Over the next nine episodes, we are going to be in conversation about Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. We are going to talk about each of the steps in the GTD Workflow Diagram / Map. We will cover capturing, clarifying, organizing, reflecting and engaging, then a discussion about Weekly Review. Finally, we will cover what we wish we knew when we started our GTD practices many years ago.
In this first cast in this series, we discuss GTD’s first step in the Workflow Diagram / Map, Capture. Capture is more than simply writing things down. GTD gives us a cohesive method for getting all of our incompletes and commitments into places where you know you’ll look at it again.
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In this Cast
Resources we mention, including links to them will be provided here. Please listen to the episode for context.
Getting Things Done Virtual Study Group (live call-in discussion and podcast)
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Perfect Time-Based Productivity (2nd Edition) by Francis Wade
Amazon Echo Devices (voice-based assistant)
Everlast reusable notebooks (not the Wave Rocketbooks – do not microwave these!)
Francis has a self-assessment for Capturing Skills: https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=how-good-are-you-at-capturing
Raw Text Transcript
Raw, unedited and machine-produced text transcript so there may be substantial errors, but you can search for specific points in the episode to jump to, or to reference back to at a later date and time, by keywords or key phrases. The time coding is mm:ss (e.g., 0:04 starts at 4 seconds into the cast’s audio).
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Voiceover Artist 0:00
Are you ready to manage your work and personal world better to live a fulfilling, productive life? Then you’ve come to the right place productivity cast, the weekly show about all things productivity here, your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:17
Welcome back everybody to ProductivityCast the weekly show about all things personal productivity. This is Episode 039 Episode 39 of ProductivityCast. And today I am joined by Augusto Pinaud, Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks. Welcome to the show, Gentlemen.
Good morning. Great to be here.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 0:38
Good morning, everybody. Over the next nine episodes, we are going to be in conversation about getting things done the art of stress free productivity by David Allen. We’re going to talk about each of the nine steps in the GTD workflow diagram slash map. And we will cover capturing, clarifying, organizing, reflecting and engaging and then have a discussion about the weekly review. Finally, we will cover what we wish we knew when we started our GTD practices many years ago. In the final two episodes, I think it’ll be really interesting for us all to kind of look at this from the different perspectives we have on getting things done. Some of us are GTD practitioners, some of us are not some of us have been critics of some of these parts of the book. And some of us have been great advocates and enthusiasts for it. So I think it’ll be really interesting for us to be able to have a conversation about each of these pieces. And Up first is the concept of collecting and or capturing David Allen started by calling it collecting and the collection habit, as he used to call it, and still does actually in the second edition. And then he led into calling it capturing and I think they still Harken the same feelings for me in terms of what the functional action is associated with capture. But let’s get into it and start off with how do you define capture as a function with your in your own productivity system? And how to David Allen’s material confirm your thoughts about it. Change your thoughts about it as you were developing yours. Let’s start off with a gusto. Since since you probably have been talking about this publicly, longer than any of us, starting with the GTD virtual study group what and how did did the capture habit the collection habit affect you when you first came into contact with it? And and how does that how has that changed from then to now
Augusto Pinaud 2:35
I came to GTD on I was a big coffee fan but I wasn’t necessarily a great collector of information, the capture part of the getting things done really make a difference for me and and I embrace it pretty quick. Because I understood the power of that to this day. I can I can can capture things that may see not necessary to capture him, then I can purge them later. But I I’m pretty good at capturing. And the reason is it allows me to do two things. One, it allows me to empty the brain that he’s always a good thing. But also it allows me to have the peace of mind that I’m not letting things go. Processing then is another story. But we will get that into next week. But capturing for me was I’m my tools over time has changed my love for capturing half notes. But we will talk more about that today. In the show.
