Get Things Done—Step 3: Organize

“Organize” is the third step in the five-step process described in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.

“Organize” involves taking all the information and to-dos you’ve collected in Allen’s first two steps (capture and clarify) and categorizing and prioritizing them. In other words, it means getting organized so that you can get things done!

Tips for Organizing 

  • Keep project plans (for multi-step to-dos) on a list and in a place where you can easily access them. 
  • Schedule project tasks on a calendar or in some other type of project management tool.
  • Consider keeping a “Next Action” list to stay on top of what you’re waiting on and what must be done next.
  • Use what works best for you! Lists and files can be physical, digital, or both. 
  • Avoid the trap of keeping the same type of information in different locations. For example, keep your customer leads in a single place. Don’t record some of them in a spiral notebook, others in a note app on your phone, and then a few on sticky notes on your desk. It’s far too easy to let something slip through the cracks if you don’t keep what you need in a central place. 
  • Capture—on your calendar—only what’s critical and time-sensitive for that day. Keep non-urgent items on your “Next Action” list. 
  • Don’t jam too many to-dos in a single day. If you overpromise and overextend yourself, you will risk failing to fulfill deadlines. 
  • Have a spot for storing info and tasks that aren’t urgent but may require you to address them someday. For example, say you want to sharpen your bookkeeping skills but don’t have time currently to pursue a webinar or class. Put it on a “Someday” list.
  • Review your lists and calendar regularly, and update and reorganize them if needed. (We’ll cover this tip in our next newsletter.) 

Stay tuned for our next issue of The Homestead Post when we’ll discuss the important “Reflect” step!

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