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Projects and Next Actions

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  • Projects and Next Actions

    Hello,

    I have just finished "Getting Things Done" and I have one question. When it comes to projects and next actions. I am not quite sure how to handle that.

    Do I put a project with a list of next actions on one page or do I put a list of projects on one page and next actions on another page? If I do put a list of next actions on a separate page, should I reference what project that next action belongs to? Or should I do both; on the projects list, list next actions and have a separate list of next actions only?

    Thank you very much for your assistance.

  • #2
    Separate lists.

    You should create separate Projects list and several @context Next Actions lists. Links between these lists are optional.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by efficiency View Post
      Do I put a project with a list of next actions on one page or do I put a list of projects on one page and next actions on another page? If I do put a list of next actions on a separate page, should I reference what project that next action belongs to? Or should I do both; on the projects list, list next actions and have a separate list of next actions only?
      As TesTeq says. You need lists of next actions by context for doing, and a project list to review at least weekly. I think most people find that most projects can be handled simply: you have a project, the next action is obvious. When that one is done, you right down the next step. And so on until done. Some projects need support material and more planning, and tools such as mind maps or outlines may be helpful, but it varies a lot from person to person. There are a lot of different approached to linking projects and next actions. Some people don't need any explicit linkage, but I'm not one of them.

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      • #4
        Regarding the linkage, you don't need it for the DOING part, but I find it quite useful when you are reviewing your lists and trying to find out if there is at least one Next Action for each project.
        Without any link, this can be a tiring process if you have long lists...

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        • #5
          Regarding referencing the project from the next action, I personally need that link. I know David Allen says that you just kind of "know" which project it goes with if you do a regular weekly review, but I didn't find that to be the case. I found that in order to jog the memory I had to put a lot more information down in the next action.

          So rather than "email David RE whether he got a reply from Bob" it would become - "email David RE whether he got a reply from Bob about project x following his meeting in December". Either that or I need a project support file for every action, which got a bit tedious.

          Hence I went with a digital program, which will often tie these lists together for you.

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          • #6
            when I was mostly using a paper system I would just assign a number to every project, and then had a # column on my NAs lists
            Worked for me as my only concern was to make sure I could quickly know if there was at least 1 NA for every project.

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            • #7
              I need the links

              I'm one of those who needs the explicit link between actions and projects. Not just for the reviewing where it is critical but I also sometimes need it for the doing part. I think it's because my projects are often long term.

              For example I need to know that the spinning coarse BWMS roving project I am working on now is for making rope which is for making the rope coif replica arming cap to go under a 14th century chain mail coif vs spinning it for making rope for making a sheep show halter. I need to do the spinning differently and I also need different amounts of the yarn depending on the project. SInce I may not sit down to spin for a while I need to quickly refresh my memory of what exactly the use will be to get it done properly.

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              • #8
                i think i am acustom to paper and software form.

                i use a red monolgoue note book and my list is actually based on contexts. each @errands, @office-1 hour or less, @office-at least a day, @waiting,@agenda for boss is actually a page. then i have one that list out the project

                like Oogiem said, there is a need to link project with what you need to do now. and that is done by your ios or android app.
                Last edited by kelstarrising; 02-01-2011, 09:05 AM.

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                • #9
                  Project List or section of Projects (one per paper)?

                  As I have moved from a digital GTD implementation to paper based approach, I have realized that I may have to change the way I handle my handling of projects when working with paper. In the "digital domain" I used to be able to handle the hundreds of ongoing projects with ease, as the system could collapse and hide project notes. I had projects as individual tasks with project information in the notes field. This worked well providing a list overview while also holding details. My task (project) note would always hold this template (used more or less consistently):
                  __________________

                  Outcome:

                  Plans:

                  History:

                  Notes:

                  __________________
                  In paper, with one sheet of paper per project, this does in fact sum up and becomes quite a big section.

                  Do you paper guys make a list of projects (one line with project heading) similar to a Next Action list with no details? Or do you use single sheets of paper for each project as I have described above? Do you keep a list of defined/forthcoming Next Actions in your project plan/notes?

                  I believe this actually addresses the initial question in this thread and as a footnote I have over the years come to terms with having no link between Projects and Next Actions.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tech View Post
                    Do you paper guys make a list of projects (one line with project heading) similar to a Next Action list with no details? Or do you use single sheets of paper for each project as I have described above? Do you keep a list of defined/forthcoming Next Actions in your project plan/notes?
                    Hi there!
                    It depends on the complexity of the project. For most of them, I would just write a line in a Projects List.

                    If there are more details I want to write down (future NAs, ideas, etc), I would have a dedicated page for that (besides the same line in the Projects Lists).

                    If it was even more complex (for example: if it had support material), then I would get a dedicated folder and put everything inside.

                    So you can actually do it in different ways for different projects, as long as you know where is your main list, and where you find the support material in case it exists

                    take care

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fear of "one-liner" projects and mental residue...

                      Nunodonato, this differentiated approach on projects certainly makes sense!

                      I have considered having my projects section as a mix of pages with lists of projects (one-liners) and other more elaborate project describtions (single projetcs per page with more details and next actions as described earlier).

                      My only concern on this mixed format is, that one-liner projects may not have been clarified sufficiently and result in mental residue. A project like "Fix puntured bicycle tire", which is made up of buying the repair kit and actually fixing the tire, may not be an issue.

                      But a project like "Mom" (a David Allen classic ), should never end up as a one-liner, as it need a lot of reflection and clarification on envisioned outcome and how to get there in terms of actions.

                      Tech

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                      • #12
                        Hi Tech,

                        Well, if you are doing the processing phase, you will have a clear desired outcome. That would be your "project" in the one-line projects list

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                        • #13
                          Projects - file headings

                          Hi
                          what I found useful to help understand projects was to use David Allen's analogy of "projects" as being like headings in a file drawer and if you store all your projects together e.g. in Outlook under a category called .projects..it's like you have a quick overview of what is on your plate. Then put your NA by context e.g. I am working with a client on a spreadsheet...so I have a project called Name.Spreadsheet and NA would be to send her my solution and now I am @waiting for her to come back with comments etc.

                          You are in the right place for lots of help though!
                          Anne

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