Francis Wade 3:37
I had attended a training program before doing GTD and I as I mentioned that last episode, I’d been teaching a training program. And what that program had in common with GTD was that they’re both process oriented. So I think GTD borrowed from the process movement of the 90s the business process reengineering take us movement and came up with a workflow of activity that was laid out in a linear fashion all the time. So when I ran the GTD, the concepts were were of capturing and others were pretty familiar to me. So I had already heard them was already using them was already teaching them. So it didn’t offer a whole lot that was new to me at the time. So it didn’t strike me as different over time. That’s changed. But I think you’re looking for the initial just initial reaction
Raymond Sidney-Smith 4:30
when you came to contact with the original construct, even if it wasn’t through David Allen. I mean, was it something that was there something that stood out,
Francis Wade 4:37
you know what I mean? Like, I’m just curious, yeah, sure. It sure did. It was the it put into Sato relief what I had actually been doing and what other people have been doing, because I wasn’t the first to capture and neither neither was David Allen. And in my book actually referenced the fact that we all start capturing at around the AIDS around age 10 or 11 in are using our minds. And, you know, Ben Franklin was doing it according to what he wrote about it. So it’s not a new, it’s not a new concept. What he did was to, to put it into words in a book for the first time that that was his, I’ll say, his hit that part that he added that no one else had done before, as clearly as he had done
Raymond Sidney-Smith 5:22
right. And he says as much in the book, you know, that these aren’t new concepts. He just basically gathered them together into a cohesive system. And one can appreciate that when I first saw it,
Art Gelwicks 5:35
I’ll be brutally honest, my reaction was, Hey, I wasn’t amazed. I wasn’t impressed. I wasn’t shocked her in all. And a lot of the things have already been mentioned, it seemed I don’t want to say reductive, it was very much everything that had already been out there, it was boiled down, it was calcified in a way where business people could say, Oh, I have a book, I can go through this process, I can do this. And supposedly I will be successful. I mean, this is I was doing some looking up that the book was first published in 2001, palm pilots were out in 1997. So the concept of digital capture was starting to become mainstream for years before the book ever hit the market. I was a day planner kid for years, I was one of those geeks in high school that had a day planner. So the concept of capture was not necessarily new or innovative. I think what the book did, though, and it’s one of those watershed moments that you find in pretty much anything, it gave it a lens, it gave it a focus to be able to say, Okay, this is something that you should be doing, regardless of all these other disparate systems, there’s a process here that you can follow to be able to do this. And to me, that’s where the capture part of this kind of flipped over. I don’t want to use the term jump the shark, but it makes that leap, instead of just taking the post it notes. It’s like capturing for a reason.
And it still has that connection today, capture for an ultimate purpose. And when you go back and you say GTD, GTD has become the Kleenex brand equivalent of productivity where everybody kind of knows what you’re sort of talking about when you mention it. But it doesn’t change the core piece of it. Of the capture, which I think like Francis said, we’ve been doing this for a long time, everybody does that. You learn that in school, you learn that in elementary school to write things down. It’s just writing things down with a specific purpose.
Augusto Pinaud 7:46
You see, I I agree. I and I wanted a Palm Pilot. Good. Okay, I save the time I was I’m not going to say how much of my salary save and I work side why to be able to afford my first pump pilot. But But I was the I had before the pump pilot, a Casio planner that or electronic thing I was always electronic guys. So I had a Casio one that had the thing that you could not backup. So every weekend, you need to go and make sure anything you put into that thing you copy and paper somewhere otherwise, too thin will die. And you lose everything. lucky enough their Palm Pilot could back up. That was for me. The biggest feature is hot. I’ve tried learn at least to do graffiti. But what the book give me was I agree with you. We were capturing but I was capturing what I thought was important. Regardless if it was important or not. It was oh, well, this is somehow note worth of capture. Because he’s just not that important. And what the book give me was the understanding that it doesn’t matter how important or not important the thing looks at the moment to capture it. Regardless, that was for me was a game changer. When I when I read that. I don’t think I had that before I read the book. Why was capturing things? Yes. But I was capturing things when I was going to make something about it. Not necessarily because they just pop up on my psyche.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 9:19
as we as we continue along the conversation. I think this is one of those cases where it’s good for our listeners to hear about the practice itself of what you should capture. And how much do you end should you capture? And I think you you provided a really good segue here. Good. So which is that David Allen talks about this concept of complete capture, capturing 100% of what comes into your periphery as a commitment. And these can be commitments that are bundled within something that may be unknown, and or something that is overtly known. And so I’m curious from, from all of us, how how do you capture and what do you capture? What’s your capture, capture practice today actually have
Francis Wade 10:06
