General Task Collection Triggers
I mentioned task collection as a GTD concept in my post about the Second Quadrant of the Time Management Matrix. I find this to be an utterly invaluable experience, and even MORE valuable when done on a regular basis. The last time I read Getting Things Done, I copied his list of common task collection triggers and sliced, diced, re-worded and added to it until I came up with something that worked for me. Doing this has given me a reliable method to use when I need to stop and collect everything I need to accomplish in the next X amount of time.
This is the list of triggers that I use to make sure I don't forget about important tasks. Please note that the list provided in David Allen's book is FAR more complete. This is just my list:
- Follow-Up Communication (look at my recent sent-items)
- Upcoming Events (check calendar)
- Borrowed Items
- R&D - things to do
- Areas to organize/clean
- Vehicle maintenance
- Health Care
- Hardware store
The idea behind this list is simple: stare at it. Use it to empty your head of all of the things that have come up recently to do that you didn't collect at the time. I might, for example, have thought this week that I needed light bulbs. I forgot to capture that thought then, and I forgot about it. Oops. When I sit down on Friday mornings to review the past week and plan the next week, I look at this list and see "Household » Upkeep" or "Errands » Hardware store" and I remember that I need light bulbs and should give myself a task to stop by Home Depot for a large-ish pack of CFLs.
Seems simple? Well, yeah... it is.