Saturday, May 7, 2011

Daily Review 4: How To Get Through Your GTD Daily Review Checklist Everyday

In today's member's only podcast at the bottom of this post, I wanted to talk about how to get through your GTD daily review checklist everyday. I'm guessing that for many of you, you haven't started compiling your list of inboxes yet. Nor have you started to work through the steps you need to do to get each inbox empty AND record them on paper. If you haven't, I suggest that you start doing it today to get it off your mind. Getting everything out of your head means everything, even the mundane and routine steps you take on a daily basis. As you go through your processing, have a pad of paper next to you to start writing these steps down. Don't worry about perfection at this point. Just get started. Fine tuning will come along shortly. Reorder the lists and add or subtract steps as needed.

Once you have developed a working daily review checklist, the first thing that I suggest is that you print it out and have it where you can see it. That's the thing about these checklists. They are easy to hide. Do whatever you have to do to keep it in front of you. One day down the road, this checklist will form the basis of our master checklist. I want you to picture an NFL football coach on the sidelines carrying that big white laminated piece of paper that tells the coach what to do in any given game situation. When it's 3rd and 2, they have already thought about what they want to do prior to the situation occurring. They do this so they don't have to keep it in their head and also so they don't have to think about what the best decision is in the heat of the moment. They have already decided what to do. This should be your goal. A master checklist that manages your life the same way is required of a black belt gtd'er. So the first step after you have created your list is to HAVE IT IN FRONT OF YOU. I also suggest a hard copy so you can take notes on how to improve your checklist.

Once you manage to get that far, your next challenge is to get through it. It's here where I know a lot of people can get hung up. That's why you've got to structure your list from easiest to hardest and with your physical inbox LAST. I recommend this because if you are a kind of person that has a tough time getting things moving, ticking off some easy stuff creates momentum to get through the tougher stuff. Each day, get as far as you can on your list. Then, since you know you are strong enough to get that far, make sure that you get at least that far through your checklist the next day PLUS get a little farther.

There are two other things that I think impact your ability to get through your list. If you are just starting your collection process, you'll most likely have a huge backlog of stuff sitting in your inboxes. This can be overwhelming. What I would say you should do if you are just starting out with your GTD system, is set all that "stuff" in a secondary inbox. I use to carry a bigger inbox around with me of stuff that needed to get done but that wasn't urgent and work on reducing it slowly. Each week during my weekly review, I spend that time cleaning taking some of that stuff out of my secondary inbox and throw some of it in my main inbox and process it through the system. I also made a commitment that anything new that came in was processed right away so that my backlog didn't grow. This secondary inbox allows you to start with what I call a "clean" system. It's much easier to start from zero.

The other thing that's important is that you have to have your buckets set up. You have to have your lists in place, your calendar, your waiting for. This is crucial. Part of the reason I always had stacks of papers is because I never had a place to put them. Having these buckets in place, makes paper flow out of your inbox much easier.

That's about it for today regarding your GTD daily review checklist. In upcoming lessons, I'll talk more about getting through it daily and how to fine tune it. I also start talking more about the buckets. In the members podcast at the end of this post, I'm also going to talk about setting the membership part of this site up as a living gtd project as well.

If you aren't a member you won't see the podcast below. To join, click the link at the top of the page.

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[S3AUDIO file='audio/drpodcast4.mp3']

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