Ryan’s GTD Productivity System
“Needs Action” list
Purple Question star
Orange Guillemet star
Blue Info star
- All Unreads / All Threads
- and the /remind list
- with special stars
- for Chrome
- Google Calendar
- GCal to Trello recipe
I have only 2 inboxes.
- Gmail: Inbox
- Slack: All Unreads + All Threads (I count these as one)
For these, I apply the 2-minute rule.
- If it takes less than two minutes to read and optionally reply, then do it now.
If it takes more than two minutes, I typically try to respond that I’ll follow-up later, and then it goes into the Needs Action list.
In Gmail, I use filters to ensure only useful, important, or actionable emails get to the inbox.
In Slack, obviously muting channels unless mentioned is key to keeping the volume down.
The Goal: Zero Inbox by the end of the day or week. Some days you’ll fail, some weeks you’ll fail. Don’t bother trying to be in a constant state of Zero Inbox - instead try to whittle it down slowly or batch time to deal with it. Important thing is not to give up.
Size: This rarely gets over 50 emails in Gmail or 50 unreads in Slack before I get anxious.
2. Needs Action
This is my active To Do list. It’s the prioritized list of what I need to do next. These are immediately actionable tasks and I try to keep them relatively small (under an hour), but I’m not religious about sizing them.
But I am careful not to put large epic/project level items in this list. If it’s a project, it goes into the Projects list and I create an item on the Needs Action list that is just the first task in that Project. Sometimes that is as simple as, “Start XYZ Project”.