Michael Kuhn writes about getting started with David Allen’s organizational method, GTD. His experience matches mine, although it’s taking me a few years rather than months:

I know when I first started getting everything into my system, I had a ton of stuff I hadn’t put into my inbox because I didn’t have one. Collection of everything took awhile. The book gave me the impression that I could set up my GTD system in a weekend. In reality though, it took a period of months to get everything into my system and even then I have one box of stuff that I need to finish.

via GTD Collection.

He adds,

I think that when it comes to GTD collection, you’ll discover two things:

  1. It takes a little longer to collect everything than you think
  2. You’ll have more stuff to collect than you think
  3. Once you have total collection, you will feel much better.

The first two match my experience. I’m still groping towards “total collection” (sounds like a good title for a movie).

When I first started, I created a proper filing system based on GTD – a file for everything, a real, hard file with a label and a shiny bright red cabinet to put them all in.

This has served me well, and I still use it, even though I also use Evernote and Outlook for my digital stuff.

Recently, I’ve noticed I’m not collecting everything on a regular basis, and have gone back to Allen’s book to review what he wrote about the weekly review.

Here’re some useful links on this topic:

A DAILY review or routine greatly helps reduce the load on a weekly review.

Here are some articles on the daily review or routine:

Happy organizing! And here’s a great quote from Thoreau which reminds me to remember what he heck I’m doing all this organizing FOR:

It is not enough to be industrious; so are the ants. What are you industrious about?

Work, work, work, work, work. If that’s all we do (and obsess about how to do it better), are we any different from the ants or the worker bees? This reminds me to take a look at my life from what Allen calls the 50,000-foot level (pick your own altitude, but it’s “hey! we’re running out of oxygen!” altitude I’m talking about), and to do that on a daily basis.If you don’t keep that at the front of your mind (and it takes daily reminders and practice to do that), you will simply drown in the ocean of trivia – which includes stuff that SEEMS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT AT THE TIME.

Some say that working out the little details helps clear the decks so you can think about the “higher” stuff.

I disagree. If I don’t know what I’m living for, I’m just a sucker that will get sucked in to the first thing that has superficial appeal. I’m not saying people are stupid. They’re not (well, not all of us! Just me and a few billion others). But if I don’t know what I really am, what will be the basis on which I make my decisions about what to do (and not do)? That basis will not be a sound one. “ooh! look! A shiny new app!” One day, someone will come out with an app simply called “Life (2.0)”  and will get a *@!”#$-load of customers.