Personal Productivity

How to Organize your Productivity Workflow

wrote this on June 28, 2011 / 2 comments

Over the past week, I have spent some time to personalize my workspace in order to follow David Allen’s GTD strategies. In particular, I focused on the how to “Organize” part, where he discusses how to handle new pieces of information after you’ve processed them. In his book, he provides a diagram on page 36 – the outer portion of the diagram is what I’ve been working on.

So, let’s go through how I’ve used my IQTELL Workspace to handle each of those items. (In a post that I’ll publish soon, I’ll describe how I use IQTELL to process everything that comes into my Inbox).

Not Actionable Items

Trash – This is a very easy one. If I’ve determined that something should be trashed and taken out of my workflow, I simply delete it from my Workspace.

Someday/Maybe – David Allen talks about delegating some non-actionable items into an “Incubation” system. To keep thing simply for myself, I use my “Notes” App to handle all of my incubating things. I created two sub-folders in my “Notes” App for this.

The first one is called, “Someday/Maybe.” This sub-folder is barebones; I simply give each item a short description and, as time goes by, I add new information as it comes along. I keep these items organized by selecting categories within the folder so I can quickly see work-related versus personal items.

The second sub-folder is called “Tickler File.” The “Notes” App has a field called, “Follow-up Date” which is perfect for my Tickler items. Every time I add an item to this folder, I assign it a Follow-up Date and set myself a an IQTELL Reminder based on that date. The reminder can be sent via email or even to my phone as a text message.

Reference – My entire IQTELL Workspace is a searchable, customizable Reference file. Anything (and everything) that can be digitized can be added and organized into the proper IQ Application. If it’s a file, I save it to my “Documents” App. If it’s information about an upcoming business trip, I save it to the “My Travels” App. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. I try to scan, download or at least make a note everything so it’s easily found in my IQTELL Workspace.

Actionable Items

Projects– This is one area of my system that I actually completely personalized. I created a “Projects” App in my Workspace to handle these items quickly and easily. I give each project a short description, add the people I’m working with on the project and I upload all of the support material I need (documents, websites, and references to other items in my Workspace) to complete this project. I can give each of my Projects a simple workflow of its own (“Unscheduled”, “In Progress”, “Completed”, etc.).

 

Waiting– Any item that I’m waiting for someone else to complete, I create a Task and assign it to them. That way, I am able to keep track of what is in the pipeline, but does not yet need any action by me. If I need to follow-up with that person on a certain date, I will add a “Due Date” to the Task so I’m reminded to follow-up.

 

Calendar – The Calendar is mostly explanatory, but any item that has with it a specific date or time when it needs my attention, I create a Task and create a Reminder based on that date/time. Once again, the key is to get it out of my head and into a system that I trust.
Next Actions – Here, I use David Allen’s concept of keeping the project’s workflow going forward by concentrating on my Next Actions. I can create one or more actions in my Next Actions list. Since

IQTELL is integrated, all the information in my general Projects folder is linked to my Next Actions. Everything is in one place, including any emails that may be related to this project.

 

Building the GTD workflow into IQTELL

* GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company. IQTELL is not affiliated with the David Allen Company.

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