Get Things Done—Step 5: Engage

“Engage,” the fifth step of the five-step process that David Allen describes in his book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity is mission-critical for contractors. It’s all about making wise choices to ensure you spend your energy on what’s most important at any given point in time.

“Engage” entails deciding what action you will do right now, based on what you’ve captured, clarified, organized, and reflected on.  


One of Allen’s models for successfully engaging involves considering four criteria when choosing what action you should take. 

  1. Context: Your work setting—and tools and resources available there—will influence your actions. Not all tasks can be done from anywhere at any time. For example, if you’re in your office, furthering the build of a customer’s deck isn’t an action you can accomplish at that immediate moment.
  2. Time Available: What’s next on your schedule will dictate what you can do right now. For example, if you have a meeting in 10 minutes or are due to be at a job site in a half-hour, you may want to wait to tackle preparing a new customer proposal. If you rush through it, you might miss critical details and make costly mistakes.
  3. Energy Available: Some activities require that you’re physically or mentally rested and refreshed to do them well. So, if you need to call or meet with a difficult customer, you may want to hold that conversation in the morning before the day’s other demands have tested your patience.
  4. Priority: After considering the first three criteria, you can determine the order in which you’ll act on your tasks. Which option is the most urgent and will yield the biggest payoff if you do it right now? You’ll need to use good judgment in deciding what to do first, second, third, etc., to advance you toward your goals.

We hope you found this article series on Getting Things Done helpful. Stay tuned for more tips and insight for running a successful business in future articles!

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