If there is one skill that is super helpful in lots of situations and one thing that is severely undervalued, it is the skill of getting to actionable items.
In Getting Things Done, getting all your tasks and projects into an actionable state is called “processing”. This essential part of the process can be done anytime during your day. A great time for processing your tasks is during your weekly review, a frequently returning phrase in this newsletter.
The definition of an actionable item is that with the given context, tools, energy and time, you’re able to complete the thing on your list. For example, “fix car insurance” is not really actionable. If you’d ask yourself: what is the first concrete step you could take to move this thing forward? If might be something like “compare different car insurances” or “call Frank to ask which car insurance he uses”.
Transforming your initial thoughts into these doable items takes a considerable amount of energy. By making sure all the items on your list are actionable, you can take much better advantage of small windows of time that get available during your day.
When listing the things you want to do, convert them to actionable items by asking “what is the first possible step I can take”.