GTD Hack - The Bubble List - Free PDF
If you've read David Allen's book, you know the 5 components of Workflow (Collect, Process, Organize, Review, and Do). We have created a tool called The Bubble List that combines the first three into one process. Simply sign up for the newsletter to receive the Bubble List pdf for free.Here's the way that I'm using the tool:
Collect - The first step in the GTD workflow (and The Bubble List) is to collect all of the "open loops" in your life. I capture anything that is taking mental energy. If you haven't done this or haven't done this recently, the Things to Do (Master List) will not have enough space, which may require you to keep a separate sheet(s). I use this tool in conjunction with The Bubble Planner, so my Goals and Projects are kept in the Radar and Roadmap sections, respectively. Therefore, the "Things to Do" section on The Bubble List contains my weekly "Next Actions", so, I don't need a separate sheet.
Process - Since my information is pre-filtered through my mission, values, and roles; my processing consists of transferring the "next actions" from my "Desired Results" pages to the "Things to Do" section on The Bubble List. If you have not actionized your tasks or projects, this is where the rubber meets the road. Quite simply, a task without a verb is simply potential. To release that potential, you must do the hard part of Getting Things Done, which is thinking. What is the next physical, tangible action that I need to take to move this project forward? Don't allow yourself to move onto the next step until you answer this question. Otherwise, your mind will continually remind you that something remains undone.
This process of un-packing your "to do's" is the absolute beginning of converting thoughts to realities. Stated another way, writing things down is the precise moment that the Spiritual (unseen) is released into the Physical (seen). This is a way of saying that you are taking action on what you believe.
Organize - I really like the simplicity of the quadrants on The Bubble List. I've tried many different approaches to grouping things into categories (contexts), but these four (Computer Actions, Home Actions, Office Actions, and Phone Calls) seem to provide enough segmentation for me. When I get more than that, I feel like I'm trapped in the loop of constantly re-organizing my lists. Anyway, after ensuring that the "Things to Do" section only includes the next physical action, I move the most important items into the proper bubble.
By placing specific actions in a non-linear (spatial) layout, your right brain engages. This is where I feel that Bubble Maps really dominate any other task management system. It's really almost magical the way it works, but I'll try to describe it the best way possible. Since your mind thinks in pictures, Bubble Maps work with the brain's natural process rather than against it. Your mind moves beyond organizing into problem solving. If you've ever felt "locked" when looking at your list, there's a reason. Lists are so popular because they serve the left-brain's need for logical sequencing. This need is also why you spend hours and sometimes even days just sorting, grouping, and re-sorting your lists.
The mental magic of the Bubble Map is that it takes something out of the order (and left-brain dominance), and places it within a context of your creativity, which is a right-brain feature. Many of the most difficult problems of our time have been solved by creative thinkers. The reason is simple. Creative thinkers are open to possibilities and options not available to technical experts. It's the difference between the designer of the machine and the operator.
Tags: GTD, Tasks, Next Actions, To Do List