GTD For Legal: Capturing and Transforming “Stuff” into Next Action Items

by rocketmatter-admin July 15, 2009

As part of our weeklong legal efficiency-fest, we’re discussing the Getting Things Done productivity system in the context of a law firm.  Each day this week, we’ll write guest posts at prominent legal blogs exploring the system in more detail.

Today, our friend and social media Obi Wan Grant Griffiths is hosting our post on Legal GTD.  Thanks so much for the opportunity, Grant!  Click here to read the post in its entirety.

Yesterday we painted an overview of Getting Things Done for the legal practitioner.  As GTD adherents will say, becoming an organizational “black belt” takes a lot of time.  And utilizing all components of the system may not work for you.  But several of the techniques, such as the ones I’m presenting this week, are those that by themselves can really impact your productivity.

Dealing with “Stuff”

In GTD, “stuff” has a specific definition: “anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven’t determined the desired outcome and the next action step” (from “Getting Things Done”, Chapter 1).

In other words, stuff is anything you have to deal with that requires a plan of action, from the trivial to the complex.  The problem most people encounter when they attempt to get organized is that they don’t think about their stuff and transform it into actionable plans.  For example, recording a to-do called “work on matter” will not help you move forward with your work, as there’s no clear result from the activity.  It’s too vague.

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