Five Processing Tips for Getting Things Done

Getting Things DoneWell, I survived the collection and processing stages of implementing the GTD Methodology and along the way I made a note of five top tips that I would like to share with you on the Processing section of the GTD Methodology.

I am presuming you have read my post on Processing, Getting In to Empty, where I explain that processing is where you take the stuff you have collected and implement the GTD Methodology based upon the GTD Workflow flowchart. If you haven’t read it, go ahead and read that post now.

Right, so you should be up to speed with where I am with this. I have now five little snippets that I consider useful enough to share in this blog.

  1. REALLY clear your diary!
  2. Ensure You Have LOTS of Space
  3. Don’t Collect Items You Need
  4. Print Out the GTD Flowchart
  5. Grow Your Fingernails!

OK, the first item on my list is to REALLY clear your diary. The GTD book states this is important and I cannot re-iterate just how important this is. I cleared two days in my diary for the collection and processing phase and I am happy I did. Once I had started collection, my office and working space looked like a bomb site. This seemed to add quite a bit of pressure to my process and stressed me out somewhat. I guess this made the processing section a great deal easier and I felt a great relief when it was all done.

Now, I must admit that my phone did ring a few times during the process and I also had to get some documents back to a publisher I have been working with so I had to cut off for an unavoidable break. So, I would recommend that you book out at least two days from your schedule, or more if your schedule will allow it.

My next item is to ensure you have LOTS of space. My office is quite small, and the floor space is quite limited. My vigor in the collection phase showed with me ending up with a lot of “stuff” and not much space. This kind of made the processing harder because I had to clear quite a bit of space to organize my piles of stuff. Now, maybe this is because I deviated from the book slightly in that I gave my stuff two rounds of processing instead of one due to the amount of stuff to be trashed, as I covered in my processing post early on this blog.

Again, try to ensure that you have adequate floor space in which to carry out your processing. It makes it much easier when you are not tripping over yourself and with hindsight, I would have taken the whole task into a different room which would allow more freedom of space to carry out the task.

Third on the list is not to collect items you need later in the processing phase. Boy was I excited during the collection phase! Big empty box, stuff everywhere, wham, in the box it goes. Hmmm, when I came to collection phase, guess where my post it notes, stapler, and label printer were? Yep, you guessed it, somewhere in my collected stuff. Now, maybe it was me being dumb but ensure you put aside the items you are going to need for the processing. Seems like a silly mistake but I had to hunt for my processing items, before I could start processing!

The fourth item on the list is to print out a copy of the GTD Flowchart and put it where you can se it. I printed out a full size one that I found via Google Images, just search for “GTD Flowchart” on Google and then click the Images button, and I stuck it right on my wall in front of me. The visual help that this brings is great in reminding you exactly what you need to be doing is great!

The fifth and final item on my list is rather silly, but important never less. Grow your fingernails! This is because of those pesky labels that you will print in abundance from your label printer. I probably spent longer peeling the labels than I did collecting the stuff to put in the folders. But one thing is that the folders look great with the labels one 🙂

Anyway, until next time have a productive day and please comment to let me know your thoughts and viewpoints on my rantings!

2 thoughts on “Five Processing Tips for Getting Things Done

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  2. ursa major

    actually, the tip “don’t collect items you need” is in the book. It was one of the things I wondered about, didn’t understand why you would specify in so much detail what to and what not to collect. Untill I started processing and found myself in a somewhat similar situation, without all the processing tools I needed.

    Thanks for your blog, makes nice reading!

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