Processing gives the answers to organize things, classified into two possible groups: without action and with action. Noting the flowchart of processing, you can see some processes in black colour (see previous article: Processing with GTD. These processes form the organizational system.

GTD Organization

Things without action


Those things that do not require an action nor serve as reference are discarded.


Those things that do not require an immediate action, but might be interesting to perform in an uncertain future, can be incubated. They are stored in the “Someday” list.

Some examples can be:

  • Visit “El Prado” Museum.
  • Learn French.
  • Build a pond for turtles.
  • Scan old photos.
  • Visit a special wine winery.
  • Try a special dish.


Those things that can be useful in the future as information or as reference material, are stored in a list called “Consultation”. They can be documents of any type and serve for certain purposes. A good organization of this material is critical in order to the searching and accessing are quick and easy. It is advisable to organize the information:

  • by a specific theme and area: contracts, invoices, payslips, catalogues…
  • by general reference files, in which you store information that does not belong to a default category: instruction manual, travel guide, article about something interesting…

Things with action


If it requires action by others, you save a reminder in the “Waiting” list, with the following information, in order to perform an efficient monitoring:

  • Name of the person or entity to which its execution has been delegated.
  • Delegation date.
  • Estimated completion date (if applicable).
  • Comments/Notes (if applicable).


If something requires action for a certain date (for example, the dentist’s appointment, a meeting or dinner), is annotated and managed in the calendar. You must avoid the daily task list. You have to stick only to appointments (specific date and time), to actions of a particular day (date time) and useful information for a particular day (call reminders or birthdays).

Next actions

In the “Next” list, you must move reminders about those things that require a next action to be performed as soon as possible.


A project is a set of two or more next actions, in s the short / medium term, aimed to the same result.

For example, a project called “Barbecue”, could have the following actions:

  • Clean barbacue.
  • Buy food and drinks.
  • Confirm attendances.
  • Tidy the house.
  • Cooking food.

The actions are executed until produce the final result. At that point, we can say that the project is completed, even if not all their actions are executed.

One of the key points of the organization is the list of projects, which is a simple index of ongoing projects and projects to be performed. That list does not require an ordering or classification. The information, material and actions of each project are stored and managed separately, in a dedicated file.


A context is a classification method that defines the scenario or the tool in which the action will be performed.

The most common contexts are the following:

  • Office.
  • Home.
  • Errands.
  • Computer.
  • Phone.
  • Email.
  • Ubication (common places).
“Success is not achieved only with special qualities. It is, above all, a work of perserverance, method and organization”.- J.P. Sergent

¿Can we improve the organization system?

In his book “Getting Things Done”, David Allen revealed the initial organizational patterns, which give great results. The above can be seen as the best GTD organizational practices in general.

As you master the use of GTD, you may identify the need to implement any improvement personalized organization system, based on specific cases or special scenarios.

For example, a list “Historical” could be useful to save information about completed projects, as well as some important actions already completed. This file is a very useful system for knowledge management, a library where you can find and view important and interesting information to address, in the future, similar projects, or to learn and improve with the experiences gained. Also can be used to store information about actions that have been critical and, in the future, could be recovered for use it to justify anything in a strategically or preventive way.

System organization, processing and organization

The mission of the processing is to filter the inbox, deciding what to do with those you compiled. That is, at a glance, resolves what is each thing and where it must to go.

The organization’s mission is to perform tasks appropriate to take things to the corresponding lists, according to the processing resolution.

The organization system is the structure on which the decision of the processing is managed, and about which the organizing things is carried out.


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