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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Getting things done: An update

If you still remember, I had blogged a while back about 43 Folders and the "Getting Things Done" (GTD) book. Well, its time for the first status update.

Getting started

So far, I'm happy to say that the system does seem to be working. To get started, all you need is a computer and 4 text files. Lets call them inbox.txt, actions.txt, projects.txt and someday.txt.

Step 1

Anytime you remember that you need to do something, open inbox.txt and add a line there with the item you need to do. For example, inbox.txt might look like this

* Prepare project plan
* Buy shaving blades
* Pay house rent
* Fix bugs 322, 323, and 345
* Buy xbox
* Buy newspaper

Step 2

Every morning, you review your inbox.txt. Go through each item and categorise it like this -
Do I need to do this ? If not, delete the item.
Does it take less than 2 minutes to do ? If yes, stop everything and complete it immediately. Then delete the item.
Is this a single action ? If yes, copy the item to actions.txt and delete the item and delete the item from the inbox.
Is this something I want to do, but sometime way in the future ? If yes, copy the item to someday.txt and delete the item from the inbox.
Is this a project ? (A project is anything that takes more than one action to do). If yes, copy the item to projects.txt and delete the item from the inbox.

If its none of the above, its probably not important. Delete it.

Important: Make sure you go through each item in order. Once you have decided what to do with it, delete it from the inbox. By the time you are done with all items, the inbox should be empty.

Step 3

Go through each item in the actions.txt file and start finishing those actions. As you complete them, delete them from actions.txt. Actions can be taken in any order you want. If you complete a project, delete the project from your projects.txt file as well.

Step 4

Once a day, go through your projects.txt and decide what next action you need to do to complete the project. Put this in your actions.txt.

Step 5

Whenever you get any new stuff that needs to be done, add it to your inbox.txt.

Step 6

Once in a while (say every month or so), check your someday.txt file and see if you feel like going ahead with anything there. If you do, then add it to your projects.txt file. Otherwise, leave it as it is.

Thats it! Right away, you will start seeing an improvement in your productivity. This is not the complete thing of course, and it can get much more complicated than this, but this is enough for someone to get started without getting overwhelmed.

1 comment:

indexfaction said...

Sounds cool. Trying this out.