Trusted enabling system

What is a trusted system
We are talking about a trusted enabling system if:

  • You put everything in it
  • The system is always at your disposal, wherever you are, whenever you want/need it
  • All the devices you are carrying with you are synchronized with each other and have the same apps/ functionality
  • It is out of your head
Inputs into your head

Your system in “continues improvement”
Every person today has many sources of information. Besides personal interaction, there are many mails, news, meeting info, exciting topics on the Internet, Twitter messages, Facebook messages, SMS, Whatsapp messages, Instagram, iMessage, etc. In addition to the interactions with your colleagues, family, friends, and other stakeholders in your network, things are often asked from you to do.

The idea behind the GTD method is to go through these sources one by one and organize from an Inbox what you want or need to do with them. Over time, these sources will change (Hyves no longer exists), and new sources will be added. Therefore, it is essential to keep asking yourself which sources provide inputs for you and adjust your system accordingly as part of the Weekly debrief process.

When becomes your enabling system trusted

  • You choose a fixed routine (or ritual) as you prefer, with the same steps of which you know that if you go through them consistently, one after the other, “everything is caught” and ends up on the right pile;
  • You consistently go through these same steps every day/week in a fixed rhythm (routine);
  • Do not get distracted to get off your “plan for that moment,” also called discipline. But also embrace a concept like contextual computing.

Setup the routines on every device

On the MacBook (and on the Elgato StreamDeck), iPhone and iPad I use the same menu structure:

MacBook GTD setup
iPhone GTD setup
iPad GTD setup

What is needed to create and maintain a trusted system

  • An enabling system containing those steps/ routines, in my case, I use OmniFocus.
  • Reserve time in your calendar for these routines and always do it (discipline).
  • Conceptual computing concept (menu structure) taken you directly to the action you want/ have to avoid any distraction.
iPad - trusted system
Trusted enabling system on the iPad

I have the following routines in place:

  • Reveille (of course) you do at the beginning of the day. I have in the morning the most energy. People who have the most energy in the evening recommend doing the routine in the evening, or even middays if you prefer. But do it every (working) day. The setup is described here.
  • Closure: simple steps to get current and enjoy what you have accomplished today.
  • Daily digest of news and other information. Please read here the setup with video and downloadable Shortcuts.
  • Weekly debrief: this is the most essential (professional) moment in the week. Here I take steps to make sure I am current and actual. The setup is described here.

The Reveille routine
GTD gives you some direction on how to get things out of your head, get clear, and being prepared for the things to come. I have adjusted these steps to my needs, and probably you will have your own needs, so the below steps are for inspiration only.

High level the Reveille routine contains the following steps, also shown in the video:

  • 01. Process Inboxes containing documents to zero and clear out Linkedin
  • 02. Be prepared on meetings, meeting notes and meeting reference material
  • 03. Plan and prepare travel
  • 04. Clear your mind on
    • new commitments you have made
    • which interactions you want to do extra
    • which new meetings/ calls to plan
    • which distraction will I face
    • new ideas which popped up
  • 05. Get actual. Process my inboxes to zero and follow up on ☕️Waiting for and due (progress stopped)
  • 06. Get real of how much “time to fly” is available still and check with what you have to do today, and compare this with time available
  • 07. Plan today by (hyper)scheduling the Today tasks into your agenda

The Closure of the day routine
I use the same Shortcuts as in the Reveille process but limit the action to clean up the Inboxes and decide what to do with the task I did not finish today. It is an abbreviated morning routine and shows as following:

The Daily digest routine
I found myself spinning into multiple hours of reading and consuming news coverage and social media too often. Now there are fully 24/7 networks, social media platforms built around the premises of sucking you in and keeping you there. It is very much a profit thing, and they are good at winding you up to stick around for that next segment/hour/day.

I have mitigated this for myself by allowing only 30 minutes of daily news and socials media consumption. In the video on the left, you view how this is working for me. If I start the first action,, it sets a timer of 30 minutes automatically. The last step asks to stop the timer if the 30 minutes are not exceeded

You can find below the action group tasks in OmniFocus, the Shortcuts which are linked in the tasks of OmniFocus and the result of each step. Adjust this to your individual needs:

  • The project and actions set up of Daily Digest you can find here
  • The menu Shortcut which also starts the 30 minutes timer is here to download
  • The Shortcut for Tweets, you can download here
  • The Shortcut for internet feeds on specific topics, collected in Reeder, can be downloaded here
  • The Shortcut for, here
  • ……… I think you get the drift and you can set up this easy-to-build Shortcuts for the news sources you want yourself
  • The End of Digest Shortcut stops the 30 minuted alarm if not already “stopped”. To download click here

The Weekly debrief routine
The weekly debrief is a list in Omnifocus with repeating tasks, which start on Friday at 15:00 and Due on Friday. High level it consists of the following items:

  • Process all Inboxes
  • Data dump from out of your head with the help of a trigger-list.
  • Become actual with the future (meetings/ events, every project has an action, how to finish projects, waiting on and due, review of goals, outcome, and impact)
  • Check if the system still is trusted (are the routines still working, checklist are actual, area of focus are actual, clean up devices (updates and maintenance)

If have written a separate blogpost about the Weekly debrief process, here to find.

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