The first step of the GTD system is to capture all of the random information in your head and place it into an inbox for later processing. But after creating your inbox the next step is sorting your various random actions into projects and then organizing those projects accordingly so you understand your next actions.
- [Instructor] In a previous lesson, I walked you through the first step of the Getting Things Done system developed by David Allen and that's capturing the information in your head and writing it down, also known as brain dumping. Please note that this is a continuation of the tasks that I laid out in my previous lesson on using the GTD system. Now, this is a great start but if you don't have any next steps, you'll most likely feel even more overwhelmed because you have between 200 and 500 individual tasks sitting in front of you that need to get done and without a system, that can be downright terrifying.
So, let's take the next step and start getting your actions sorted into projects. So, here are all of the random brain dumps that I did in the previous lesson, I'm going to go ahead I'm going to throw in a few more once we start building these into projects. Once again, I'm going to be demonstrating this in the program OmniFocus, you can be doing this with a pen and post-it notes, a Microsoft Word document, or your task manager of choice, I just prefer using OmniFocus because it's specifically designed for people that use the GTD system. So, the first thing we need to do is figure out where do all of these actions belong and do they belong as part of projects? Are they single actions? Or is this something that I can perhaps put on a someday, maybe list? So, I'm going to start assigning projects to each of these.
So, what I'm going to do, I've opened up this right side bar and in case you are interested in OmniFocus, that was command option I and I'm just going to select each of these individually and say watering office plant. Eh, that's not really a project, that's a single action. Background sounds need to be added, that's probably part of a project. TV script, that's probably part of a project. Review music cues, watch dailies, call insurance agent, eh, that's probably an individual action, so what I'm going to do is just hold down the command key and I'm going to select that so both of these are selected at once.
Email mom, eh, that's probably a single action. Read blog post, that is also a single action. These all look like their part of projects. This is probably a single action, this is a single action. So here, now we have a bunch of single actions, what I'm going to do is put them into a new project that is simply called Single Actions and you'll see that I just hit command and return and these have now been assigned projects and if I go into my Project pane, I now have a project and it has all of these listed as single actions.
So, I'm going to go back to my Inbox and I'm going to start thinking about where the rest of these belong. Before jumping into the most complicated ones, which are parts of specific projects, I see that this one is probably not one I need to act on right now, this belongs in the someday, maybe list, so I'm going to create a project that's called Someday/Maybe and once again command return, I go into my projects, and here we have a new project called Someday/Maybe, I go back to my Inbox, you'll also notice what happens in OmniFocus is that my list is getting shorter because once you have items in an Inbox that are assigned to specific projects, or as I'll talk about in a later lesson, specific contexts, now your inbox gets smaller and smaller.
So, this is really that first step where you understand the mental power that going through this process can really have because already you start to feel the weight lifting a little bit, it's not a random list of 200 items, you're starting to see some structure. So, now I'm going to go through and I'm going to see how do these fit into specific projects? Well, I can see right now I've got something about episode 105 here, I've got something else about 105 here, so, you know what? I'm going to create a project that's called Episode 105 and this email about this latest version of the script, I wasn't really detailed enough in this one, I have to think about an email about the latest version of script for which project.
You know what? This was for episode 105 as well, so instead of creating a new project, and now I just select Episode 105 and you can see that these are already starting to go into my project for episode 105 and my inbox is getting smaller and smaller. So, review music cues for upcoming trailer. Once again, that's not quite specific enough. So, let's say that this was part of trailer B. So, let's say that you have three trailers that you're doing at once, trailers A, trailers B, trailers C, this is going to be part of trailer B and that becomes my project.
Trailer B, that's now a new project. Ooh, a TV script, once again, I really wasn't detailed enough, so, let's say that this was part of episode 106 and look at that, I have another task for episode 106, so I'm going to select these, I'm going to call this 106, just double check, yep, there are my episodes, there's trailer B, there are all of my other projects, and I'm down to two items in my inbox. So, watch dailies for my next episode, you know what? I think that was for episode 107, I haven't really started that one yet and, well, if I'm going to be emailing a director about upcoming music cues, I didn't put the project number on this.
Let me go back, I had mentioned something about this in another project, where was that? Review music cues, you know what, I don't know where that one was so I'm going to call that miscellaneous for now because I'm not sure where that fits in. So, I'm going to create a new project that's called miscellaneous 'cause I don't really know where that belongs right now and then I see I have another new project that I'm starting for episode 107. So, I go to projects, I'm just going to organize these a little bit.
So, what I'm going to do is just put these in the right order here, I want to put my miscellaneous up here with the single actions, the someday/maybe, and now I want to go to another level and I want to create top level directories. So, what I can do is I'm going to create a new project and this is going to be TV Episodes and, once again, you don't have to use OmniFocus, you can do this with different piles of post-it notes but now I have all of my TV episodes listed, specific episodes inside this one project, can I can do the same thing with trailers, I can do the same thing with my own personal tasks, there are an infinite number of ways to slice this pie and organize it, it's all going to be based on what makes the most sense for you.
So, now, for all of the single actions, I want you to ask yourself similar to the concept that I talked about with email bankruptcy and cleaning up your inbox, how many of these are two minute actions. Are there things in here that you can probably do in less than two minutes? My advice would be to just do them, get them off your list, get it out of your head, and just get them out of the way so you can start focusing on the more complex single actions and then for all of the multiple actions, we've now sorted those into projects, and you start to get a little bit clearer sense of what needs to be done for each project and you don't feel like you have this giant brain dump of all these tasks.
So, once you start to break down your massive pile of single actions into projects, then the next step is to begin assigning specific contexts to your actions and that's something that I'm going to dive into in a later lesson on GTD.
- File management
- Time blocking
- Cleaning up your email inbox
- Organizing and prioritizing notifications
- Selecting apps to help you with task and time management
- Filtering email messages and paperwork
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.