this as an exercise in in my training, or ask people to to say what what tools they use, so to speak, because what I found I originally would answer the question very simply and say, Oh, I capture everything in my my Android phone using keep, that’s what I would that’s what I would see if I were asked the question in public. But between you and I, I actually have a distribution of different methods. So there’s some things that I still use memory for. Unfortunately, I think this is just habit, there’s some things I’ll scribble on a piece of people very, very rarely. And I try not to, but sometimes it’s just faster to do it. Sometimes I’ll put something straight into a calendar if my calendar is already open. And something happens to come to mind. Something’s outputs, thumbs up or something into my auto scheduler, if it happens to be at once again, I happen to be in it. And I happen to have the thought at the moment. So it depends on the moment, maybe 90% of what I capture goes through Google Keep on my Android phone, or on my I’ve had a web app, I guess. But the others are sort of vestiges of older or more recent capturing practices I haven’t consolidate and my behaviors into one behavior yet, although I keep thinking I should I still have the sort of vestiges of old behaviors,
Art Gelwicks 11:32
whatever I capture, it’s not enough. And I’ll quantify it that way. I capture everything possible because I don’t trust my memory. Not that I can’t remember things. It’s just I don’t seem to remember the right things at times. movie trivia, not a problem. Remember taking out the trash, not an issue that that becomes the problem. And there there’s the whole short term memory long term memory thing. So for me anything, I think I may have to recall, at some point in time in the future, I’m going to capture it, I may not capture it in the most effective way. There may be better ways at any given time. I’m a big one for snapping pictures of things like printed documents, anything comes in the mail, I take a picture of it. And it goes right into one note, I keep that in there are the odds good that I may need it later on? Maybe, maybe not. But when I do, it’s there. But it’s a habit that I’ve had to cultivate over years and years. And it’s one that constantly backslides, I talked to people about this all the time, you get into this habit of saying, Yeah, we’re supposed to capture everything to put it in your system. So you trust your system, the biggest weakness in your system is trusting yourself to put things into the top of the funnel, the system will work if it has things to work on. But if we’re not capturing our information into our processes, what’s it going to work with? So I find that my lack of capture time is almost always the reason why my processes break down when they do so reinforcing to myself, What do I capture everything I possibly can, if I don’t need it, it’s really easy to delete later on,
Augusto Pinaud 13:13
I capture anything on everything that I can and and that is exactly the recent if I discover, oh, well, I captured this and I will it’s really irrelevant or I will not use it or any of that it is a really Piece of cake to just say delete. I don’t care for this. But what I have discovered like you is that if I say oh, well, I can capture that later that thought not only will hug me because I will not remember but it will never come back on police out always time and you are Oh great. I should have had this done. So I without any doubt over the years I have learned and be comfortable with our capture. And they are things on on my system that without any doubt they are over captured trash can to use the same example our broad there is a task on my agenda to bring the thing in and out I understand there is
physical reminder as soon as I get out if it’s a Monday morning every one of my neighbors has a trash cans outside. So I should be clear that you know it’s trash day. But regardless, I like to have that coming up that he’s part of the things allow me to when I’m looking at Sunday night what’s tomorrow on I said all tomorrow we need to remember that I need those five extra minutes to get those things out to make sure you know that we don’t have trash cans full of trash that kind of go on the truck on Monday on the same thing when I come back. Okay because sometimes Hey, you’re coming back home in a hurry. I like to have that reminder when things start coming down say I haven’t put these things out let me go outside right now and do it. So I tend to over capture a lot of things but I think over the years has saved me of pain more than the pain that has cost
Raymond Sidney-Smith 15:18
over the years like you know, my capturing process has kind of abdin flowed yours has more flowed mine has more engaged and I don’t know whether it’s just because I have a stronger sense of trust in my system. But what I have found is that the better and more complete my capture process has been the skills and habits associated with it, the less I I capture redundant items in that sense. So I still capture thoughts when I have them. But I have a stronger sense of the fact that I am capturing and an external source that I trust. And therefore I don’t actually I used to capture the same thoughts over and over again, right. So I, I would go to my system multiple times per week, and find the same thing in my inbox, right, because I would have captured it earlier in the week, processed it into my system, and then come back and saw that I captured earlier that day a thought and then once I’ve processed it, I realized that projects already in my system. And so therefore it hadn’t yet left my unconscious, my mind was still doing that work. And I feel like as you get better at being able to collect into a system that you trust, then you stop doing that your brain can let go. And that has been a huge savior of my mental faculties. Because now that’s the energy that I’m not using for trying to remember everything. And for those of you who are concerned that by capturing everything out of your head, somehow, you’re going to lose a capacity, I still remember adjust as well as I did. Now going back to 2001. So it’s 2018, you know, seven teen years ago. So there was no loss of faculty from getting everything out of my head, I feel fully and completely mentally capable as it as it relates to the same memory, you know, we all are born with just about the same memory as we have today. We, you can do mnemonics and other kinds of things to train your your memory, and I feel just as good I don’t feel like my I’ve lost a faculty. So I know there’s some people out there who sometimes there are like, well, I don’t want to save everything, an external system. Because then somehow, like a muscle, I’ll lose the ability to remember things. Your memory was just as bad as it was when you when you start GTD and it will be just as bad once you get to be a really great practitioner. But likewise, it will be just as good. So I didn’t want to kind of point that out.
