Wow, first time in over 5 years!

After reading in several blogs about David Allen and his book/process Getting Things Done, I decided to give it a try.  The set-up has been significant, and I’m not done by any stretch, but I’ve finished my inbox, and for the first time since the day I started at Microsoft, my inbox is empty!

lj's empty inbox!

Jeff Sandquist has been a wonderful source of information on the process, as well as encouragement.  The inbox took me right about 3.5 hours of focused effort, going from around 430 emails (all already thread compressed) to zero.  Boy does zero feel good… WOO HOO!

If you are thinking of using this process, here are a couple of my implementation notes:

  • The Outlook Add-in totally rocks (although of course I do have a few suggestions for improvements 😉

  • Many things that I think should take two minutes, actually take 5-10 (hmm, maybe that’s why I have a hard time making it home when I say I’ll be home?)

  • I’ve discovered that I’m a very bad judge of just how long two minutes is (tonight on the way home I’m going to buy a timer to help train myself)

  • When I create a task for an email that is going to take more than two minutes to deal with, I wish I would have started from the very beginning prepending “Review/Respond“ to the begining of the task name, as well as including in the task which folder I filed the email

  • Allowing enough focused time for collection and processing is critical

  • And lastly, Remember to bring your lunch if you’re going to spend Sunday in the office

Comments (10)

  1. Randy says:

    *w00t!* Too bad there’ll be like 50 emails waiting for you the next morning…

    Sorta like doing laundry, though, isn’t it? You finish the last load and start all over the next morning…

  2. Congrats Laura! It’s a great program–keep it up.


  3. Laura,

    Thanks for the tips, just went out and bought the book. Wish me luck 🙂


  4. Eric Newton says:

    So you used the same method I do?

    Select the Inbox

    Ctrl+A, Shift+Del… all done!

    …just bein a wise cracker…

  5. Ralph Poole says:

    I started using the program about a month ago. It really has changed my approach to managing my work. I am much more organized and efficient. Now, i have to see how long this lasts, I am usually and early adopter and loose intrest fast.

  6. <b>The Four Criteria Model</b>

    I mentioned the idea of context in my earlier posts about Getting Things Done, and that is the first criteria in this model that you apply to make instant decisions about what to do next. Context is all about where you are and what tools you have at your disposal. The other criteria are Time, Energy, and Priority. Applied in this order, you can very rapidly filter your list of possible actions and make the best decision about the very next thing you can accomplish.

  7. About 4 months ago Marc Orchant started blogging with us at and since then he has shared over 200 productivity suggestions. His blog is also the most popular here on I think this proves a point: people who use Office are interested in productivity, getting things done faster, more efficiently and having fun doing it. So kudos to Marc for his excellent work. However, Marc’s contribution to the OfficeZealot world is far more personal. Early on, Marc and I discovered we had a common interest in organization. We love to organize our life, our office, our computer and our family (though I’m not sure my wife appreciates that). For those who know me personally, I’m often viewed as border line perfectionist. So when Marc suggested I look at Getting Things Done (or abbreviated GTD) I was a bit skeptical. However I’m thankful he did show it to me. GTD is a simple system to keep things organized and to help you get things done. The thing I like about the system is that it is not complicated. I believe anyone can do it. It doesn’t need any fancy software or any special organizer. So if you’re doubtful or have been to lazy to look into it, consider this another plug to do so. But don’t just take my word for it: Marc Orchant’s first post on GTD (read his whole series) Laura J makes the GTD confession Robert Scoble says his life has changed. Yes this is my cheap plug to pretend like I know Robert Scoble by referring to him. David Allen Company…

  8. Ian Morrish says:

    A site about using Microsoft Outlook for Getting Things Done

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