Implementing GTD - Do I need to "Collect"?
So I'm new to GTD. I've read the book (Chapter 2 twice) and I've listened to the Best Practices free podcasts (there's one on each phase). I don't have the bandwidth in my life to take two days to focus on implementation. I'm using GTD more for personal aspects of my life - work is pretty simple and focused.
I've got to admit that while I've always thought of myself as a highly organized person, procrastination has made my world highly disorganized. I've got piles of stuff everywhere. So I don't see the point in collecting "stuff" - it's already there, it's just that my whole family room is like a giant Inbox. Ditto other areas of my life. So my strategy has been to pick up stuff, one pile at a time, and process it, as much as I can at once, usually while watching baseball. I am collecting new stuff, especially ideas, that need to be processed later, but that's a small part of this effort.
So far, so good, but I've heard DA and other coaches comment that the best way to start GTD is specifically to get an in basket and start collection, rather than what I'm doing. Am I missing something? Could I multiply the effectiveness of my efforts?
Another thing that might help is to spend a bit of time building your organization.
I believe I heard this on a Kelly podcast, that while the Book says to start with Collection for some of us it's a good idea to build at least the skeleton of an organization system early on. Processing is HARD if you have to ask, well, where would I put this for each item.
Since I'm an inveterate packrat/borderline hoarder, I totally relate to your problem. My wife has been the cure. I think clutter actually talks to her: "Denise, I'm sitting here on the table...put me away...I'm getting old and moldy...clean me up." I don't hear those piles talking at all!
My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to consider a very simple paper system to start. I'd build just a few contexts (maybe "home", "work", "errands", "computer"?) and the incredibly essential Waiting For and Someday/Maybe lists. Waiting For saves my cookies on a regular basis.
You might consider, when "digging out", making a "Home Urgent" and a "Home Later" list since you could really easily end up with 250 action items and it can be discouraging (been there done that.) Also Home Urgent gives you a place to put the "Oh my Lord I totally forgot that" items that might pop up and derail you.
Also I do like the alphabetical file system he recommends and a labeller is for some bizarre reason really cool and helpful. Why? Who knows? And for a doctor I have quite good handwriting. But the labeller helps.
It's a good trick to get a bunch of Office Depot bank boxes and number them as backlog, and put a "process box #3" etc into your lists. Warning from an experienced procrastinator: it's just as easy to procrastinate a box as a pile, maybe easier so make them "bite sized" so they don't exert a magnetic repulsion on you.