One of the mistakes I made early on was trying to put everything into my GTD system. While I agree that you need to put 100% of your tasks/projects in it to make it work, I was trying hard to squeeze all of my reference data in there too.
The biggest problems were business cards and bills. When they land in my inbox, how do I deal with them in GTD-style? The simple answer: I don’t.
Business cards never become a Next Action, nor do they get sorted in my filing cabinet. When I have to process one, I simply add it to my Windows Address Book (which syncs with my iPhone), and put them in a particular desk drawer. I could probably throw them away, but I like to keep them “just in case”. Once the information is in my phone, I always have access to it and it’s a great place for that kind of reference material.
Another example are our bills. While it would be ideal to take two minutes to pay each one when they arrive, that’s not always possible for financial reasons.
I considered listing them in my GTD system and then putting the bills in my file cabinet, but I decided against it. I already have a nice bill-holding wooden thing on my desk, so I just continue to use it. When new bills come in to my inbox, I open them and decide whether to pay it right then or not. If I decide not to pay right away, I put them in the bill holder. I’ve made it part of my weekly review to go through all of the bills in there, pay the ones that need to be paid, and at least be aware of the due dates for the others.
So that’s your tip for today. Don’t stress about putting everything in your GTD system. Just make sure you have a system in place to deal with everything to help yourself continue to have a “mind like water”.