Augusto Pinaud 17:47
But I think I think you mentioned something that is important. In particular, with GTD, there’s five steps and I think people tend to think especially when they’re at the beginning oh well fine five simple things I will get them up and what I have learned over the years is the better you get at any of those five the more attention you need to pick on add another one and please note every time oh well I’m now getting better collecting the next step is getting better and processing it may be better at doing it may be better at review I like your remember years ago before I really trust what I had you know to collecting the same thing two or three times and sometimes even on the same inbox you know getting at the end of the day I noticed discovered I have four times the same thing what I learned is that it’s not that I was one that was good second because it’s obviously still had my attention second what I have learned over time whereas the system continue to improve is that your stop collecting those because now they come to a point where did you trust that your brain trust he don’t need to keep the attention that you are going to now founded on this system. You know people including me tend to forget the Kyle’s where things were when they start with, with getting things done, you know, and before that, and it’s not a pretty place. And it’s not necessarily a pretty place to remember. But sometimes just start getting better on subtly, it feels that you are worse now you’re not worth you just need to get to the next stage. And those five things, you know, are constantly pushing back and forward
Raymond Sidney-Smith 19:36
I wanted to talk about where you capture, I think Francis tried to answer a little bit of this a bit ago about capturing everything in Google Keep, where do the rest of us capture, and what do we capture. So in essence, you know, we have, we have physical and, and digital and capture really are the main two outputs, you know, places where we can hold things other than our, our, you know, mental, you know, psyche space. And so if the idea is to move it from mental to physical and digital, where do you save those things, we could talk a little bit about the tools we use, and a little bit about, you know, how we get those things in there. I’ll give one example about how I capture that I think is kind of interesting and useful for people. And it’s a, it’s a temporal capture. And it’s for very specific reason. So for household grocery shopping, it’s inevitable that we show up at the grocery store. And we do not remember what is in the refrigerator, in the cupboards in the cabinets, and so on, so forth. So one of the things I do is I create a shared Google Photos album. And it’s shared with everyone in the household. And, you know, right before going to the grocery store, I go through, and I just take photographs of the cabinets, the pantry, you know, everything in the cupboards, where there’s food products, and such. And then those all just get quickly highlighted and selected and added to the shared photo album. And then when we’re at the grocery store, or somebody at the grocery store, there’s not really a question as to what we have, and we don’t have to go through taking an inventory I have thought about it like going through and, you know, taking an inventory of everything in the house and scanning everything but it just takes too much time, it’s not worth it for the for the productive output on the other side. So, you know, the capture process is such that it’s it’s it’s captured or an organized you know, capture clarified, organized very, very quickly. And then on the other side of it, once it’s done, it’s done, we can just delete the images because we don’t need them anymore. So that’s like one way in which you can capture in a way that has immediate productive benefits. But I wanted to talk about not just those kinds of surgical techniques for capture but the way in which were generally capture and your system
Augusto Pinaud 22:01
when I begin capturing I begin capturing in paper on I even choir time, the David Allen company used to do a wallet who had a little notebook inside and I carried Oh, things for for many, many, many years. Now, between with the iPhone on the Apple Watch on the iPad with a pencil I capture I will say 99% of what I capture its digital even if I take notes on on paper that is really rare. And then I will just take a picture and then everything gets into the inbox in Omni focus. It is fantastic to be able to tell my watch, hey, remind me about x and then have it directly into Omni focus for me, 99% of those thoughts are captured digitally into Omni focus the rest of the stuff that comes to me I I have known to send me emails for example I received last night somebody sent me a link. So that link is automatically forward to only focus but did you send me an email, then I just will send an email or forward that email completely to me focus if they’re assumption I will do later on
Francis Wade 23:27
as a recent study that came out show that there’s a link between writing down your to do list before you go to bed and how fast you fall asleep. So it’s an interesting one that says essentially, if you throw the thermometer or listeners is called as the guy Nick effect, which I know you guys are aware of that when we don’t capture well outside of our memory or subconscious keeps pinging or mind and these resources show that there’s a guy Nick effect also keeps you up at night. So one of the antidotes is to capture its just right away what you need to do for the next day. And that gets you to sleep faster. So goes to what I said about you know what it’s like to not capture? Well, it does have real life sort of impact.
