One sure fire method to ensure you completely fail at GTD is this: After capturing action items, procrastinate on transferring them to your master to-do list.
How many times have you sat in a meeting and written down a whole mess of tasks, but then you get back to your desk and have misplaced that piece of paper you had captured everything on? Before long, you'll forget everything and that's about when you start dropping balls right and left.
Productivity is about consistency and the diligence to manage yourself the same way, day after day. This means you need to create some good habits for yourself, one of which is the diligent transfer of action items to your master to-do list.
You probably record action items using any number of capture devices - a Moleskine journal, a text document on your computer, or a message sent from your phone using Jott. But ultimately, these items need to end up on your master to-do list. And so the crux of this entire post is to encourage this all important habit:
Transfer your action items to your master to-do list as soon as possible.What this means is, when you get back to your desk from that meeting, avoid the temptation to check your email first - you'll get distracted. Don't start making phone calls, and don't continue working on the sales analysis document. Spend just three minutes transferring your new action items, and save yourself countless hours of lost productivity in the long run.
It sounds simple in theory, but it's a tough discipline to train yourself on - it is for me anyway. Test yourself this week. Can you spend a couple minutes adding items to your to-do list every time you sit down at your desk? Let us know how it goes starting today!