How ‘Getting Things Done’ Works
Our lives, says Allen, are filled with too much Stuff: we think about Stuff, we worry about Stuff, we never get all the Stuff done that we need to do. His solution is to gather all of the Stuff into a single Collection Bucket. When all the Stuff is in one place, the top item in the Bucket is processed. When the first item has been processed, the second item is processed. Everything in the Collection Bucket is processed — one item at a time — until there’s nothing left.
Whenever an item is taken from the Collection Bucket, ask yourself: “Is this actionable?” In other words, “Is this something that I can take care of right now?”
If the item is not actionable:
- toss it in the trash,
- file it for future reference, or
- place it in a regularly-reviewed tickler file for possible future action.
- do it, if it will only take a few minutes,
- delegate it, if it’s somebody else’s responsibility, or
- defer it.
- placed on a calendar if they must be done at a specific date and/or time, or
- put on list of Next Actions if they’re things that need to be done ASAP.
After the GTD has been implemented, the Collection Bucket should be emptied once a week (or as often as necessary). That’s it. That’s the system.
Here’s a graphical representation: