What do you do when you have a great idea in your head? Do you write it down or you let it slide? Do you rely on your memory in order to accomplish your tasks? If so, are you aware that memory is a bottleneck of our productivity, preventing us from achieving our full potential? Learn how to collect all your tasks, thoughts, ideas and digital items in a trusted, reliable system that serves a higher purpose than just a manually curated to-do list. Keep reading and learn about the GTD® Collection phase in Centask Workflow.
What is the Collection Phase in GTD®?
The Collection phase of GTD is a starting point of any trusted system. The rationale behind this step is to transform the open loops inside of your mind into their physical or digital form. In doing so, you eliminate the need to keep track of these commitments in your memory, liberating your brain to do what it does best: think. You can avoid these “open loops” by systematically collecting information in a trusted location, scaling your capabilities to deal with more tasks than you could possibly do before.
What Does the Collection Phase Look Like in Centask?
In Centask, the “Universal Inbox” allows you to collect all of your digital items in a single location and to grant them equal capabilities. The Universal Inbox creates a new dimension, where tasks, emails, links and reference material can coexist in the same plane. This results in increased efficiency, because it embraces a holistic approach to task management instead of a fragmented workflow.
The purpose of having a single inbox is to simplify the process phase of GTD. Everything that comes into an inbox can be processed in a single swoop, with minimum overhead. But in practice, achieving this inbox functionality with manually curated to-do lists proved to be cumbersome and difficult – often impossible. Manual to-do lists have proven inadequate when it comes to handling different types of digital items, such as email, files, links and contacts. Serving only as a crutch for our memory, manual to-do lists were unable to act as a full workflow solution.
Key Factors in Cultivating Your Collect Phase
Taking a systematic approach to collecting means that every time you have a thought, you need to close the open loop by writing it down. Any thought that is in your mind, no matter how small or unimportant, needs to be a part of your task management system. By including your thoughts and ideas in the collection phase, you add a tangible dimension to your decision-making process.
By cleaning up your inbox daily – every evening – you are “forced” to follow up on any outstanding items in your inbox, making sure that you process it to zero (a second stage of GTD). This consistent routine ensures that the collection habit preserves its value. If your inbox constantly looks like a long, overwhelming list, you increase the chance of procrastinating on the most important tasks, which becomes counterproductive.
Effective “Brain Dump”
The promise of maximum productivity and an efficient workflow is impossible if you maintain all these commitments and their connections inside your head. GTD mentions numerous ways to collect information, such as:
- A physical in-basket
- Paper-based note-taking devices
- Electronic note-taking devices
- Voice recording devices
All five of these collection methods can be fully integrated in your Centask, but thanks to a technology-empowered system, we can do much more than these five. GTD author David Allen agrees that multiple buckets can be inefficient:
If you have too many collection zones, however, you won’t be able to process them easily or consistently.
he says. Instead of trying to chase around for loose ends when it’s time to work on a task, you can now collect and link all of your digital items in a single Universal Inbox.
Your Universal Inbox and Gmail Work Together
In Centask, your email inbox can be connected with your Centask Universal Inbox. When your tasks and emails are treated with the same priority, the collection phase becomes an integrated part of your existing workflow, enhancing your email with abilities to:
- Remove distractions
- Combine and organize it with other data
- Rename subjects and add notes
- Postpone emails for later
Read more about principles that Make Email Work.
Collecting Links As You Browse the Web
Often times, when browsing online, you encounter a lot of great articles or ideas that you might want to read or act upon at a later time. These links can also be contacts, documents you need to work on, or important resources required to complete a goal or task. Learn more about how you can implement the URL Bookmarklet, how it works seamlessly with Evernote and even your local desktop applications
Because of the powerful Centask-Gmail workflow, you can process your inbox on the go, as well as emailing yourself audio notes, or collecting your thoughts in the form of notes or links. Now you can remind yourself of the most important things that come to your mind, even at seemingly inconvenient times.
Benefit of Collecting in Centask Workflow
Collecting is the building block of your system, without it, you can’t have a truly reliable system that will work for you. The upfront effort will pay you big dividends. As your focus starts to expand, you will notice that your memory will become more scalable, able to handle more the busier you get. Unlike other systems, Centask workflow remembers much more than your commitments; it also remembers the contextual relations between your tasks, giving you the list of your most important priorities in a single view. Get started, and experience the higher level of GTD.
GTD® is a registered trademark of the David Allen Company.