Friday, May 6, 2011

Daily Review 3: How To Start Making Your GTD Daily Review Checklist

OK. Another daily review article and podcast. Today I wanted to talk about how to start making your GTD daily review checklist. If you have been following along and have made your inbox checklist, it's now time to start recording the steps you take to get each of those inboxes to empty and begin putting them into a list of steps you will take each day. I do this for two reasons. The first is that it takes a few more things out of my head and puts them onto paper. This means less mental baggage you have to carry around. The other thing that it does is that it makes you stop and think about each of the steps you take get an inbox to empty and decide if it's really necessary or if there is a better way. An additional benefit is that once you have a complete and thorough checklist, you are in a much better position to delegate those tasks to someone else if you need to. I like to call this process franchising yourself. The reason that I call it that is because most franchises come with complete manuals of exact step by step instructions on how to do everything to run it successfully. You want to do the same.

So, let's have a look at part of my checklist and see how this might work for you. Let's say that the first thing on my list is to get handle my snail mail boxes. Initially, I would have a list of my mailboxes already as we have discussed. It would look like this:

  • Mailbox 12814

  • Mailbox 11650

  • Mailbox 9801


In my case, I have three mail boxes that I need to check. Now in my head, I know what to do so technically my GTD system would run fine if I didn't record the actions I need to take, but as a black belt, I prefer that I record those actions onto a daily review checklist. So my list of action steps will look like this:

  • Go by mailbox 12814 and get mail

  • Go by mailbox 11650 and get mail

  • Go by mailbox 9801 and get mail

  • Sort through all mail and separate out all trash

  • Sort through all mail and separate all things that need to be shredded

  • Sort through all mail and separate all things that need to be filed

  • Sort through all mail and separate out all things that require action

  • Do the items that can be done in under two minutes

  • Put the action items in my workstation inbox

  • Throw away the trash

  • Shred the items that need to be shredded

  • File the items that need to be filed


So, you can see that for me, I have a few more steps than meets the eye here. Now, for many people they won't go to this level of detail to break down their inboxes, but I do it for each one on my list and you should too.

At first, your GTD daily checklist might act as what is called a READ-DO checklist. This means you would read each step and then do it. Later, once you know your GTD checklist like the back of your hand, it will turn into a READ-REVIEW checklist where you'll do everything on your checklist and then review it when you are done to make sure that you didn't forget anything.

I'll spend some more time talking about this in my daily podcast for members including a little discussion on what profession make the best use of checklist in my opinion.

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