Organizing: Step Two of Getting Things Done

After you collect everything in your brain that has been nagging you, you will need to do something with all of that stuff that has been rattling around in your brain. That is where this step comes in. Take all of the lists that you have so diligently written down in the first step and start to ask some questions about them. This chart has been immensely helpful for me in processing all of the stuff in my life.

One of the most important concepts in this chart is “is this actionable?” Actionable means, “can I do something with this right now, or is it a blob of confusing undoability? Something like “Get healthy” isn’t actionable. Make it something simpler like “Eat a salad for lunch today instead of a Big Mac” or “Go to the rec for an hour at 5pm.”


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The important concept in this chart is the “do, delegate, defer” question. If the thing that’s on your list will take less than two minutes, go ahead and do it. Send that email or text. Pay that electricity bill.

If you cannot do the task in less than two minutes it may mean that you ned someone else to do it, or need input from someone else. These are tasks that you will delegate to someone else.

If you cannot do it now, and you don’t need help from someone else, you will need to defer the task for later. This could be just later today when you go to the library, or it could be two months from now. When you defer a task, put it in your calendar or planner for a day and a time, and stick to doing it then. 

Once you have your “stuff” collected and organized you will be ready to start the next step of the process. Tomorrow we will discuss the review section of the method, probably the most important and life-changing step.

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