What is stuff, where does it come from and what should you do with it? The ‘Collect’ phase.What is stuff, where does it come from and what should you do with it?

Stuff is all over. One of the basic principles of GTD is get everything out of your head, into a trusted system. I’ll explain more about my trusted system in a separate post.

Stuff is anything that you have allowed into your life (logical or physical), that doesn’t belong where it actually is, and you haven’t defined the desired outcome yet. It can occur to you in digital format, paper, email, voicemail, a small note you found in your jacket or it might be just stuff in your head.

But what does get it out of your head actually means? We’ll its a simple as can be, get it out of your head, and put in on paper. You can decide what you do with the paper later, but first get it from your head to a paper.

When my wife explained her ‘’lists’ to me, I laughed. She inherited this behaviour of making lists from her father who has worked as a HR manager. The reason I laughed with this was because the methodology was not the correct one for me. She worked with a Todo list, and for me a simple todo list doesn’t work. I needed more.

Now, how can you empty your personal in-basket (your head) and actually do something with it? Put it on paper. The moment you put it on paper, it’s out of your mind.
And maybe you know, but your mind has no idea of time. Is has no clue of today, tomorrow or in a few months. The moment you open a loop (you start by engaging yourself to do something), it reacts like you should be doing that all the time, until it is marked as complete. Imagine what that does when you open 2 loops. Or maybe you are a crazy maker and your mind thinks you should be handling 50 tasks or 1000.

May I suggest you stop reading for 3 minutes and  execute this exercise : write down 5 current things that are on your mind at this moment. Really think good about it.

When you have written this small list down, how did you feel? I bet you felt some degree of positive emotion like relief, release, but possibly you also felt felt frustration, guilt, panic fear,… Isn’t it very strange that you can have such an opposite feeling by doing exactly the same exercise.

Welcome to the collection phase :-). After you have written it all down to paper you have to put it in one place. This can be a plastic tray, or if you have lots of stuff gathered a box. We call this place IN.

You have to collect anything in your environment that lays somewhere. All the papers, notes, receipts, business cards that are widely spread allover, should be put in the IN-basket.

When everything is gatered in IN, you have to process it. This means that you have to perform several actions on this pile of paper. This is the next phase in the 5 phases process of GTD. The process phase.Stuff is all over. One of the basic principles of GTD is get everything out of your head, into a trusted system. I’ll explain more about my trusted system in a separate post.

Stuff is anything that you have allowed into your life (logical or physical), that doesn’t belong where it actually is, and you haven’t defined the desired outcome yet. It can occur to you in digital format, paper, email, voicemail, a small not you found in your jacket or it might be just stuff in your head.

But what does get it out of your head actually means? We’ll its a simple as can be, get it out of your head, and put in on paper. You can decide what you do with the paper later, but first get it from your head to a paper.

When my wife explained her ‘’lists’ to me, I laughed. She inherited this behaviour of making lists from her father who has worked as a HR manager. The reason I laughed with this was because the methodology was not the correct one for me. She worked with a Todo list, and for me a simple todo list doesn’t work. I needed more.

Now, how can you empty your personal in-basket (your head) and actually do something with it? Put it on paper. The moment you put it on paper, it’s out of your mind.
And maybe you know, but your mind has no idea of time. Is has no clue of today, tomorrow or in a few months. The moment you open a loop (you start by engaging yourself to do something), it reacts like you should be doing that all the time, until it is marked as complete. Imagine what that does when you open 2 loops. Or maybe you are a crazy maker and your mind thinks you should be handling 50 tasks or 1000.

May I suggest you stop reading for 3 minutes and  execute this exercise : write down 5 current things that are on your mind at this moment. Really think good about it.

When you have written this small list down, how did you feel? I bet you felt some degree of positive emotion like relief, release, but possibly you also felt felt frustration, guilt, panic fear,… Isn’t it very strange that you can have such an opposite feeling by doing exactly the same exercise.

Welcome to the collection phase :-). After you have written it all down to paper, you have to process it. This means that you have to execute a list of actions on this pile of paper. The next phase in the 5 phases process of GTD. This is for a next post.

About Patrick Sledz

Patrick works as a consultant. He assists organizations to deliver SharePoint business value and create the awareness in these organizations that only a strong technical team is not sufficient to deliver this added value.
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