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Next actions - after a set date

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  • Next actions - after a set date

    Hi all.

    Would really appreciate different viewpoints on this: What do you do when you know a next action (or at least can anticipate it) but know that it cannot be done until either:

    a) Another action has been completed before it
    b) AFTER a specific date

    At the moment, I'm tending to just bung next actions into the appropriate list (on Palm), but will of course lead to list growing very quickly and risk numbing by sifting through to what really IS a next action.


  • #2
    Include a list in the action item

    A technique that I use a lot is to add a list of the possible/probable next actions in the notes field of an action item. When I'm ready to declare that action complete, I quickly review the next actions I've already listed and, if the next action for that project is on the list, I simply cut-and-paste it to the subject area and re-date (or un-date as appropriate). If it's not, I add it manually.

    This approach also allows a very quick project review as I'm getting things done. I can, at a glance, get a feel for my progress on a given project (good for the sense of accomplishment) and refine my ability to envision a successful outcome.

    This works on the PDA and in Outlook (or Palm Desktop for that matter).


    • #3
      Re: Next actions - after a set date

      a) Another action has been completed before it

      It's not a next action if it is dependent on something else being done.

      b) AFTER a specific date

      Either Calendar Reminder on earliest possible date - "Create NA for.....", or Palm ToDo with Date, with setting "Show Only Due Items". ("Show Due Dates" is normally unchecked anyway, so you won't notice any difference except that this particular item will not appear on the screen until the date that you specify.)



      • #4
        a) Another action has been completed before it

        I concur that it's not truly a "next" action if something must occur before it. I put these items in my project notes. I keep a projects list in the memo section of my Palm and include future to do's as part of the memo. As I check off my completed next action, I check my project memo to see if I have more to do's listed. Otherwise, I try to catch it during my weekly review.

        b) AFTER a specific date

        I usually put these items in my project notes too, with a notation regarding the date that I can start on it. If I'm concerned that I might not catch it during my weekly review, I can put it on my next actions list with a due date at the future date (and then look at only the currently due or non-due date items on my list). Alternatively, I can put an untimed "tickler" note on my calendar to remind me to add it to my next actions lists.


        • #5
          An action that depends on another one being done--if they are in the same context, I might put them together. For example: Telephone "if Jane can meet on Friday, call and see if Rita can also, then let Jane know". Or I might, put a note on that, if R can meet, this Friday, see Adgenda:Rita. Then in Adjenda: Rita, I may have a note that I owe her $20.OO and that I left my umbrella in her office" An action that is only possible after a certain date--goes on calendar for the date and if it is really important or requires advance preparation, I might put a preparation date on the calendar a few days earlier and chances are an action will go on a context list, too, such as: Telephone "Kinkos--confirm that slides are ready by Monday" and Errands "Kinkos--pick up slides before Wednesday, check office supply list, buy fancy pens for B's b'day ".