Everyday we are presented with information and all that information is processed and prioritized using a 5 step method. The book The Art of Getting Things Done has taught me that I was not going about these 5 steps in the most effective ways. I am not always the best at remembering things and this book has really shown me different strategies regarding this 5 step model to help me be more effective when it comes to processing and prioritizing everything that gets thrown at me throughout the day. These 5 steps are as follows:
- Capture: This is the step where we are first presented with information. This is when we have to take in the information and then retain it for later. There are many different ways we can capture information and after reading the book The Art of Getting Things Done I have started to change the way that I go about this. Before reading the book I was relying on just my mind to capture things and remembering them. However after learning more about how poor our brains are at remembering all of this information, I have started to write things done all in one place in a notebook. This allows me to go over everything that I have captured for the day.
- Clarify: The next step in the process is to go through everything we have captured and ask ourselves two questions, What is it and is it actionable? From these two questions we can begin to group all the information we have gathered. This allows us to start to break down the information and really start to process what we are going to do with all of it.
- Organize: After we have begun to group the information we must now organize it all. The best way to do this is by creating physical containers. One way that the book had talked about and the way that I choose to organize my information is by creating physical lists. I transfer everything over from the note book where I writes things down initially over to a piece of paper where I write down my lists. These lists are my projects that need to get done within a month or two. Anything that needs to get done past two months I write down on a calendar so that I still have a way to remember that it is coming up but it is not as urgent.
- Reflect: next we have to remember to reflect. The book talks about how it is one thing to write things down and organize them into list but we still need to remember to actually do them when the time comes. One example the book gave was that if you needed to get milk at the store you can write it down on a list but you still need to remember to get it when you’re at the store. This is where reflecting comes in. One of the tools from the book that I have begun to use it the weekly reflection where every week I look at my lists and go over what needs to get done for the upcoming week. This allows me to review what I have coming up and allows me to re-prioritize after a busy week.
- Engage: The final step is where you must prioritize what you get done. There are three ways for us to do this however the one that I choose to use is the “Four Criteria Model”. This is where you look at 4 criteria to decide what to get done at any given time. The criteria are context(do you have everything you need to get it done?), time available(do you have enough time to get it done now?), energy available(do you have enough energy?), and priority given(what will you get the highest payoff for?).
If you follow these 5 steps when trying to process information as opposed to just trying to do it all with our brains, it will greatly improve your efficiency of getting things done and will most likely leave you less stressed with more time for other things.