GTD – Back to basics 1 – Collecting stuff


In this first post of the GTD Back To Basics Series we’ll be looking at all the “stuff” you might have laying around – both physical and mental – and how to collect it in order to process it later.

GTD – Back to basics 1: Collecting stuff
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Today sees the start of a new series on Getting Things DoneGTD: back to basics.

Some of you may be new to Getting Things Done, others more familiar with it and its terminology however sometimes it’s worth revisting everything for a little refresher to help us refocus and “Stay on the wagon”.

In this first post we’ll discuss the first step of the Getting Things Done process, “Collecting Stuff”.

What is Stuff?

Stuff is literally anything that clogs up your brain, taking your focus away from what you should (or could) be doing.

Stuff can take many forms, it could be physical (that pile of paperwork on your desk, or the bills that you need to pay) or mental (the nagging voice reminding you to do something that you never seem to get around to).

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Basically stuff is anything that’s screaming to get your attention, that gives you a sense of guilt over not doing, makes you procrastinate or that keeps you awake at night.

How do you collect this stuff?

Dedpending on the type of stuff it is there are2 methods:

Physical Stuff

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Get yourself a nice big container (or containers) and literally dump everything that’s outstanding into it. All of the letters, bills, receipts, magazines, books that are viying for your attention should get dumped into the collecting bucket so that you can go through it later.

Mental Stuff

Mental stuff is anything that’s floating around your head and that pops up when you least want it to – like when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Get yourself a nice big piece of paper or a pad and start writing everything down that crosses your mind. It can be quite difficult sometimes to think of things we should be writing down so here’s a quick list to get you started:

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  • Appointents to make (doctors, lawyer, kids school)
  • Letters to write
  • Emails to send
  • Phone calls to make
  • Films to see/rent
  • Books to borrow/buy
  • Shopping you need to get

Don’t worry about categorising any of this stuff at the moment, just get it all out of your head and onto paper.

Pretty soon, when you’ve got everything down, you’ll start to feel a lot better about yourself. Personaly, when I did my first sweep for stuff I had the best nights sleep I’d had in a long time! Just knowing that I was starting to collect stuff made me feel a lot more relaxed and at ease.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Dealing with all your stuff.

About The Author
Katy is always trying to be more productive one day at a time! Whether it's analogue, digital, motivational or psychological who'll try any system that will help her get things done and get organised. As well as running, she also loves making music and reviewing things.
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