Posts tagged next action stickies
Here’s my favorite strategy for dealing with a pile of paper that never seems to go away. If you have stuff that’s been on your desk for far too long, defining the next action – a key strategy described in David Allen’s Getting Things Done – can help you get it taken care of. For a stack of paper, sticky notes are a great way to make it clear what needs to happen with each item.
Next Action Stickies
- Put all of the papers on your desk in one pile, and get out a pad of small sticky notes and a pen
- Go through each item and write yourself a short sticky note as to what to do with the document. For example “Give to secretary” or “Make edits and send to staff” or simply “file” – and put it on the bottom of the pile
- Don’t stop and do any of the actions unless they’ll take less than two minutes, and don’t make any new piles
- Keep going until you’ve sticky-noted everything in the pile
- If you have time left to keep working, start working on the top item in your pile – just do exactly what the note says
It sounds simple – so simple you might wonder why I’m even writing about it – but it works. Allen explains that often, when something is un-done in our lives, it’s because we haven’t actually defined what we need to do. Once we do the (fairly simple) work of defining what needs to be done, actually doing it is much easier.