1. Capture | Collect what has your attention
Use an inbox, file folder, notepad, and/or voice memo to capture 100% of everything that has your attention.
The process starts with a thorough mind map or brain dump, where you capture every single thing that has your attention. Everything. Every bill, every future plan, every movie you want to watch, all the shit you want to remember. When a light bulb is out, when you are almost out of weed, when it’s picture day at school or when the hot lunch for the day is your kid’s favorite. EVERYTHING.
Capturing is not processing. It’s hunt and gather time. A scavenger hunt. Everything you’re responsible for, everything that’s been nagging on your soul. Whether it’s a bill from the IRS or an idea scribbled on an index card, it gets captured and collected and put in one place.
2. Clarify | Process what it means
If it will take less than two minutes, do it now. If not, delegate it, or put it on a list.
In this step, we process what we have collected. The first time we do this it is often a massive list, so it can take time. With each item, we ask “is it actionable?” If the answer is no your next action is to either trash it, put it on a list (explained next), or file for reference. If yes, decide the very next action required. If the next action takes less than two minutes, do it. If not, it goes on a next action list.
3. Organize | Put it where it belongs
… calls to make, emails to send, errands to run.
Everyone needs some method for managing their projects, to-do’s, reminders and appointments. In the organize phase we create the lists that will become permanent places for all of those things, and it’s way easier than you’d think. All you need is a calendar and a next-actions-list.
The next actions lists are activity & location based lists that take all the guesswork out of decision-making. I will go into further detail in an upcoming post, but typical next action lists are things like “we need”, “groceries”, “calls”, “errands to run”, etc.
4. Reflect | Review frequently
Look over your lists as often as necessary to determine what to do next.
When learning the GTD method, we continuously push ourselves to look over our list. This is building our muscle memory and forming a powerful new habit. A weekly review is the cornerstone of this method and sets the stage for the next week of productive actions.
5. Engage | Simply do
Use your system to take appropriate action with confidence.
With all of your life’s worries recorded somewhere outside of your brain, you have the space to focus on the task at hand. The next action lists and calendar guide your decision making. You no longer second guess how you are spending your time.