Art Gelwicks 24:11
Mine’s a slightly different take, though I think we’ve got when it comes to capture a fantastic set of tools that are evolving very quickly. And that’s the voice based tools, whether you’re using the Echo, whether you’re using the Google Assistant whether using Siri doesn’t really matter. One of the biggest liabilities of capture has always been the mechanical process of doing the capture. But with a voice based assistant, you can do that capture with basically no thought at all. And I’ll use your process of identifying things to go grocery shopping for mines, very different. But similar in the respect that everything has to get captured. I’ll stand in front of the refrigerator look and say, Oh, you know what we’re running out of mustard. I need mustard, hey, Echo, put mustard on the shopping list. And what that does is not only as an immediate capture, because she responds back saying hey, has been put on the shopping list. But also that shopping list then feeds through to my to do list so that when I’m standing in the grocery store, I can pull up my list of things I need to pick up and done, there is no mechanism than anybody has to learn, all I have to do is know how to speak and they can capture into that particular system. So my wife can do it, my son can do it, whatever is necessary that flow processes there. So from a capture standpoint, again, one of the biggest liabilities has always been that physical mechanism, the more convenient that physical mechanism can be for you. Maybe voice isn’t your thing. Maybe pictures are maybe text notes are maybe text messages are doesn’t matter. Find that convenience point for you. And all of a sudden, the capture makes it much easier. That’s what I had to do in many cases. And I’ve found that at least for me, the voice part is significantly improving the ratio of things that I capture versus the things that I don’t I really
Raymond Sidney-Smith 26:07
like that that workflow art night. And I do keep a grocery list in my system. So there’s two sides of it, right? Because it’s like the, the stuff that you capture as you run out of it. And then the things that you’re in the grocery store, and you’re like, well, there’s a really great sale on toothpaste. This actually happened to me the other day, right. So, you know, target had this really amazing deal on toothpaste, the toothpaste that I buy, I was like, Do I have any in the cabinet. I can’t remember, you know, that kind of thing. And it was too good an offer to pass up. And so now I have toothpaste for two years,
you know, and it’s likely that I would have purchased it anyway. Because, you know, toothpaste is going to get used the discount certainly was worth purchasing it the bulk up front, but it’s things like that, where it’s like, do we have enough ketchup Do we have enough whatever it may not have run out. But now you know, there’s a there’s a sailor and I really liked the idea of being able to, to buy in bulk discount and save the money up front. And you know that that kind of thing. So it’s a really, I now that I’ve been doing it the last couple of months for grocery shopping, it’s actually been really revolutionary.
Art Gelwicks 27:17
I gotta go right with you on that and take it to the next step. Because this is one of the things that I’ve started doing over about the past month. If I’m standing there, and I’m looking at something like the gallon of milk, and I know that the gallon milk is about half full, but its expiration date is on Tuesday. I’ll literally say remind me on Monday to buy milk because I know the milk is going to go back. Well, I’m not thinking about
Raymond Sidney-Smith 27:41
that there is no reason for me to tie up mental cycles on when the milk is going to go bad. That’s what the tools are designed to do. So whether it’s a voice statement out to a digital system, or whether it’s a note in a paper planner, whatever, what you’ve done is you’ve accomplished something in your process through just the act capture. definitely agree I wanted to just talk a little bit about my own system and have captured for for the listening audience. And we can we can kind of move on from there. For me, I actually do a lot of stuff in physical although my entire system otherwise is managed digitally. And so as many of you know, who have listened for a while I use remember the milk is my task manager and and I use Evernote in Confluence. So the way I do it is that everything that happens in physical paper like I like taking physical notes in meetings, I still just really like the the idea of of taking physical notes. And so I have many tools for being able to capture physical notes from a live scribe pen and notebook to I just recently bought a new
notebook paper pen ever last by by the rocket book folks that allows me to automatically scan things from the app and they they drive directly into where I want them to go. So they can go to Evernote Google Drive, and it could be emailed automatically just by checking the little box on the paper. And that’s that’s really really fantastic. The scanning technology is great. But that comes down to taking thoughts from a book right. So if I own the book and it’s not a book that I’ve gotten out from the library or something like that, and it’s not digital right Kindle allows you to synchronize your your Kindle notes and clippings directly to digital but if I’m if I’m writing notes and in in the books that I own, which I heavily annotate the the margins of my books, I just sit there with my my my Evernote open and I just hold it over the page, it captures that image and drags it into Evernote. And then remember, I’m not processing the Evernote inbox from Evernote. I’m processing it from the remember the boat milk task inbox. So everything digital goes in there, you know, the Alexa and and Google homes that are you know, in my mind office, those are set up so that I can add by voice directly into my task