Omnifocus or MS Todo or or or...)

The 'sublists/folders' can be:
- at office (and ONLY there)
- at home (and ONLy there)
- at weekly department meeting (and ONLY ... you get the idea...)
- at spouse
- at boss
- at daily team meeting
- at supermarket
- at downtown
- at laptop when online
- at laptop even when offline
or the like, whatever your life is structured like ;)

Start with as few as possible and if they become long or distracting: split them
Make sure they have HARD borders, so an item can go only on ONE list

A list can also be a place where you put all "bills to be paid" or a place on your shelf where you put ALL "books to read".
 
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