Component/Fundamental #4 — Acting Now v2

During the act of Emptying, the user often discovers that a number of time demands can be completed with only a 2-5 minute burst of immediate activity.


Acting Now means taking immediate action on items that have been emptied from a capture point. For example, a friend’s new phone number can be entered immediately into a contact database of phone numbers within 60 seconds.

The easiest course of action for some time demands is to deal with them immediately, rather than to go through a longer process of entering them into a list, or into a schedule.

Also, there are occasions, in which taking immediate action leads to other actions, and care must be taken to deal with these follow-up items by either capturing them, or placing them in the time management system.


Act on as many items that can be acted on now as time will allow. Stick to the 2-5 minute rule, and if an activity turns out to be more time-consuming than originally expected, check the schedule to see if it can be done now, or schedule it for a later time.

  • A Novice or White Belt tries to do everything that has been captured immediately, instead of selectively applying the Acting Now component.
  • A Yellow Belt does not look for time demands that can be acted on now, and instead will try to put each and every item in their time management system. The result is that too much time is spent administering even simple time demands.
  • For an Orange Belt, Acting Now is used frequently. At times, a user at this level will lose track of the 5 minute rule and spend too much time on the task, possibly creating a problem in their schedule. Follow-up items that result from Acting Now are sometimes effectively dealt with, and sometimes not.
  • A Green Belt is skillful in seeing which items truly take less than five minutes, and if they make a mistake, they simply stop and place the item in their time management system if it requires more time. They are able to quickly see the next step in any project, complex task or process. When the action taken produces a follow-up time demand, they immediately place it in the time management system.