What to do when the list of uncompleted items are longer than the time you have left and the last thing you have is the time to practice GTD? Here are some advice.
We have all been there: You are reaching a critical deadline and the list of uncompleted items are longer than the time you have left. The last thing you have is the time to practice GTD. Here is where many people fall off the GTD wagon, only to find themselves without the best tool in their arsenal to manage just such circumstances.
Take a little time to practice GTD
I’m not saying that you should continue practicing the art of Getting Things Done like normal. I’m saying that this is your chance to really put your system to the test. Rip out what you can do without for a few days and continue full throttle!
It’s in periodes like this that emails start to go unnoticed and other people does not deliver what you are dependent on. The most important thing you can do is to stay on top of your email and make sure to follow-up what is critical.
Do an emergency clearing of your inbox
The last thing you want to do is to totally lose control of your email. Here is a simple trick to postpone handling of not urgent emails:
- Block off some hours in your calendar, at a date after whatever deadline you are struggling with. The purpose for this is to have time for handling the emails that you are postponing.
- Make a folder in your inbox called “Later.”
- Create a rule or quick step in your email program that moves the selected email from your inbox to the “Later” folder.
- Assign a keyboard shortcut to make this go quickly.
- Move every non-critical email to this folder.
The very short version of a weekly review
1. Empty your inboxes
Empty your inboxes by getting all of the actions into your tasks-system inbox. For me, this would mean getting all of my in-stuff into my Todoist inbox. I would not take time to define next actions, contexts or projects. By getting them into one place, I know that there are no burning fires that I’m not aware of.
2. Check your follow-up items
This is a step so important that you cannot skip it. Follow-up on the items critical to your project or deadline. Leave everything else to your next weekly review.
In my view, you can manage two weeks without doing a proper GTD Weekly Review. Any more, and there is a real chance of falling of the wagon.
Make sure you get back on track
In most cases, blocking off two half-days in enough to get back in the game, one-half day to do a weekly review and cleanup, and one-half day to handle your email backlog. Not willing to invest that time? Then please read the below blog post.