Yes Virginia, you really DO need to process daily.

Oogiem

Registered
Lest anyone seem to think that just because I've been practiciing GTD for years that I don't occasionally have issues let me explain my last 6 days.

Due to the final preparations for the Sheep AI class we were hosting and a variety of things that happened on the farm that needed immediate attention I was unable to do any processing of my paper inbox and only scan for emergency messages in my electronic inboxes since Sunday, 2 December. By yesterday my electronic inboxes had over 1000 messages and my paper inbox was full with another 12 inches of stuff next to it.

Friday is usually my weekly review time and I really feel the need for a review. I also had no idea what lurked in the various inboxes that might be urgent and important that I missed during my quick morning scan for looming disasters I did each morning. So my first real task was to process my inboxes. I tackled the paper one first. I actually processed it from oldest to newest. I took out everything, turned the pile over and started on the new top. That way I figured I'd get the more urgent and older items done first. If an item was going to take a longer time to process, as in set up a new project or I needed more time to decide what it really was I put it aside for processing later. The goal was to triage the papers into a more manageable set as fast as possible. Not ideal but the sheer volume was overwhelming so this was my tactic to get it down to a mangeable set of stuff. 3 solid hours of processing and I managed to get it down to where what was left fit in the inbox tray (about 3 inches worth). Those items need more time to fully process.

Next I started on the electronic ones. Again, I started on the oldest messages first and attempted to triage as much as possible out and leave the hard ones in my inbox. In half an hour I managed to get them down to less than 200 messages.

That was all the time I could spend on that sort of work yesterday so I never did finish nor did I get to do my review.

So far today I've already done another half an hour of electronic processing and am down to the last 45 messages. This time I took whatever time I needed to actually process the messages so that I was not handling them 3 times. 2 is bad enough.

I needed a break so I came here to rest my brain a bit. I'll finish reading forums, checking the weather and news and do chores before the final push to get all my procesing done.

By my best estimates I've got at least another couple of hours of processing to do to get everything clean and ready for review.

Review itself shouldn't take much more than an hour. As I am doing my inbox processing I see other projects and actions in my system. I can quickly check off anything that is completed, found a few that I decided to reword just as I saw them rather than wait until the formal review and so on. I've got some scheduled things to do today but I hope to get all processing done and sheep willing, my review done too.

All told my best estimate is that I'll end up spending over 6 hours just handling incoming stuff from my 6 day gap in processing.

I'll post back later with results.
 

David Parker

GTD Connect
Oogie

Thanks for sharing this. You deserve a pat on the back for (a) getting on top of everything, and (b) illustrating to every GTD user how fully understanding the GTD systematic approach allows you to apply its principles and practices to dig yourself out of a big hole without losing anything that's important (and keeping your sanity in the process).

The longer you practise GTD, the more you learn how to apply it and adapt it to meet your personal requirements. The way you've described these last few days is a perfect example - for instance, overturning your inbox to process the oldest item first.

We can all get into the trap of complaining about what this app or that app won't let us do when, if we understand the GTD approach fully, we can solve any productivity issue - "a fool with a tool is still a fool" . . .

I hope you're rested after your labours!

David
 

SimmonSydney

Registered
Lest anyone seem to think that just because I've been practiciing GTD for years that I don't occasionally have issues let me explain my last 6 days.

Due to the final preparations for the Sheep AI class we were hosting and a variety of things that happened on the farm that needed immediate attention I was unable to do any processing of my paper inbox and only scan for emergency messages in my electronic inboxes since Sunday, 2 December. By yesterday my electronic inboxes had over 1000 messages and my paper inbox was full with another 12 inches of stuff next to it.

Friday is usually my weekly review time and I really feel the need for a review. I also had no idea what lurked in the various inboxes that might be urgent and important that I missed during my quick morning scan for looming disasters I did each morning. So my first real task was to process my inboxes. I tackled the paper one first. I actually processed it from oldest to newest. I took out everything, turned the pile over and started on the new top. That way I figured I'd get the more urgent and older items done first. If an item was going to take a longer time to process, as in set up a new project or I needed more time to decide what it really was I put it aside for processing later. The goal was to triage the papers into a more manageable set as fast as possible. Not ideal but the sheer volume was overwhelming so this was my tactic to get it down to a mangeable set of stuff. 3 solid hours of processing and I managed to get it down to where what was left fit in the inbox tray (about 3 inches worth). Those items need more time to fully process.

