Step 3 – Organise

Now that you’ve COLLECTed everything that was on your mind and PROCESSed everything so that you know what each item means to you (what’s the expected outcome and what’s the next physical action to move it forward) we can start to get ORGANISEd!

Most people, when they try to implement GTD, have a problem with separating PROCESSing from getting ORGANISEd. But this is a key step because in ORGANISE you build the trusted system that will allow you to release all the stuff that’s clogging up your brain and allow you to reach the GTD “nirvana” of being totally buried by the amount of things you need to do but having nothing on your mind – what David Allen calls a “mind like water”.

But you’re not there yet!

First you need to group all the results of what you’ve PROCESSed into appropriate categories so that you can retrieve and REVIEW them when you need to – remember that REVIEW is the next phase of mastering workflow.

The four key categories are:

PROJECTS – projects you are committed to finish that will take more than one action
CALENDAR – actions that must occur on a specific day or specific time
NEXT ACTIONS – actions that need to be done as soon as possible
WAITING FOR – projects and actions that you’re waiting for someone else to do
For each of these categories you need to make a list of each item you’ve PROCESSed that falls under that category. For CALENDAR items that’s easy – they go on your CALENDAR.

A list of PROJECTS is just that.

A list of WAITING FORs is also relatively simple to compile.

The lists of NEXT ACTIONS should be broken down into separate lists depending on the context in which the action will take place. This is a key principle of GTD that differs from other activity management systems – listing actions according to where they happen.

Typical CONTEXTS are:

AGENDAS – lists of the people you need to communicate with, and meetings planned, with the topics you need to discuss
ANYWHERE – list of actions that have no restrictions on where they can be carried out
CALLS – list of calls you need to make, by type of phone (mobile, landline, etc.) if that’s appropriate
COMPUTER – list of actions that require a computer
ERRANDS – list of things you need to do whilst you are out and about
HOME – list of actions that need to be done whilst you’re in your home environment
OFFICE – list of actions that require you to be in your office
READ – list of articles, books, etc that you’ve decided to read
SOMEDAY/MAYBE – list of items and actions that you might wat to do at some point but not now

So now, armed with your lists of NEXT ACTIONS for each of the CONTEXTs above plus your list of WAITING FORs and PROJECTs you’re ready to go into action. But before we do that, next we’ll look at the REVIEW phase that’s key to GTD – how you keep your lists up to date.

Then we’ll look at the final phase – DO – where you actually Get Things Done!

Again you can get an overview of the Five Phases of Mastering Workflow from David Allen’s site for free!

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