That last line, Ester. Sometimes we all need an extra arm.
@Marille My Mac OS has made filing docs in categories irrelevant, thank goodness. When you can just search for a string of text to retrieve something, filing becomes less essential. I don't have much paper to file or sort, so I don't have that problem right now. I know this is not a solution to your problem. :) Frequency: I scan my master list every day just to remind myself what's on it (and maybe pull out a non-calendered action item that might fit into my workday -- which is to say "I've already decided what I'm going to do today, but if I have time to pull out one more action item I'll take it from the master list") and I scan my inboxes at least twice for any email that needs to be answered immediately. This is also not a solution to your problem, it is just how I handle my problems. :)
@andnowlights If you write your action items down, you get to say "I WILL DEAL WITH YOU, PROBLEM, SOMEDAY." That is a baby step but it is also the biggest step. And then you get to decide whether you do the action, delegate the action, renegotiate the action, or decide not to do the action. Deciding "this problem is no longer important and I am not going to do this action" is very freeing!
@guenna77 100% agree that it's the DOING that's hard. That is the ultimate flaw at the heart of every productivity and list system.
@RachelW IIRC it took me about half a day to process all my outstanding inboxes and stuff, develop and organize the list, and create physical inboxes and tickler folders. David Allen says busy executives should be prepared to spend up to TWO DAYS going through all their inboxes (that's the hardest part, that initial "you have 2,000 unread emails" which you have to face), but you can probably set up the system in an afternoon. Read the book first obvs. Read it twice. :) How long until it felt routine? I don't remember at all. I'd say within two months it felt natural. Isn't that the standard "how long does it take your body to respond to a habit" statistic? :)
@caryatis Yup! That is one of my favorite parts of GTD. It may well be in other productivity systems.
@snackspace what is your particular flavor of disorganization? You can have the messiest desk in the world, for example, and still write down every to-do on a master list and get things done. GTD doesn't equal "tidy;" it equals "fulfilling your commitments." The type of disorganization where GTD might be difficult would be the type where you have so many inboxes and inputs coming at you that you're forced to skim everything. Or, if you're a visual learner and a lot of your commitments come at you aurally (like a boss who tells you what to do instead of puts it in writing), you could have difficulty capturing your to-dos because your input doesn't match your ideal way of processing information.
@crenb Yup, "to-do list on steroids" is totally fair. The big difference is that you write EVERYTHING down, no matter how minor the to-do, and you write your to-dos in the form of achievable actions. For example: "get CPA" is too big and you'll resist it, but "email 3 CPA firms requesting consultation" is achievable.
@caryatis Horizons of Responsibility -- which I actually screwed up in my tweet, they're officially called "Horizons of Focus" -- are a system of looking at your current responsibilities and determining whether those responsibilities are helping or preventing you from 1) feeling balanced and happy in your life and 2) taking your life in the direction you would like it to go. Admittedly there's a bunch of hoo-ha and a bit of privilege in the concept that you should feel balanced and happy in your life as much as possible, as well as the concept that you should be able to direct your life. But the idea of looking at all the STUFF you're doing and saying "which stuff is valuable and which stuff isn't, and are there any responsibilities I can renegotiate or set aside," is valid.
@caryatis No, I did, but I didn't have a system in place to regularly do it. It's like when you go live on your own for the first time and know you're supposed to clean the apartment but have no context for how to fit self-directed cleaning into your life.