Next I started on the electronic ones. Again, I started on the oldest messages first and attempted to triage as much as possible out and leave the hard ones in my inbox. In half an hour I managed to get them down to less than 200 messages.

That was all the time I could spend on that sort of work yesterday so I never did finish nor did I get to do my review.

So far today I've already done another half an hour of electronic processing and am down to the last 45 messages. This time I took whatever time I needed to actually process the messages so that I was not handling them 3 times. 2 is bad enough.

I needed a break so I came here to rest my brain a bit. I'll finish reading forums, checking the weather and news and do chores before the final push to get all my procesing done.

By my best estimates I've got at least another couple of hours of processing to do to get everything clean and ready for review.

Review itself shouldn't take much more than an hour. As I am doing my inbox processing I see other projects and actions in my system. I can quickly check off anything that is completed, found a few that I decided to reword just as I saw them rather than wait until the formal review and so on. I've got some scheduled things to do today but I hope to get all processing done and sheep willing, my review done too.

All told my best estimate is that I'll end up spending over 6 hours just handling incoming stuff from my 6 day gap in processing.

I'll post back later with results.
Good luck Oogie

I agree that the processing takes some mental energy. I get about 400 emails a day currently. If I don’t process it builds up quickly.

I know it’s the wrong way around but I get more anxious if I have not processed my inbox than if I have not done a review
 

Geeko

GTD since 2017
Thanks for sharing, Oogie.

It is good to know that this kind of stuff also happens to the toughest and brightest GTDers. That gives me hope for my own GTD practice ;)

Cheers,
Tristan
 

Oogiem

Registered
I promised an update but Sheep Happens...

Anyway, here it is, Finally,

So it took another full 6 hours to process my inboxes to "close enough for government work" standards of clear. Still ended up with about an inch of papers in my paper inbox and 22 messages left in my electronic inbox. Had to stop and really do a good review as this week looks even more busy than last week !!!! Without the review I'd be flying blind so it was really the top priority task.

Actual review took 2 hours. Longer than normal, but to bee expected given the issues.

Current stats after my review:

PROJECTS: 283
Active projects: 190
Current projects: 99
Pending projects: 91
On-hold projects: 20
Completed projects: 71
Dropped projects: 2

SINGLE ACTION LISTS: 3
Active single action lists: 3

CONTEXTS: 35
Active contexts: 35

ACTIONS: 1848
Completed actions: 628
Dropped project actions: 2
Remaining actions: 1218
Actions in Projects on hold: 172
Blocked actions: 826
Sequentially blocked: 243
Awaiting start date: 583
Available actions: 220

All set for the new week.
 

Tom_Hagen

Registered
Stunningly. I practice reading messages from newest to oldest because I noticed that from time to time newer msg "cancels" older one for example sender resolved problem by himself or adds more details so I don't have to read his previous msg.
 

Oogiem

Registered
I practice reading messages from newest to oldest because I noticed that from time to time newer msg "cancels" older one for example sender resolved problem by himself or adds more details so I don't have to read his previous msg.
That is very rare for me, usually if there are 2 or more messages from someone the first gives me all the info and the second is more of a what's the status? so I'm ususally better off to read the first and handle it then I can just delete the second.

It all depends on the types of messages you get.
 

John Ismyname

Registered
That is very rare for me, usually if there are 2 or more messages from someone the first gives me all the info and the second is more of a what's the status? so I'm ususally better off to read the first and handle it then I can just delete the second.

It all depends on the types of messages you get.
I have my email client sort my inbox first by sender and then newest to oldest to try to group threads together.

This system worked well today as, in the 24 hours since I last checked my personal email, there was a 'crisis' with the finance committee of my church. The first message, I opened, which was the last one sent, was from the pastor informing us that he had found a lost cheque in the glovebox of his car. In that, I deleted the other six emails in this thread and moved on to my next issue.

For me this a a personal preference. If the GTD practitioner is processing inboxes to zero on a regular basis, the sequence order does not matter. What does matter is sequential end-to-end and not cherry-picking emails to process first.
 
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