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Practical tips: Getting things done

Getting Things Done, also called the GTD method, is a self-management method developed by David Allen in which you record all your personal and professional tasks in to-do lists. This gives a clear overview of your tasks so that you can more easily choose what your next task will be. In addition, it leads to peace of mind.
Practical tips: Getting things done
Finish tasks
The reality is that more is demanded of us at work: more tasks, faster change. Customers and citizens are becoming more empowered, their demands are increasing and changing faster over time. And customers often have a choice due to the increased (worldwide) competition. Organizations are shrinking or their ambitions are increasing faster than the number of available employees. For many people, then comes the point where they can't get everything done at work. The result may be that it is also not possible to "finish" the private matters satisfactorily. Do you recognize yourself in this?
Streamline tasks
If you have to do more than your available time, there are two options: work longer or make a choice in the things you do and don't do. In addition, you may be able to do your work more conveniently so that you can save time. Which option appeals to you the most? What do you want to achieve: more in work, more in private or more balance?
Getting Things Done
You would like to have a quick overview of your most important tasks so that you can make a decision about what to do next. After all, what seems important now can be completely different in an hour, with one phone call. Work is not about doing all the tasks, but about most important tasks.

What matters most cannot always be predicted and can change quickly. Getting Things Done gives you an overview of your tasks so that you can more easily choose what your next task will be. In addition, it leads to peace of mind, because you continuously give all work and private tasks that you still have to do a place in this system.
Tips for using the Getting Things Done method
First of all, it is important that you structure all your current emails.
 
