Processing Your Stuff

Last month in my blog post Empty Your Mind I introduced the first phase of Getting Things Done, or what I like to call Welldoing.

The result of this phase is usually a big pile of paper with a variety of stuff - things to do, things to remember, plans, commitments, dreams, events, issues …  As well as a pile of paper you will probably also have an inbox full of unprocessed email (Read this post about email). The purpose of this blog post is to introduce the second phase of Welldoing - Processing stuff.

The image above outlines the classical Getting Things Done Workflow. Through repetition this becomes the building block of a trusted personal system to help your head stay clear and your life more focussed.

Let's start … you should be at a desk or table with an inbox full of paper having emptied your head. (If not read this) Pick up one sheet of paper at a time and follow the workflow above:

  1. Is it actionable or not?
  2. If not, either bin it, file it or stash it in a 'Someday/Maybe' folder
  3. If it is, either do it (if it only takes 2 minutes or less), delegate it or defer it.
  4. If you've delegated it, write it down on a Waiting For list.
  5. If you've deferred it, add it to your calendar or list manager.

That's the basics. If you start processing all the stuff in your life in the same way, it soon becomes natural and intuitive. Just knowing you have a consistent strategy to manage all that life throws at you will make you feel better.

When thinking of actions break it down into the very next physical actions rather than catch all vaguerisms. (is that a word?)

Go on give it a go! You can read more about it in the book here - Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity

Next month I'll look at how to Organise all the lists that come out of Processing.