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GTD Very First Steps

I'm a GTD beginner. I'm documenting this mostly for my sake, somewhat to capture how I started, somewhat to help get others started, and somewhat to seek general comments or constructive critism.

I just started using GTD literally finishing reading the book this morning. Here is how I started implementing GTD (earlier this week):

Step 1: Put all papers on desk into new In Box (big enough to fit a file folder flat, and about 6 inches high).

Step 2: Create a Reference/"To File" box (same size as "In Box")

Step 3: In my desk I have about a 10.5 inch space for hanging file folders. Here is where I will keep my Active files. I could have used a desk top "crate" if I need even faster access to it.

Step 4: Create Empty Lists:
Reference (for temporarily holding reference info)
- GTD does not specify a "Reference" list, but I currently have one item on it: the manufacturer and model number of a light fixture that I may purchase again in the future...allowed me to throw away the box).

Step 5: Create File Folders (for in-desk file):

Step 6: New Box (about 1 foot cubed) to hold "Someday/Maybe" items (smallish items hanging around that require repair)

Step 7: Create Initial Action Lists:
At Computer
Amazon (things I want to purchase)
Errands (things I drive to purchase/pick up)
House Work
Call List

Right now, I don't have a decent system for holding contacts or reference material. But that will come quickly I assume once I start getting things done. I'll eventually be looking to keep a lot of information on Windows Mobile Pocket PC.

Each of the lists (step 4 and step 7) is a single piece of paper titled as indicated and sitting on physically on my desk (in two groups cascaded to see the titles).

My self-imposed ground rule is that nothing goes in the "Someday/Maybe" box or the desk file without being annotated on one of the lists, except for the Reference file or Reference box (they do not need to be on a list).

I assign each active Project (as opposed to a "Someday/Maybe" project) a 2- or 3-letter code. I put any current actions that have no barriers onto one of the action lists and put the Project Code next to it. The Code will be a reminder that completing that action may trigger another action from the project--I can optionally review the project file to find the next action. This seems to me a decent shortcut (but NOT replacement) to the "Weekly Review" requirement to find next actions.

I assume that I'll be expanding each project with sequences of actions and plans (actions to do after the current project actions are complete) in the respective inner folder within the Projects in-desk hanging folder.

I have a list, file, and box. The list contains the title or short decription of the project or task and it is annotated "sm file" or "sm box" if there are additional materials in either the file or the box. Each Someday/Maybe file has its own inner (manilla) folder. There should be no someday/maybe project in the box or the file that is not on the list. Some Someday/Maybe projects do not have any items in the file or the box. These do not have a code.

As I process the In Box, I add items to the lists as I think of them. This processing jogs a lot of memories about what I had previously wanted to do, but not yet gotten to. I write down everything I think of during this process. If I think of a project (things that require multiple actions) that I haven't really started yet--as are most jogged memory items--it goes on the Someday/Maybe list. Things that are pressing, current, or time sensitive (and soon!) go on the Projects-Active list.

I'm about one quarter through my In Box and I haven't done a "Weekly Review"

My plan is to implement the lists on a PDA (probably using Pocket Informant and/or ListPro) at some point in the near future (Projects-Active-"GTI" GTD Implementation.

At some point, I imagine I'll have to brainstorm through doing a complete mind dump. But starting out without one allows me to clear my desk sooner and allows me to start following the lists sooner, getting things a little more under control.

I welcome comments, suggestions or discussion.

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