  1. Create an 'Archive' folder in your email program to store information. Move all current folders you have to this folder! Trust that you can easily find emails with the search function.
  2. Create a 'Waiting for' folder in your email program. Here you put copies of sent e-mails to which you expect a response.
  3. Create a 'Later-Maybe' folder in your email program. Here you put all emails that you need to do something with, but not in the current week. Both for work and private.
Tasks to do this week
  1. Create a 'This Week' folder in your e-mail program. This will contain tasks for the coming week, but which do not have a clear deadline in terms of date and time.
  2. Create a folder '2 minutes' in your e-mail program. Here you put small tasks that you expect to be able to complete within 2 minutes.
  3. Create a 'Not for me' folder in your e-mail program. This is where you put e-mails with tasks that are intended for others.
  4. Spend an hour sorting emails! Start right after lunch. 1) Can you delete it? 2) Does it contain a deadline? 4) Which folder does it belong in (not for me, 2 minutes, this week, later-maybe, waiting-for, archive).
  5. If there is a clear deadline for a task (day or specific time), put the task in your calendar. No clear deadline? then move the mail to this week (to be executed in the current week) or to later-maybe (for next week or later)
  6. Are there several types of tasks in an email, for example both tasks for yourself and tasks that you want to assign to others? Then e-mail yourself with several e-mails that you can subdivide into: not for me, 2 minutes, this week, later-maybe.
  7. If you send an e-mail to yourself, clearly state in the subject line what you have to do and possibly already in which e-mail folder it belongs: not for me, 2 minutes, this week, later-maybe, wait- up, archive.
  8. When sending questions or requests by e-mail, make sure that these messages are copied to the "Waiting for" folder. You will then have insight into outstanding questions and requests at any time.
  9. With a full inbox, sorting can take a while, but with a few hours your inbox will be empty. You can divide this by sorting for 10 minutes today without answering.
  10. Emails over a month old aren't super important. Otherwise others would have already come back to you / you would have done something with it. If so, delete these emails, immediately save time.
  11. Save emails. By not responding to all incoming emails immediately, you create time to make progress on tasks that you have previously marked as important. This takes guts, but is actually the way to do more/better work. Is it possible to limit this to a maximum of 3 times a day? Or even up to 1 time?
  12. An ideal time to sort emails is right after lunch. The concentration is then not very high, ideal for a simple job such as sorting emails without answering. And you get immediate results: overview through an empty inbox.
  13. Are all kinds of tasks running through your head, work and private? Write them down and eventually make sure they appear on your calendar (if there is a deadline) or in your inbox as an email.
  14. After sorting your e-mails, check whether there are still tasks from voice-mails, SMS, and possible other business communication channels such as Skype. Also process these into calendar items or emails that you can process.
  15. After sorting emails, process the 'not for me' tasks first. Put yourself in the (B)CC so that you can move these emails to the 'waiting for' folder at a later time.
  16. If there is time left in the time you have set aside to process e-mail, then after 'not for me', process the e-mails from the '2-minutes' folder. Do some quick measurements.
Order of tasks on a working day
  1. If work or private things are running through your head at the start of the workday, email them directly to yourself as a task. That breathes!
  2. At the start of the working day you start in your agenda, for tasks due today, and then in the e-mail folder This week containing tasks for the current week. Start with the least fun task and get it done right away.
  3. The less time you spend answering incoming emails, the better your concentration and the more time you can spend on important tasks.
  4. It is necessary to sort your incoming e-mail every day and answer a few if necessary afterwards ("not for me" and "2 minutes"!). Do this preferably between 13:00 and 14:00.
  5. By preferably working on important tasks from the previous day in the morning and only sorting and answering e-mail after 1:00 PM, you have the overview in the afternoon to choose what is actually most important.
  6. To resist the temptation to respond directly to incoming emails, it is necessary to turn off all notifications (sounds, pop-ups, visible icons). Search Google for “turn off email notification outlook [or your program]”.
  7. After (telephone) consultations, there are often lists of actions and promises on paper or in your head. It is then necessary immediately after the consultation to convert these lists into tasks that you e-mail to yourself. One email per task. Tasks with a deadline (promise) belong in the agenda.
  8. Collect mail, notes or other physical items that require actions at one point. You can take this with you during the afternoon ritual of e-mail processing. Processing can sometimes be helpful by taking a picture of it and emailing it to yourself.
Everything starts and ends with why
  1. Take a critical look at your job description and your unique contribution to the organization in which you work. What is expected of you at work in the coming six months? Write this down in an email to yourself titled “Work Goals.”
  2. Is it not 100% clear to you what you have to achieve in the coming six months? Then immediately make a calendar appointment to clarify this (with colleagues or manager). This immediately provides clarity for you and your organization! Share them with yourself via an email 'Work Goals'.
  3. What are your passions? What would you like to pay more attention to? This can be in work or in private. Share them with yourself via an email titled “My Goals.” Don't be too difficult, a few keywords are enough.
  4. What would you like to achieve in your work in the coming six months? These can be results, but also something like more control over the work. Include a few words about this in the email to yourself titled “My Goals.”
Weekly maintenance
  1. Once a week, preferably half a day before the end of your work week, it's time to think about short-term and long-term priorities. Start by reviewing your work goals and your own goals (the two emails you sent yourself).
  2. Limit the weekly maintenance to a maximum of 30 minutes and put it as a task in your agenda. Thinking about your work takes a little bit of time, but provides overview, concentration and even more time.
  3. Once a week, determine if you are getting closer to your work goals and personal goals. If not, create at least 1 task to get closer to it in the coming week.
  4. Go through your email folder once a week This Week. Delete all completed tasks. Are there any tasks that are no longer current? Delete them or move them to later-maybe. Review the folder later-maybe and determine if any tasks should be moved to the next week (to the "This Week" folder).
  5. Once a week, check your calendar for the next three weeks and determine if you need to create new tasks to meet your upcoming deadlines. These will appear in your calendar or in the 'This week' folder.
Continue to curb the work
  1. If you want to block in your agenda how much time tasks take, then divide tasks that take more than 1 hour into 2 or more tasks (for example newsletter 50% ready and newsletter 100% ready. So make it 2 or more tasks. part 1 is ready, you can see if you are still on schedule, in terms of estimated time for part 2. If not, you have the option to inform the recipient that it will come later.
  2. Schedule at least 20% of your workday free for unforeseen events. It's not always about not meeting your deadline. The point is that the recipient of your work keeps control of the situation. The earlier you communicate that something isn't going to work, the more control the recipient will have over the situation.
  3. Difficulty falling asleep due to work tasks running through your head? Provide pen and paper and write down the tasks immediately. The next day you put these in your agenda (if there is a deadline) or e-mail them to yourself. (this week – later/maybe – not for me).
  4. Work more efficiently. By walking for 3 minutes every hour and thus moving away from your desk, you lower the stress level in the body. This allows you to better disconnect from your work and become more creative.
  5. If you have lost control in your head for a while, you can actively restore it by walking for 5 to 10 minutes. Then pick up the Get Things Done tips again to get yourself back on track (agenda, this week).
  6. Tasks that require deep concentration are best done in the morning. Tasks that require creativity are easiest in the afternoon.
  7. Are you low on energy and having trouble choosing a task from this week's tasks? Then try a task that demands more of your creativity, such as a short brainstorm.
  8. Is the workload increasing, despite applying Getting Things Done and taking (walking) breaks? Make an appointment with a colleague immediately to discuss the problems and ask for help.
  9. Is the workload increasing, despite applying Getting Things Done and taking (walking) breaks? Make a proposal for your supervisor to which he can answer with yes or no. Put the tasks that give you energy in your own package of tasks and come up with solutions for the tasks that you can no longer do.
  10. If a task costs you energy, and a colleague gives it energy, is it possible that that colleague will do that task? Make a proposal to your manager.

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