The core process for mastering the art of relaxed and controlled knowledge work is a five-stage method for managing workflow. No matter what the setting, there are five discrete stages that we go through as we deal with our work. We (1) collect things that command our attention; (2) process what they mean and what to do about them; and (3) organize the results, which we (4) review as options for what we choose to (5) do. This constitutes the management of the “horizontal” aspect of our lives – incorporating everything that has our attention at any time.
Note: Here defines a project as any desired result that requires more than one action step. This means that some rather small things that you might not normally call projects are going to be on your “Projects” list. The reasoning is that if one step won’t complete something, some kind of stake needs to be placed in the ground to remind you that there’s something still left to do. If you don’t have a placeholder to remind you about it, it will slip back into your brain. Another way to think of this is as a list of open loops.