By the end of this summary, you'll get a quick overview after you read my Art Of Getting Things Done Summary. This book works with tons of high performing executives and the book is worth getting if you are not getting all of the things you want finished or you need bulletproof system for organizing your tasks. If you're looking for a ton of book summaries, you should check this financial blogger out.
The first step of getting things done is to pull things out of your brain.
Collect 100% of everything.
Lets you see all of the things and the big picture. Having a 100% goal lets you know that there is a the end of the road" sort of feeling that you can accomplish.
Keeping it a 100% goal and just focusing on collection reduces your distractions so as you will think of more things,you can just add to stack.
How to start collecting all of your tasks and notes
You want to first search in your physical environment for anything that is not supposed to be there the way it is. So unless its supposed to be there permanently all unfinished things and decisions all go in your intake stack.
These things should and can stay: Supplies, reference material, decoration, equipment.
If it is everything you own, write an itemized list for that.
Even if you have an "organized list" if you've done this before, it all goes to the same IN stack.
Even if you find something that MUST BE DEALT WITH,… and you start thinking FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I MUST STOP WHAT IM DOING AND FINISH THIS…
Add it to your intake stack. It just makes that urgency more real and you'l bring 100% to be processed later on. You'll find it might take a few days – and you do not want to stay stuck on this task.
Here are some extra ideas where to seek things to add to your intake stack.
Obviously start with your Desk and digital notes, Desk Drawers, Counter tops, Inside Cabinets…
Consider the Floors, walls, shelves, bulletin boards, cork boards…
Then check binders, equipment, furniture, fixtures, in your car…
I once found a checklist unfinished in the side compartment of my car.
Then have a Triggers List… things you can go through where you can read to trigger an Oh, shit, almost forgot that! Here's a list on what things you should look at so you can do a mind sweep.
You'll find that your brain will be clearer and quieter so you can be more and more effective.
As you pull everything from your brain clears your brain, you enter a conscious state called flow.
Start by pulling everything.
Start with the one that's on your mind, the most urgent
Write the end in mind, and write down the next action needed to get to that goal
Review ALL notes and new system.
Collect thing, process, organize, review, do
Do each step fully, in waves
100% of all placeholders.Everything. All things.
For me, I have a lot of sources. Physical notes in an intake basket, emails between clients, this content post I'm writing, random evernote digital notes, and so on.
Have as few of these centralized sources, and empty often.
Here's what I have down in an excel list. I can add to this list with a little plugin on my phone that adds to the list. This is what it looks like.
PMP track hours
Track all excel files
Update Zoho CRM and add notes
Make Presentation for BNI
Setup Quick books Finances and Accounting
Figure out the new tax law for Online Sales
Write Bullet points on why exclusive affiliate prices with our agency
Offer Rev Share on All Projects to Team
You get it.
Again: First thing is to Collect info somewhere and aggregate this in single list if possible.
Digital notes -> Google Sheets
Evernote-> Google Sheets
Cellphone "Add to Evernote"->Google Sheets
Email CC to this user->Google Sheets
(Others, Contact Form->Google Sheets
Other Excel and Google Sheets -> Google Sheets
Collect Everything that needs to be collected. Notes. Etc. For me it goes to Google Sheets.
100% of everything.
THEN you're ready for the second step.
The second step of getting things done is to process all of your notes
Once you have collected 100% of all the things on your mind, you need to process all of your notes.
Process this new information, and do it all in one go. Just process all in one go. Do it.
Is it actionable? -> NO -> Trash/Incubate/Reference
If it IS actionable -> DO it right now if its quick OR Write in a Excel Board the outcome & next action needed.
If multiple actions, add to PROJECT, come to later to flesh out. Planning THEN Plans
If its under 2 minutes, just do it. You'll find 50% of your lists might be able to be completed within a few hours if you simply just do as you go.
If its not important, DELEGATE it out. Have your team handle it, or outsource it to Fiverr.
