Over the rest of this series, we’ve examined how to use Office 365, mainly Outlook and OneNote, to implement David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. You learned how to capture thoughts into a trusted system, how to determine what outcomes you were committed to producing and how to break those down into manageable actions you’d be reminded of when the time and resources to accomplish them were available. In truth, that’s all you need, but here are a few other tips and tricks you can use to streamline things a bit.
- Learn and use keyboard shortcuts. It’s a lot easier to capture something quickly into OneNote if you don’t have to switch away from what you’re doing. By default, Windows-N creates a new Quick Note from anywhere in Windows when you need to get a thought down quickly.
- Review as often as you need to, but no less than once a week. It’s really easy to put off the weekly review, but if you do this even once you’ll find your system starting to get out of control. The whole point of this is to keep things off your mind, and you can only do that if you trust that you’ve considered everything and already decided what to do with it.
- Do your review early in the day. Decision fatigue is a real thing. You only have so much decision making power in your brain every day, and if you wait too late to do your review, you may not have enough brain juice to make the decisions necessary to make it work.
- Keep your contexts to a minimum. You will be tempted to divide and subdivide context lists to keep your list size small. This is a rabbit hole. Contexts exist to filter out things you can’t do because you don’t have access to the requisite resources. The reason you want as few as you can get away with is that the more lists you have, the less likely you are to actually look at them. You probably don’t need a Garage list if Home will suffice.
- When in doubt, read the book. A lot of the questions David Allen gets about GTD he answers by saying, “Actually, that’s in the book.” If you haven’t read Getting Things Done in a while, reread it now from cover to cover. You will almost certainly pick up things that you didn’t notice before. I do every time I read it, which I’ve been doing since 2003.
Jeff Kirvin, PEI
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