One of the biggest weaknesses of my GTD system has been how I have been dealing with finances, generally. As a startup business owner, when the bills come due there is not always enough money to cover them. This (and the related calls and letters) has been a significant cause of stress and has left me with several anxiety-inducing open loops. I couldn't yet trust my system to work with them.
Well, just today I got an insight that I hope will help others who are still moving from the financial survival to stability phases of life. I decided to treat new, current bills separately from old or past due bills.
Current, new bills that arrive in my Inbox go directly to my Calendar, as the important thing for them is the scheduling. I write what bill it is and the amount on that bill's due date. Note that I am not writing "Pay this bill" on a particular date, because that is not actually a day-specific item. In my Daily and Weekly reviews I will see the bill coming up several days or weeks away and can decide when to write the check. I may decide to actually schedule that, at that point.
Old or past due bills have to be treated differently. They would have appeared on old calendars, and it becomes unwieldy to check old calendars for past due dates of things. Therefore, all old and past due bills will become Next Actions, because they are to be done ASAP but their due date is in the past. These tasks or Next Actions will be seen in my Daily and Weekly reviews, which will serve to keep them current and fresh in my mind, while letting me relax at the same time, knowing they are in a trusted system.
I started a Project along the lines of "Get all old bills up to date". In the Project Support Material, I have a simple one page spreadsheet printout of each payee, the total amount owed, due dates, minimum monthly payments, etc. In my weekly review I would review that Project for Next Actions, and so I would skim through all of the companies I owe money to in order to make sure each payee has a Next Action or Calendar item associated with it.
It took a little mental leap of faith to be willing to treat one type of bill differently than another type of bill. I felt the desire to keep it all lumped together because I couldn't yet trust my system to be watertight. It seems that this approach, which I hadn't actually seen before (that I remember) would help those of us that are, for one reason or another, behind on some bills.
Hope this helps someone.