If Important, Defer it. Set your task in your calendar for you to do.
Keep doing this until you're able to really organize what you've processed.
How to do the third step in the Art of Getting Things Done
When you have your defered tasks and projects, you need to set aside time to do them. If you don't you simply will not get them done.
Just add it to calendar and set a specific, time, day, and add the first part of the task. No need to go overboard.
If its a project, add the main outcome, and the first obvious next action.
Go for simplicity, speed, and fun.
If its something not actionable, add it to a specific folder for incubation aka "when I want to get ideas or store my thoughts and musings". This can be your inspiration file,
Other folders could be potential hires or people you wish you met. Agendas of meetings you'd like to have and quickly go over.
Whatever you use, this refernce system needs to EASILY find. Your gmail inbox isn't the best solution, but you need to find docs within seconds. I like Google Drive for this as its integrated pretty well.
Reviewing is the fourth step of the Art of Getting Things Done
Do a daily or Weekly review of your system. Tune it. Get rid of trash and update it with what you need to do. Prioritize.
Add all notes on standby and go through the steps to prioritize them.
Do this based on context, time, energy, or priority.
Some people keep together a set of ideas, concepts, and things. You really just need to organize your office location.
File cabinet is the 1st thing to organize. The absolute FIRST.
You might need some office supplies such as paper clips, binders, staplers, scotch, rubber bands, labeler, file folders, calendar, and a wastebasket. That's really what just constitutes an office.
Keep everything at hands reach in your office. Universal.
David Allen recommends an A-Z system and not by specific categories..
But you could order your system by Topic, Project, Person, or Company and alphabetize them.
So can be in 3-4 places if you forget the tag.
Put it in brackets, A-E, F-L, M-P, Q-Z.
Keep tons of fresh folders with you.
And keep your drawer and file cabinet about 25% empty. If it starts to flow out, then you have some trash to throw out.
Purge Files once a year, at least.
After processes, you'll trashed what you don't need.
Completed any less than two minute actions
Anything is to be handed off to others anything that can be delegated
Sorted into your own organization system reminders that require more than 2 minutes,
Identify any larger commitments, projects, based on inputs, and move it to the right plan folder.
When you pick up something, you figure out what the outcome is, and what the next action is, and put it in a column
You can add these to Trello/Asana columns or a Kanban Style board so your organization can see whats important for you.
Calls, Errands, Agendas, At Computer, etc
Process top item first, one at a time, never put anything BACK in.
Everything gets processed in the same speed, same rate.
LIFO vs FIFO, if you do it, you'll be fine. Or just flip it upside down if it doesnt make a mess..
One at a time.
For trash, if you're in doubt, keep it and stick to t hat rule.
Or.. if you're in doubt, throw it out.
Or just take a picture and put it in "Stasis" in Asana.
When holding the item, and its actionable, write the next physical actionable step, and store.
Delegate if you're not the most appropriate person to do the action.
Track items as voicemail
Here are a ton of Categories for task list building
A Projects List
Project Support Material
Calendared action and information
next actions list
a waiting for list
a someday/maybe list
Emails to Make
*takes a breather*
-make sure to split notes with reference info
last thing is tickler file, for ideas
things to get
things to see/do
Cds to buy
movies to see
websites to go to
ideas – misc
Don't Store Everything
And anything Misc goes to a catch-all MISC folder of things you do want to keep.
*takes another breather*
Phew, ok. Just some ideas, you know?
The final step to the art of getting things done
Its all there, ready for you to do.
Are you ready for it?
Here's the final step:
Just do it.
Utilize the weird little windows in your day that you get.
Stuck in traffic? Make calls!
Find the calls agenda, and call call call.
Doing and completing tasks lets you look must more trusted.
Trust is built on being able to do what you say.
If you say you're going to fail, you can redeem by recrudescence.
Doing what you say you do is how you build trust.
Trust leads to great work. More trust = More great Work
More great work -> Legendary Trust
GET TO IT.