How do you handle recurring tasks in GTD? This is one that deserve a custom answer for each of us!
Before answering this question, it is important to remind ourselves why we use GTD in the first place: to capture “stuff” that needs doing at the right moment that we would otherwise forget or worry about.
GTD isn’t to capture and manage every minute of your day or smallest actions which are already habits. For example brushing your teeth shouldn’t be a Next Action in your GTD system. It would be both inefficient to track and manage such activities as well as cluttering your GTD system.
There are however recurring things you need to be reminded of, to be done at some point during a given day or due by a specific date and time such as calling some family members on friday nights, filing a monthly report by the 1st Tuesday of the month, etc.
So how do you handle recurring tasks in GTD?
While you’ll find varying advice about using tickler files, checklists, visual cues, etc. I’m all for simplicity and reducing the number of “tools” in your GTD system, with specific Next Actions. Anything else and I tend to simply ignore those “reminders” over time. Ideally you have now adopted an electronic GTD system to remove the need for tickler files or reminder systems and let the technology take care of only showing what’s relevant at the right time.
Is it recurring at a set date/time?
Examples of such Next Actions: daily checking post or voicemail, weekly bills payments, completing your monthly report, etc.
Is it recurring to be done anytime on a certain day?
For those items to get done on a certain day but at no specific time, such as calling my Family members, putting the bin out on a Tuesday evening, etc. you can simply create a recurring task in your GTD system with the relevant context assigned @calls, @home and a due date.
Again, this is easily done in Outlook, Google Calendar or from most smartphones and apps such as ToDoMatrix so it doesn’t clutter your GTD system and doesn’t show up until it is actually due.
You may also consider creating a checklist to bundle tasks for example for your car maintenance review (rather than individual Next Actions to clean windows, check oil, etc.) with the Next Action being to complete this checklist or to schedule specific time in your calendar.
Do you have other tips to handle Recurrent Tasks? Share them below!