GTD- Step 1 - Capture/ Collect

It's important to know what needs to be collected and how to collect it most effectively so you can review and process it at some point in the near future.

Basically, everything is already being collected, in the larger sense. If its not being directly managed in a trusted external system of yours, then its residing somewhere on your psyche. The fact that if you have not put something in your in-basket doesn't mean you haven't got it.


Collection Success factors:

Merely having a in-basket does not make it functional. Most people do have collection devices but they are totally out of control. To make sure that you are in control you must fulfill these three requirements:


  1. Every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head.

  2. You must have as few collection buckets as you can get by with

  3. You must empty them regularly.




The Collection Tools

There are several types of collection tools, both low- and high-tech, that can be used to collect your incompletes. The following can all serve as versions of an in-basket, capturing self-generated input as well as information coming from outside:

  • Physical in-basket- for all the loose paper- bills, memos, notes, flyers

  • Paper-based note-taking devices- spiral bound books, planners, notepads

  • Electronic note taking devices-Outlook, productivity apps, reminder lists

  • Voice recording devices-digital recorders, voice activated devices

  • E-mail- multiple accounts

Empty your Buckets regularly

If you don’t empty and process the stuff you have been collecting, your buckets aren't serving any function. It is like having garbage cans that are never emptied and so we just have to keep buying new ones.

Emptying your buckets does not mean you have to finish handling all your mails; it just means you have to take it out of the container and decide what it is that you need to do about it, and, if it is unfinished, organise it into your system.

These collection tools should become part of your life-style. Keep them close to you and think of them as essentials just like your drivers license, wallet or toothbrush.

The more you start to trust the system the more you would use it, the lesser would be on your mind and you will find yourself more alert, focused and present in the moment.

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