Call for …


Desk Before Pictures!!!! 

There has been a fair amount of hinting that readers of RestartGTD are interested in seeing GTD desk pictures, and sometimes even in sharing desk pictures.  I’ve put my before/after up, and the before/after of one other RestartGTD reader.   Now let’s everyone show everyone theirs!  

Find a picture of your desk before GTD, or take a picture of your desk when off the GTD wagon, then post the picture in the comments to this blog entry.  Blog readers then can chime in with comments.  Commiserate about desk problems.  And generally encourage and troubleshoot.  

I love doing desk makeovers, so I’ll chime in where I think I can add something. For example,

If I were presented with the above desk, then I would advise the “Brutal GTD reference filing cut over” hereafter BGTDRFCO:

Step 1: Go to CostCo and get 5 large boxes.
Step 2: Get a rolling dumpster.  
Step 3: Wait for the weekend (best time of year for the BGTDRFCO is holiday in December, the only time when people will leave you alone at the office)
Step 4: Go through the piles on the desk, left to right, pick up each document and ask “Will there ever be a next action?”

  • If yes, and the action is immediate, put the document into one of the five boxes labeled “In” 
  • If yes, but the action is not immediate, put the document in one of the five boxes labeled “To Scan #” where # goes from 1 to N for all the boxes needed to hold scanned documents. 
  • If there will never be a next action, then put the document in the rolling dumpster. 

Step 5: Move through the entire pile of paper on, in, and around the desk dumping, inbox-ing, or to-scanning all the documents. 
Step 5: Get:

Step 6: Get the scanner working with Evernote:

  • If you have a single-pass dual-sided scanner at work (most workplaces do) then set up scan to email to email to your evernote in-box email address.
  • If you have a desktop scanner, set up the “Scan to Evernote” function to use PDF without doing optical character recognition (OCR). 
  • Set up a clear space to put your “To Scan” box on one side of the scanner, and a second clear space (use another of the 5 boxes labeled “Scanned #”) to build up your pile of scanned documents.  

Step 7: Start on the “To Scan #” box that is on top.  Take each document out, …

  • If the document is not precious, then cut the staple off the top left corner, and feed the document into your scanner, scan it, and then deposit the document in the “Scanned #” box. 
  • Repeat until all the documents in “To Scan” labeled boxes have been scanned.  Change the box labels from “To Scan #” to “Scanned” as you scan documents.  This step took me 3.5 hrs a day for 4 days to import my first 17,500 pdf documents into Evernote.  
  • Store the “Scanned #” boxes if you are paranoid, or recycle if you have that “This is going to work! Uplifting feeling after completing your scanning.” 

Step 8: Put the “In” box on your desk.  You can now scan through the box and apply David Allen’s “processing” to get the documents where they belong.  

I’ll post my current desk in a comment for others to share how they would modify/refine/replace.  But it won’t be until tomorrow!! 

Have a great day! 


bill meade 
















One thought on “Call for …

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