list. And I use every device I mean, since I can capture in almost every way with regard to remember the milk, you know, it might be sometimes an email or text message, or I’m capturing directly from from the desktop environment. using a keyboard shortcut, I’m capturing always into that remember the milk inbox and has been a really, really great process for me, so that I’m able to wherever I’m at capture while I’m driving, when me and recording here, I’m going to be hopping in the car and driving a couple hundred miles. And in that timeframe, I’m going to have a great amount of time to be thinking by myself in the car. And it’s a beautiful time to capture that ability, like art said to audibly capture into your system is remarkably helpful. So I hope that helps folks really understand how I capture and really connecting physical items just always captured into a space where you know, that you can capture it. And this this brings me to the nature of capture creating some challenges for your productivity system. And I wanted to talk about some of those problems, which is, is there such a thing as over capture, and, and how do you deal with the overwhelm that comes with maybe getting started with getting things done, or GTD and recognizing that you have all of these things and and next week we’re going to obviously be talking about clarifying or processing one’s inbox. I don’t really want to want to think about it. On the flip side of that I really want to stay on the cusp of capturing specifically but are there things we can do to calm our nerves with regard to not capturing because we get potentially nervous about over capturing and as our resident over capture a gusto What do you have to say to that
Augusto Pinaud 32:00
well, there is no such thing as over capture I already established that it’s been over capture may have been may have been the time where I was capturing the same thing three times but the important part to the capturing process is are you capturing everything that you need to capture you know and go things that are maybe coming two or three times even that is the same thing they may come in for a reason you may be missing something you may be obviously if he’s still coming up there is two possibilities one you are not trusting what you capture already okay. And that happens or second you capture and have to nothing about it. For example, you capture pay taxes on April 15 or great is January doesn’t matter. Okay. But if you put it on your system and you’re not doing any of the other steps on suddenly comes I guarantee you comes Two weeks later and you have done nothing about it and you have no plan he will come back again again and say hey, you have not done anything about taxes. Okay. And unlike that they are little things us wedding anniversary present for the wife and toilet paper. You know, hey, you know toy, we need toilet paper. Fine. Let me capture that. And you call Alexa or whatever and capture that and you are coming back. And he’s going to happen again. It’s going to come I I just said Alexa. And of course the thing on the background on my house and start saying how can I help you today I’ll be quiet right now will be
Art Gelwicks 33:32
related to over capture. There’s an analogy I used to it. Think about how we have changed in the way we take pictures.
If you look at before digital cameras were in everybody’s pocket. And on everybody’s smartphone, you had 36 exposures on a roll if you were lucky. And you were very careful about what you took pictures of because you knew it was going to be a while before you got to see them. You they there was a cost attached to them. But now with digital technology. We snap pictures of everything. We snap pictures of our breakfast, our dog, our dog eating our breakfast, you name it, we’re taking pictures of it. We take so many. And then we go back through and say Yeah, that one’s good. That one’s good. Oh, that’s terrible. Get rid of that.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 34:15
That that same mindset should translate directly to capturing things for our productivity process. Because it is so easy to go through and knock things out after the fact. But if you’ve missed them in the first place, you can’t get them back. So capture it and then process it later. I personally I don’t think you can over you can never capture enough. And the reality is, is that the the real issue is, as we’ll talk about next week, is that the goal is to trash it when it’s actually just trash, right. So that you know, don’t worry about Don’t worry about capturing it now. Because once we get to clarifying, you’ll be comfortable with the idea of it time that you can actually trash something with a sense of sanctity, whether it’s over a covert the notion will come to you that that things should be thrown in the trash if it needs to. And the way I’ve kind of seen it with Google Photos is that I don’t really need to purge Google Photos. Every so often of the, of the detritus that I that I collect over time. But because it’s unlimited storage, you know, for those high resolution images, and what Google defines as high resolution. So the So the reality is, is that my personal Google account is not going to somehow stop the ability to keep taking photographs, they’re just getting uploaded and back backed up. And I can just, you know, select all and get rid of it. And actually, Google Photos has now provided a system where it says, Hey, by the way, here’s a bunch of stuff that you should probably org archive. And and it gives you that, you know, machine learning in the background saying, Okay, this is stuff that probably is garbage. And so instead of archive, I could just go ahead and say, Well, now, instead of archiving, I’m just going to delete those things. So you don’t even have to worry about the the flip side to capturing which is somehow archiving or deleting things on on the on the final and just really think about getting it in because as you said, Are you can either capture it now and potentially not be able to get it in the future. Or you could not capture it now and and regret it later. What do we do about things that that don’t fit into our inbox is what do we do about things that come in the form of things we’ve already collected and organized that need to come back into our inbox? How do we how do we double back on our on our capturing and collection process I was recently having this discussion and the which is why it comes to my mind and and how do we deal with things that are critical nature meaning that they’re important and urgent, we’re capturing it now into our inbox. But we have to be able to make sure we keep that Top of Mind very soon. I’m curious about how we deal with some of these more advanced things related to the capturing habit
