In this week’s installment of GTD, we finally get to take some action. Gathering all of your crap, sorting, tossing, and moving forward.
Set aside several hours to gather all of your incompletes, your paper, your “stuff” into one place. Note: this works for both your home and office workspaces, so tackle the most egregious one first. Search your physical environment for anything that doesn’t belong where it is and put it in your in-box (or if you have a lot of crap, use an actual large shipping box), so that they are available for later processing.
What shouldn’t go into the in-box:
• Reference material
If something is clearly trash, go ahead and toss it, don’t put it into your in-box.
Order of attack:
• Start with your desktop
• Move to your desk drawers
• Countertops (stuff on top of cabinets, credenzas, etc)
• Then inside the cabinets
• Floors, Walls + Shelves
• Equipment, Furniture and Fixtures (anything you want to change about the physical space itself)
Once you’ve gathered your stuff to be processed or tossed (hopefully), you’re ready to move on to what David Allen calls “the mind sweep.”
Sit with a stack of blank printer paper and a big ass marker and write out each thought, each idea, each project or thing that has your attention on its own separate sheet of paper. You will be processing these items individually, so it’s best to put each thought on its own sheet. Stick these sheets into your in-box.
To assist in your brain dump mission, you can use this trigger list – go item by item to make sure you’ve included everything.
Print out your important emails, transcribe important voice mails – it sounds terribly analog – but make everything paper-based and physical and put it into the in-box.
Once you have an overflowing in-box and feel that everything is physically and psychically in one place, you can tackle next week’s step: “Getting ‘In’ to Empty.”