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  • Actions without project

    Hi GTD'ers,

    I doing GTD for almost 2 years now and loving it. But I'm still struggling with something basic.
    I have a lot of actions that don't belong to a project. Things like 'Get new book from...', 'Look at...', 'Read...', 'Call...', ...
    Especially the errands are difficult to put in a project. So that's why I'm having a Misc project where I put all this stuff. I even have a Misc project for several area's of focus (Misc home, Misc Work,...). But it just doesn't feel right.

    Any suggestions on how to handle this better?

    Tx.

    Jan.

  • #2
    Hi Jan,

    Tasks don't need to be allocated to a specific project or higher level goal, they may just be pickup book from bookstore or buy pen refills from stationery store, things that just need to be done but are not related to anything else.

    I put these items on my context lists, e.g. @Errands, @Calls etc so that when I out running errands I can get these items or when I am on the phone I can call a friend to catch up.

    Hope this helps?
    Ross.

    Comment


    • #3
      We need approval of this Anti-GTD approach from David

      Comment


      • #4
        Where did you find this GTD requirement?

        Originally posted by nrgiser View Post
        I doing GTD for almost 2 years now and loving it. But I'm still struggling with something basic.
        I have a lot of actions that don't belong to a project. Things like 'Get new book from...', 'Look at...', 'Read...', 'Call...', ...
        Especially the errands are difficult to put in a project. So that's why I'm having a Misc project where I put all this stuff. I even have a Misc project for several area's of focus (Misc home, Misc Work,...). But it just doesn't feel right.

        Any suggestions on how to handle this better?
        Where did you find a GTD requirement that every Next Action must belong to a Project?

        I've never heard or read about this.

        "Miscellaneous" is the worst enemy of the organized life since it quickly becomes a catch-all basket.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nrgiser View Post
          So that's why I'm having a Misc project where I put all this stuff.
          What kind of crap is that? Next actions are supposed to be sorted by context, not by project.

          Originally posted by nrgiser View Post
          But it just doesn't feel right.
          Of course not. Because it's crap. Your doing is crappy, but you are a reasonable human being, so you automatically feel something's odd.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
            Where did you find a GTD requirement that every Next Action must belong to a Project?

            I've never heard or read about this.

            "Miscellaneous" is the worst enemy of the organized life since it quickly becomes a catch-all basket.
            Couldn't agree more. At one point it became my catch-all and it put me in a slump. Since then, about 2 years ago...all actions go in a project. Even if the project has only one action item.

            I do this so on the project level I can type up my intended successful outcome. OmniFocus does have a Misc. section, but I hate using it. Just like if you had one slip of paper to file, you would still file it in a manila file folder; you wouldn't simply throw it into the pile of other manila file folders as well...but that's me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
              Where did you find a GTD requirement that every Next Action must belong to a Project?

              I've never heard or read about this.

              "Miscellaneous" is the worst enemy of the organized life since it quickly becomes a catch-all basket.
              TesTeq,

              It's not a GTD requirement but I use Nozbe and in there tasks without an project stay in the inbox. Until it's possible to have actions without a project I will create a project even if has only one action.

              Jan.

              Comment


              • #8
                Changing the project name

                If itīs your software that forces you to link all actions to a project and "miscellaneous" doesnīt feel right (it wouldnīt for me either), why donīt you name that project "Single actions to take".

                At least it says clearly what should go in there and it forces you to think whether you are really dealing with a single action or is it something that should have its own project.

                I assume your software lets you view you actions by context, if you can only view by project then I would say that you should look for a different software, the context view is crucial.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As time progressed with my system, so did various techniques...of which I always like to experiment and challenge myself with the little things. I consider every project and action equally as important as a fitting piece my life puzzle. In a sense, everything I do fitting in through a particular lens of my life.

                  Keeping an eye out throughout weekly and monthly reviews I noticed most, though not all, actions & projects fit in one of the categories pictured. That way, every single inbox item can become a project fitting into any one of the folders pictured, of which contain a small slew of (active) projects in each folder, respectively.

                  I don't really work out of project view too much (though on a rainy productive Sunday I might), but this all comes in handy when wanting to view the past week's completed projects during the weekly review, to give myself the win of course, knowing the week was well spent.

                  Originally posted by Flyer View Post
                  I assume your software lets you view you actions by context, if you can only view by project then I would say that you should look for a different software, the context view is crucial.
                  Definitely.

                  Working out of the available actions in context view has been instrumental in my day-to-day productivity; It was sort of an "aha" moment when my contexts began to click,..somewhat surreal.
                  Attached Files

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by nrgiser View Post
                    Hi GTD'ers,

                    I doing GTD for almost 2 years now and loving it. But I'm still struggling with something basic.
                    I have a lot of actions that don't belong to a project. Things like 'Get new book from...', 'Look at...', 'Read...', 'Call...', ...
                    Especially the errands are difficult to put in a project. So that's why I'm having a Misc project where I put all this stuff. I even have a Misc project for several area's of focus (Misc home, Misc Work,...). But it just doesn't feel right.

                    Any suggestions on how to handle this better?

                    Tx.

                    Jan.
                    You are doing these things anyway even if you weren't following GTD, right?

                    All you've done is chose to write them down so you can make maximum use of any context you are in. You are the essence of productive!! the only way to handle this better is to keep doing it!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Flyer View Post
                      If itīs your software that forces you to link all actions to a project and "miscellaneous" doesnīt feel right (it wouldnīt for me either), why donīt you name that project "Single actions to take".

                      At least it says clearly what should go in there and it forces you to think whether you are really dealing with a single action or is it something that should have its own project.

                      I assume your software lets you view you actions by context, if you can only view by project then I would say that you should look for a different software, the context view is crucial.
                      Great tip Flyer. I will try that for a while.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I was actually thinking and rethinking this very thing a few minutes before checking the forum.

                        I see it this way (might only be answering part of the question):

                        Projects require actions, actions require contexts, but actions do not require projects. Actions can stand on their own. I have a category (not context) in my GTD system for what I term "one offs"--single action items that need to get taken care of but that don't necessarily belong to any projects.
                        Last edited by AaronJ16; 02-16-2011, 02:03 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AaronJ16 View Post
                          I was actually thinking and rethinking this very thing a few minutes before checking the forum.

                          I see it this way (might only be answering part of the question):

                          Projects require actions, actions require contexts, but actions do not require projects. Actions can stand on their own. I have a category (not context) in my GTD system for what I term "one offs"--single action items that need to get taken care off but that don't necessarily belong to any projects.
                          Happy Dude mentioned the default of Miscellaneous in OF. The default where project-less actions go can be changed within preferences.

                          I have a Single Action List within OF called One-Offs.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AaronJ16 View Post
                            Actions can stand on their own.
                            Most of these Actions only seemingly stand on their own. Normally they stem from a 20,000 ft Area of Focus.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                              Most of these Actions only seemingly stand on their own. Normally they stem from a 20,000 ft Area of Focus.
                              That's fine, and maybe true, but knowing that probably wouldn't help you operationalize a good system. Is there a tangible benefit to attaching one-off actions to discrete areas of focus in your system?

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