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  • Using your Calendar for Action Items

    When you have an action item on a project list that you know will take a chunk of time, for example...purge general files (2hrs), do you write it on your action list and then schedule it onto your calendar or during your weekly review of projects, do you just place it on the calendar for the date/time you want to do it and not write it on the action list?

    In other words is GTD like a funnel going from Project List, to action list, to calendar or does it go from project list to calendar and bypass action list?

  • #2
    great question

    It sheds light on my mistaken notion that putting item on the calendar is going to be all I need. If it is small item, like mail x, I put it on calendar and I see it and do it. But the bigger items, like write outline, I just seem to forget to follow the calendar or the two block gets interrupted too many times. And, then it is not on the action list because it is not discrete enough be a next action because I figured I have it on the calendar anyway but it is not really actionable as I have it written on calendar. I think my mind is partially submerged in my old paper calendar habits in which I would write the tasks into days that I thought I would or could work on them and if I didn't do them or had to bump them, I could easily see the whole week (and week after) to write them into other times f needed. I think this worked! Another good reason to go back to paper...but that was not your question. So, yes I think that from a practical perspective, for some people like me, it should go on both calendar and context list, maybe with a note on the context list that the item is calendared for a certain day. I think the GTD system wants you look at the your lists and not be distracted by calendared item but reality is speaking to me now--a two hour item might need several calendared opportunities because the first one might not work out.

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    • #3
      I do Both

      Originally posted by debbieg View Post
      When you have an action item on a project list that you know will take a chunk of time, for example...purge general files (2hrs), do you write it on your action list and then schedule it onto your calendar or during your weekly review of projects, do you just place it on the calendar for the date/time you want to do it and not write it on the action list?
      I do both, when I have huge projects like that I both put them on my action lists and also schedule time in my calendar.

      But I get a lot of traction by being able to check off things from my action lists. Best way for me to stay motivated it to check off a bunch of items. So I will even add things that I've already done just so I can check them off.

      With that caveat take my ideas with a huge chunk of salt.

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      • #4
        You could put it on your action list too, if you think there's a possibility of doing it earlier if the opportunity arises. But if youre not going to be able to do it, then theres no need for it to be on your list for the simple fact that youve got items on there you cant do.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by debbieg View Post
          When you have an action item on a project list that you know will take a chunk of time, for example...purge general files (2hrs), do you write it on your action list and then schedule it onto your calendar or during your weekly review of projects, do you just place it on the calendar for the date/time you want to do it and not write it on the action list?

          In other words is GTD like a funnel going from Project List, to action list, to calendar or does it go from project list to calendar and bypass action list?
          If it doesn't need to be done on a particular day, I just put the item on my next action list and don't schedule it on the calendar. I may move it to the calendar later if I find (during the WR) that the due date is getting so close that there's only one day left when I can realistically do it. So sometimes, it can resemble your funnel process - but ideally, I aim to have it done before I get to that stage. Things should only be on the calendar if there is no other day they can be done.

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          • #6
            Do whatever is easier, unless there are also other concerns. Sometimes it's easier for me to put something first on the action list, because I'm not sure about my priories yet in regard to the calendar, and I don't want to get distracted to over-analyze something that will solve itself later. I try to put some time constraint on my planning so it doesn't become too time consuming to be effective. IN regard to efficiency, I think that Simpleology approach is good, although I don't know it enough.

            Other concerns example: I want to see that action more often, and I look at my action list much more often than I check the entries in my calendar. Why do I want to see it -- maybe irrational, but some things I need to keep in focus by daily looking at them.

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            • #7
              Reminders

              The best practice would be to only put it on your calendar. For me, however, calendared items usually only hold if there is someone else involved or if there is some kind of real "dead"line, so most things like that still stay on my Next list.

              That said, you need to trust. That's the whole point. Trust eliminates stress. So if you need to put it on your calendar and on your Next list to be able to trust that you'll see it, then you put it on both.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by gery View Post
                I don't want to get distracted to over-analyze something that will solve itself later. I try to put some time constraint on my planning so it doesn't become too time consuming to be effective.
                I think this is a good point. First of all we need to take care to calendarize too much. Above all we need to avoid to follow the actions on the calendar week by week. We need to keep in mind to check every time if these actions, are actionable by us.

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