So, time for the last two phases of GTD — reflect and engage.
The reflect phase refers to the fact that once you have entered everything into your trusted system and continue to add any new material you engage with as they appear, you need to perform a review of all the projects you’ve added to make sure that each one is moving forward with next actions and is not left to languish on a list.
This is a very important step, oftentimes people fill their project list with important items, come up with next steps that they can immediately do to move things forward and then, when things get hectic and work comes at them from every direction, forget to keep moving forward by coming up with another next step for each of their projects.
The purpose of the reflect step is to make sure that this does not happen. Naturally, you review your todo list on an almost daily basis as you work from it, but it is a good idea to instill the habit of a weekly review where you sit down with your system and thoroughly go through it.
Go over every project, make sure that every project has an appropriate next step. Delete projects you’re no longer interested in. Check projects you had on your someday/maybe list and see if you would like to move ahead on those, etc.
You may also take some time to go through your reference material to see if you would like to do anything about it. This is a very important habit, and once you get into it, you’ll find that it empowers you by giving you the feeling that you are on top of everything. Every week, you get to know the landscape of your work tasks.
Finally, the engage stage is where you execute the tasks. Can’t tell you what to do there, since this will be unique to your work. Just do whatever you have decided to do now given that you are aware of the entirety of your workload.
One thing that is helpful here is the context tags you may have have added when creating your tasks. Remember when I mentioned in a previous post that it is a good idea to tag tasks according to context?
So for example, if you want to engage with your tasks and you’re in your office in front of your computer, you may want to filter for the “at_computer” tag in your todo list so that you know what you can do in that context.
That’s it ladies and gents, time to go out there and get productive. Enjoy the sense of control that GTD brings to your life, I know that I have!