Augusto Pinaud 37:11
there’s a couple of things to that one is regardless of their physical or not for me I will have a reminder nominee focus okay if I have a box or a document or anything there the reminder will go and only focus and if there is something who has that urgency on it I will put immediately had to date and usually the end of that day and the reason is that will create a pop up on Omni focus that will tell will remind me about that one Adana the day that I that that’s really critical, or maybe at the end of the week, dependent, dependent, what independent, what is that level,
you know, of urgency, because that
Augusto Pinaud 38:01
sometimes you capture those on the go on the run. And what happened is, you put them in the system, but you may not clear that inbox until the next morning. So when that happened, I just put an immediate due date that I know will pop up. And it will give me that reminder that I capture that. So the next morning, say, Oh, I captured that. But I forgot to process
Francis Wade 38:25
this to piggyback on what it was to sing. I think there’s a there’s two kinds of capture, there’s a distinction that we need to draw, I think it’d be useful for our listeners to sort of tune into one is what I was talking about, which is the capture of a time demand a capture of a commitment that requires an action in the future that has one kind of behavior associated with it. The other kind is it can we were talking about before where you’re capturing basically information into a library of contacts or notes in Evernote or passwords, or still you need later but you don’t know when it’s basically you’re building a personal library of information, of photos of audios, music, whatever
stuff that you may need later, but you’re going to put into some kind of library that’s indexed that when you need it in the future, be able to pull it up, those two kinds of capture are very different. One is one is a commitment that you’re making. The other one is it just in case I need it, I’ll put it in my library kind of behavior. I think the second has all of the urgency and it is a guy Nick effect, and it’s going to sleep at night. It that’s the part the ones in the in the the time demands are the ones that really bother us more than the ones that are related to our library. Unless, of course, we can’t find something in our library that we thought we saved. And as I said, the picture has gone forever. But I think the two behaviors are very different. Even though we’re using the word capture for both of them. I think they’re very, very, very different.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 40:01
There are definitely different layers of capture. I would agree there. I would agree there. One thing that I wanted to know is when when we get to the idea of having and starting a system, we we tend to get overwhelmed by a number of different things. And especially once we started practicing GTD for quite some time or any mean really you don’t do you practice GTD in order for the capture concept to be useful to you. And so if you get to that state where you have something that is, has been captured, you have clarified it, you’ve organized it. And for some reason, it languishes in your system. I was recently talking on the GTD virtual study group about this, which is that I just have a tendency to throw it back into my inbox, right to basically recapture it, it’s a digital so it’s just a matter for me of moving it back into my my remember the milk inbox, but the very act of that trains my brain to know that I haven’t it may have the circumstances may have changed, the commitment needs to be renegotiated or I have not clarified that that seemingly clarified item enough, right. So I may have decided something is a project with an action. And then that action sits on my my task list from one weekly review to the next weekly route to the next one. And that’s my, my rubric to identify, oh, you know, what, this is not properly clarified, because there’s something about this that I’m not doing, you know, there’s either lack of motivation, the circumstances have changed, like I said, something about it is, is not right, you know, quote, unquote, right. And so I just throw that back into the inbox, I recapture items that I feel like haven’t been clarified yet. And, and what happens is, the very act of putting it back in my inbox gives my my unconscious mind time to problem solve, because between those few hours of putting it back into buy in box upon recognizing that it hasn’t been dealt with properly to the point, when I then go to clarify, now, my, my mind has done maybe some of that problem solving and pattern recognition in the background. And now I’ll sit down and look at that process, that unprocessed item in my inbox again, and boom, I know exactly what needs to be done, because I’ve given more thought to it. And it’s not even conscious thought necessarily, the bulk of it is a conscious thought the the bulk of it has been unconscious, thought that it was just basically putting it back on my radar to get me there.
