Tuesday, June 2, 2009

GTD Daily Review Checklist

OK. So, now we've wrote down some things we want to review each day and it's time to go over how to set up your GTD daily review checklist. Over the past three posts, I've been working through developing a list of things that I want to do to lay the ground work for what will end up being my GTD daily review checklist which you can basically use as your to do list template. Let's review where I am so far.

My GTD Checklist (The To Do List)



  • Get mail from 11650

  • Get mail from 1508

  • Get mail from 12814

  • Pick a nice spot to put everything

  • Make sure I have a trash can

  • Gather all stuff from the car (my largest inbox)

  • Check glove compartment

  • Check trunk of car

  • Collect all papers from inbox and all supplies from butler's pantry

  • Remove all papers from inbox and supplies from from briefcase

  • Make sure I have all capture tools and put in my inbox

  • Look around house or hotel for loose items

  • Separate all supplies and non actionable stuff

  • Put all actionable stuff in a stack back in the inbox

  • Throw away all trash, shredding as needed

  • Put away all supplies, reference material and other miscellaneous items

  • Sort out all trash and throw it away

  • Sort out all items that need to be shredded and shred them

  • Sort out all things that can be filed

  • File all items that need to be filed

  • Put all papers that require action in my inbox

  • Empty voicemail 6116

  • Empty voicemail 3775

  • Empty voicemail 6328

  • Empty voicemail 8582

  • Empty voicemail 9693

  • Get my pen

  • Get my capture tool

  • Go to computer

  • Check first voicemail box

  • Write down messages

  • Delete messages

  • Repeat for the next voicemail

  • Open google

  • Open email

  • Open basecamp

  • Return calls

  • Check unknown numbers in google

  • Put any calls I can't return now on my calls list in the format RET: Caller Phone Number RE: Subject

  • Delegate items

  • Do any items I can do now and if not put them on the appropriate next action list.

  • Tear out and shred cards

  • Clear the voicemail alert on the phone if necessary

  • Empty text message 8582

  • Empty text message 9693

  • Check text messages inbox

  • Reply to any unreplied text messages

  • Delegate any next actions

  • Note any next actions I need to do on the appropriate next actions list

  • Clear any additional sent folders, draft folders and pending folders as well as picture mail and other sms mail

  • Clear alerts from phone

  • Repeat for next text message inbox


The best way to create your list is to ask yourself one simple question which is: What's next? And then put it on your list. Don't worry about making it perfect the first time. You will tweak it. You will add to it, move things around, etc. That's exactly what I am going to do here as we are just now developing the foundation for it.

The Best To Do List Software


I keep my daily getting things done to do list in Microsoft Word. I use checkboxes instead of bullet points. This gives me the ability to make a printable to do list that I can refer to easily and write on to revise as necessary. For some of my lists, I also use Basecamp for alot of my online to do list but for my actually GTD daily review, I like Word because of the formating options it provides. It just makes it look nicer.

How To Use The Daily Review To Do List


Each day, start your work with your to do list. This is your roadmap to successfully accomplishing more each day. The beauty of making this kind of checklist is that you have already thought about exactly what it is that you want to accomplish each day and you won't have to think about

I think the process of making a checklist as we are doing here, is a crucial step to what is really Black Belt GTD. The reason I feel that way, is because part of Getting Things Done is getting everything out of your head. A huge amount of what we do each day is remember all of the tasks we need to do. All of these activites when boiled down to a checklist, reduce the amount we have to remember.

Once set up, here is what I do:

  • Each day, I start at the beginning of my checklist.

  • I make any modifications to my to do list, adding, deleting and reorganizing it as I see ways to optimize it.

  • I work my way through the list one step at a time and get as far as I can.

  • I try and get farther each day.

  • I get my to do list complete with all of the activities I want to do each day

  • Once I get through the list, I then work on improving my speed


This type of development of your to do list accomplishes to things:

  1. It helps you define what black belt GTD looks like for your system.

  2. It tells you at exactly what level of black belt you are.


Let's say I start my list out for the day and I get through getting my voicemail to zero each day without fail but I fail to clear out my text messages or get any further down my list. At that point, I would be a black belt at the voice mail level in my system.

Your goal then in deciding how to set up your to do list, is to create it so that it is complete and in the most effective and efficient order you can make it. Then, work through it each day, improving the depth and the speed at which you get through it.

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