Organising Your Life [Part 3] - Collecting Everything

This is part 3 of s series of posts designed to help anyone get themselves organised in 2015. 

In Part 1 we looked at collecting together all the routine tasks you have in your life, both for work and for your home life. In Part 2, I introduced you to the brilliant app, Todoist, which can form the 'control centre' for your new organised life and today, in part 3 we are going to look at 'collecting' tasks, commitments and anything else on your mind. 


Sample of a Todoist inbox

Sample of a Todoist inbox

In David Allen's Getting Things Done book, David Allen describes the process of "collecting" tasks as "capturing" and I really like that term. Basically, what you are doing is 'capturing' every commitment, idea, task or to-do that crosses your mind. The trick is to collect or capture those things into a trusted place. This can either be a piece of paper which is placed into a physical inbox or a digital inbox, like what you find in Todoist. It is really entirely up to you. But you need to choose a system of capturing or collecting everything that comes your way each and every day, and you need to be able to trust that system 100%.

Over the years, I've used a physical inbox which gradually moved more and more towards a digital inbox as cell phones became smart phones and with the introduction of tablets. Today, I am 100% digital with my inbox. I still take notes in meetings with an old fashioned pen and paper, but once the meeting is over, I take a quick scan of my written notes and send the scan to my inbox. Later, when I have more time, I can 'process' my inbox and pull out any commitments or tasks I have that came from that meeting. ,

Most of the 'stuff' that you will want to enter into your inbox will be digital in it's form these days. Emails for example can be collected either in an email folder, or you can forward the email to your digital inbox - most digitial task managers will allow you to do this. 

I should point out that there are some exceptions to this. For example, if you receive an email that requires a quick reply, then go ahead and just reply. There's no need to send it to your inbox. However, if you receive an email that requires a bit of research or further information, then send it over to your inbox. If you prefer a physical inbox, then you can write a quick note on a scrap piece of paper and put that into your physical inbox. 

If you decide to use a physical inbox, then, as I mentioned in Part 1, trying to separate your personal life and your work life is not going to work. I find having one inbox is important, because when it comes to processing you inbox, it is important to have all your commitments, ideas and tasks in one place. Having them in two places runs the risk of you not really knowing what you have to do at any particular location. That is why these days it is far better to use a digital inbox that can be taken with you everywhere on your phone or your tablet.  

The key is to get into the habit of collecting every idea, commitment, task or errand into your inbox. In my experience this takes time to become a habit and you will find that sometimes you think you will remember to do something and not put it into your inbox. You have probably experienced that awful moment when you realise that that fantastic idea has gone and you cannot remember it. Write it down! Once it is in your inbox you know you will not forget it. 

This week make a decision on what systen you want to use. Digital or analogue. Then get into the habit of capturing / collecting everything. All you have to do is to begin forming the habit of collecting. Next week, I will go through what you need to do to process your inbox. 

So, till next time - Stay productive!