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Inbox overflow
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Posted: May 24, 2011
Score: -1 Reference
I use GTD to organize my life but sometimes my inbox starts to fill. At weekly reviews I can't find a place to put those items and then weekly reviews are gone altogether. Do you have that kind of experience and what do you do to cope with?


Posted: Jul 14, 2011
Score: -1 Reference

You posted this back in May. So you may no longer need this info. In case you do, here's some thoughts that have helped me re: bulging inboxes.

You said, "At weekly reviews I can't find a place to put those items and then weekly reviews are gone altogether."

Did you mean to say, "At daily reviews..."?

I think getting really good at daily reviews will help your weekly reviews. When you say, "I can't find a place to put those items," it could mean that you could invest a few extra moments on each item to convert them from a something that can't go anywhere to something specific that can go somewhere in your system. In the book, Getting Things Done (page 33 in my edition), the instructions for processing your inbox include a step called, "What is it?" that will help.

Example: Let's say your inbox has this item: "car tires." This item can't go on any GTD list yet because we don't know what it means, really. Do you need to buy new tires? Detail and polish your existing tires? Change the winter tires for the summer tires? Let's say you want to buy new tires.

You still don't have anything to put on a list. Your next step is to decide if it is actionable, if it takes more than one step, if the next action can be done in less than 2 minutes, the context for the next action, etc.

Often, this amount of rigor in processing our inbox items every day seems to take too much time. If this is how you have felt about it, recognize three things:

1) The amount of time that it takes to process your inbox and get clear is not that great compared with the number waking hours in your day. Most people, when they get up to speed, can process their inbox in as little as 30 minutes.

2) The benefit far outweighs the cost. The amount of ease and clarity you get from a good daily review make you so much more productive without pressure, calm and effective, and much more able to handle the interruptions and opportunities that always hit every day.

3) Good daily reviews make for smoother, manageable weekly reviews.



Posted: Jul 14, 2011
Score: 1 Reference
Michael, I hope your words help Gokce, they certainly help me. That's sound advice even for someone who has 'read the book'. It's good to be reminded.
If I could add one small thing that has helped me, it is to have a Project called Individual Actions. Some of the actionable items I find in my Inbox that don't belong to another project I put in there such as Buy Tires. Also, it's worth having a good look at Contexts to see that they really fit. If I see Buy Tires under the context @Calls, I know what I need to do.
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