Juggling Sheep
Welcome to Juggling Sheep, Jay Perry's blog about time management and personal productivity for pastors. Learn to balance work, life, family, and personal spirituality.

Share your best practices, tips and tricks, processes, sermon planning ideas, and resources. Feel free to email me: jaylperry[at]gmail[dot]com.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Getting Things Done - The Ubiquitous Capture

One of the secrets to the GTD system is the ubiquitous capture.

When I did my initial capture, I had been a pastor in the same church for 6 years. We had rented office space at first. And now we were in our permanent location. I had boxes (and boxes) of notes, Bible study materials, magazines, articles, receipts, mail, tapes, CDs, software, VHS tapes, booklets, office supplies, and my dad's old files... all unsorted, unfiled, and disorganized. In boxes.

I read Getting Things Done, but was stuck at implementation. You really want me to put everything without a home into my inbox? That was the problem before. It would get in my inbox and stay there for... SIX YEARS! But with a little encouragement from my wife (and David Allen), I started. By the time I was finished putting everything in my inbox, there were two 4-foot-tall stacks of boxes beside my desk. This was my inbox. I had emptied out my desk drawers, my pockets, my backpack, and cleared my desk.

But there was one more thing to empty before I could start processing my inbox. I had to empty my brain. I got a ream of paper and wrote one thought on each piece of paper. In went all of my appointments (standing and new), my hopes and dreams, my procrastinated projects, my responsibilities, my ideas (sermon ideas, book ideas, church growth ideas), half-baked thoughts, goals, responsibilities... everything. In the book, David Allen has a bunch of questions that he asks about everything to prompt you to do a full brain-dump.

A full brain-dump is really important. If you still have stuff in your brain that you're obsessing about, you won't get the full benefit of the GTD system.

So now I had several large piles of boxes and hundreds of sheets of paper (representing my entire brain) "in" my inbox.

Now what? Process the inbox? You've got to be kidding!!!

Don't worry. We'll get to that later.

So I was overwhelmed by the size (and scope) of my inbox, but I was strangely at peace about getting everything out of my head. It was actually kind of a buzz. Was there really a way to manage all of that stuff?

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