I am a list addict!  I admit it.  For as far back as I can remember I have used technology and processes to be more productive and more efficient.

For as far back as I can remember I have used technology and processes to be more productive and more efficient.

How many times per day do you remind yourself of things you must not forget to do? How many times do you find yourself with a long list of stuff to get done but no idea as to what needs to be done next?

We live our lives in a permanent state of information overload with tasks to complete, things to remember, articles to read and so much more.  We have tasks across a wide range of topics such as work, family, hobbies, personal all fighting to be prioritised and as such our minds are overwhelmed, and we become non-productive.

What would you say if I told you that there is an essential process that not only gets me organised but also allows me the headspace to think productively and as such reduce my stress levels on a day to day basis?

Before I begin, this is the first of many articles that will help you put in place a trusted system on which you can rely.

With this system in place, you will quickly become more productive.

BACKGROUND

When I was a lot younger, I read a book by David Allen called Get Things Done (GTD for short).  David is a very compelling writer and spoke in depth about putting in place a process or system for becoming more productive and I, in turn, became an advocate of his method.

In this post, I will outline the key steps in Davids productivity method. However, it’s such a huge topic, and David’s website has an incredible amount of reference material and valuable insights so I would recommend you take a look over there if you want to know more (GetThingsDone.com)

So, let’s jump right into the method,

1 - Capture

Collect what has your attention

2 - Clarify

Process what it means

3 - Organise

Put it where it belongs

4 - Reflect

Review it regularly

5 - Engage

Do it

1 – CAPTURE

First up we need a “Trusted System” that allows us to capture all of our to-do’s, projects, things to handle or finish. This could be a notepad, filing system, in tray or software product. Right now what you use doesn’t matter (and is a topic for another post!) as long as you trust it.

I talk a lot about trusted systems because the key to my productivity is getting all of the thoughts out of my head quickly and into something that I can later look back on. Once the thoughts are out of my head, I don’t have to remember them all anymore. This in itself frees up so much headspace it really is unbelievable.

2 – CLARIFY

Take everything that you captured and ask “is it actionable?”. If not then either bin it, postpone it or file it for future reference.

If the item is already actionable, then decide on the next action required. If that action will take less than two minutes to complete then get on with it now!

If the next action will take more than two minutes, either pass it off to someone else (delegate) or put it in a list for later.

03 – ORGANISE

Here’s where we start to get really smart. Organise your actions into lists. For example, create a list for calls to make, jobs to do, shopping to buy, emails to send, etc.

This is called contextualising, which ensures that you can always pick tasks based on what you are doing (after all it’s pointless looking at your shopping list if you are sat at your desk).

4 – REFLECT

Lists are a pointless exercise if you do not review them.  I look at my lists first thing in the morning to establish what needs to be done in the day. I also review my lists once per week to make sure that they are still relevant. A couple of times per day I also brain dump anything new that I haven’t captured so that I can empty my head.

5 – ENGAGE

With your lists in place, you can be confident that for any given circumstance whether you are sat at your desk, hopping in between meetings or sat in an airport lounge waiting for a flight that there are things you can be getting done.

THAT IS IT!

Relax, you now have a reliable system that will allow you to capture your thoughts and put them into actionable lists that can be used wherever you are. You really ought to put your feet up now and have a well-earned cup of tea!

Before you go though, please check out my other blog posts on productivity where I talk about tools and automation to really supercharge my productivity.

Also, if you get the chance, please do check out David Allen’s website, he really is a very compelling author and speaker.

For now, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that you are looking forward to being more productive and less stressed out!