Francis Wade 42:35
So I hope that’s helpful to people. And I think, you know, it’s really important for us to think about some of these other sides of it is that the, the idea of an inbox wherever it might be on whatever platform or program is that it’s a, it’s a 24 seven asynchronous way of capturing potential 10 demands, or potential commitments that we create in boxes, for the most part, other than the one that you made. But for the most part, or email inbox is for anyone to send us a potential time demand. And for it to sit there until we’re ready to process it, once we set eyes on it, and then decide that we’re going to do something about it, we can then create an actual time demand. So there’s a big difference between those which are potential, which sitting are in boxes and all these different places, and those which are actual, which we have processed and then made a psychological commitment to complete. I think the example you gave us interesting one, because a potential time demand me and he was in your inbox in the beginning, you converted it into actual by putting it maybe on a list or in your schedule Three weeks later of not doing it, you realize I’m not sure if I’m psychologically committed to doing this thing. So you throw it back into the inbox. And in other words, you said, it’s not an actual time demand, it’s actually a potential town demand, maybe I’ll turn it back into an actual but let me No, turn it back into potential until I can process it. Again, I think that’s an interesting example of how it can particular commitment can go from being potential to actual have him back the potential of which so rarely happens, but interesting when it does,
Raymond Sidney-Smith 44:14
right. And I would argue that it actually happens more often than people think it does,
because we all we all want to say we do all the things on our task lists, and they don’t get done. And so what is it? What is the appropriate mechanism for being able to get them done. And I think when something’s not getting done, you need to put a little bit more energy, whether that’s engaging with it more or reflecting on it more, there’s a little bit of vacillating between the fourth and fifth stages of the workflow map going back and forth between review and reflect and engaging and doing and then back to potentially clarifying again, by capturing it in your inbox. So there’s this volleying of things and I know that David Allen has this strong belief that we should touch things once, right, so touch that email once clarified, into an action or project, and then its subsequent actions, and so on, so forth. But the reality is, is that some things are just emotionally sticky or emotionally unclear. And those create the sense of inertia from its ambiguity or from its emotional weight. And it does need to be touched more than once. And it needs to be maybe touched, touched many times in order for you to be able to really come to a strong sense that you want to deal with that now, people who believe they they something like actually related to what you just said, which is, do you are you obligated to complete everything you capture,
Francis Wade 45:45
and I tell them, No, you’re not. And you can see them sort of smile and start to relax. Because up until that point, they have told themselves that everything they capture they have to do and they also have to do it, maybe even by by keeping it a memory, which is what one person told me that those are too stressful release, if you could just capture freely and just let go, the fact that you’ve captured and then have it have nothing to do with your capacity to actually execute it, you just capturing it with the intention to it. But you know, you may never do it that could actually free up to just capture freely and capture without any sense of guilt.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 46:21
I do want to note that David Allen covers this whole concept of capturing in in three different parts of getting things done, the second edition, the one that was published in March 2015. And so he covers in chapter two, chapter five and chapter 11. So if you want to go back to those chapters to review the material, it’s just a portion a section within chapter two. And then chapter five. And chapter 11 is where he really dives into the material deeply. So if you’re interested in learning fully about capturing and the capture habit and skill, I would, I would go to those chapters
Augusto Pinaud 46:56
even that we talk a lot about digital capturing, you know, to company and what Francis said, it doesn’t matter how to capture it’s completely fine that you capture in a notebook in paper in a digital version doesn’t matter. The important part is that you’re actually capturing on that you’re capturing everything that he’s coming to your mind. Francis said, No, you don’t need to do everything that you capture. But it’s important that you capture everything that has come to your attention.
Raymond Sidney-Smith 47:25
Great. So this closes out this episode of productivity cast. And so do you have a question or comment about this cast GTD specifically or something else we discussed in this episode Feel free to visit this page for this cast at productivity cast.net forward slash 039 that’s the episode number 039 and leave your question or comment there will be happy to engage with you have another topical question about personal productivity not discussed on this cast, please visit productivity cast.net forward slash contact and we’ll go ahead and get your questions there. Thanks to Augusto Francis and Art for joining me here on this cast. You can find this casts, show notes and how to subscribe at productivity cast.net forward slash 039. And if you could please add a rating or review in iTunes to help us grow our personal productivity community of listeners. And thank you. That brings us to the close out of this episode of productivity cast the weekly show about all things productivity. Thanks and we’ll see you next week when we discuss clarifying or processing and the GTD system.
Voiceover Artist 48:34
And that’s it for this productivity. Cast the weekly show about all things productivity with your host Ray Sidney-Smith and Augusto Pinaud with Francis Wade and Art Gelwicks.
Note: GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. This is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by the David Allen Company.