Tuesday, December 14, 2004

GTD: Collection part 2
Well, I finished the "Mind Sweep" at about 6pm tonight. It was harder than I thought it would be. For one thing, it takes some serious concentration to try to think through every area of your life to see where the undone things are. David lists about 230 possible places in one's life where there might be "open loops" (uncompleted tasks/projects) lurking to help trigger the remembering.

I found that if I concentrated really hard on thinking of open loops the progress was kind of slow. But if I could think of a few in a row, then they would come much more quickly, until I would get distracted and the spell was broken. Two analogies come to mind for this: One is the stargazing phenomena where in order to see a dim star, you have to look to the side of it, rather than directly at it. The other is the kind of gaze one needs when sparring: "soft focus." Rather than concentrating all your focus on a particular body part of your opponent (eyes, shoulders, sternum), your gaze encompasses the entire body, enabling you to kind of peripherally view all possible movement. It's when you get distracted and concentrate your focus on a particular body part (like the fist moving toward you) that you get knocked on your rear (by Chacho's hooking back-kick).

Anyway, there was a great deal to think through while doing the Mental RAM dump. I filled up almost a half of a ream of paper (recycled) during the dump. There's some redundancy in the in-box piles. That's because there was so much stuff I was trying to remember, I sometimes couldn't remember in hour four if I'd written down X in hour one. So I wrote it down anyway, just to be on the safe side.

I also printed off everything in my digital Palm memo/to-do lists, which took about 1/3 a ream of paper. In the last GTD post, Katie commented that she couldn't imagine trying to do this with her email. Me neither. And neither does David. He recommends that emails in your digital in-box stay in your email programs inbox.

So, at the end of the day today I have two in-boxes: one physical, one digital. As far as I could manage, everything that I have to do, or want to do, from tomorrow to someday in the dim future, is in one of those two in-boxes.

Tomorrow I'll begin the "Processing" part of this journey. David promises that when I'm done with that step I'll have:
1 - trashed what I don't need
2 - completed any less-than-two-minute actions
3 - handed off to others anything that can be delegated [watch out, staff team!]
4 - sorted into my own organizing system reminders of actions that require more than two minutes
5 - indentified any larger committments (projects) that I now have
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