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  • how many next actions should i have under a project heading (i use omnifocus)

    Should I just have one next action to do listed under its respective project and the rest of the actions that i have planned out listed elsewhere like a word doc?

    or if i have planned out a list of next actions to be done one after another (the next one only being able to be done after the previous has been completed) can i have them listed under a project?

    Basically should only one action step be listed under a project? if the next action is reliant on the previous one being done?

    It's ok to have next actions listed that don't have any relationship to each other, other than they are part of the same project right? e.g project to build house - call builder about bricks and go to planning office

  • #2
    Depends

    I personally put in as many as I have planned and set the projects and sub projects to be either sequential or not as needed. I try to keep most of my project materials in Omnifocus if possible. Some people prefer to only keep a few in OF and put project planning materials somewhere else.

    One argument for not putting too many actions in to OF is if your plans change so that the set of actions you have planned is no longer appropriate when you get to them. The issue is wasting time planning actions that are no longer valid.

    In my case that is rather rare, it is far more likely that I can plan something and be working on actions for that project for several years so I like to keep all my thinking handy and in one place.

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    • #3
      Most projects will have several action sequences or 'open loops'. A sequence is where the following actions rely on the previous actions being done first.
      In word I will write a list of sequences and the actions I plan to do for each of them. But I only put the next actions in my list manager, and so my project list will have several next actions, one for each sequence. These don't have to be related at all, my word file keeps track of them.
      When I've completed an action, I either just add in a new next action based on the outcome of the previous one, or pick the next one from the Word list.

      Its not the only way to do things, some people like to put their sequences in Omnifocus, so they don't have to manually choose a next action when they tick something off. However I find that the next action isn't always what you planned, and you can end up having next actions that aren't appropriate, which stalls the project, and adds junk to your lists. If you review them frequently enough that could be ok

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      • #4
        Thank you for you replies, very much appreciate and very helpful

        I suppose a lot of using it is seeing how i can get it to work for me

        I think that i will have a play around with the sequential and parallel settings

        How many projects do you guys have? I think that I may end up with 30 plus if I break each of my inbox things down into more than one action needed (which i will have to do to be more efficient as more than one action will be needed) and so making it a project

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        • #5
          I usually add only those next actions that I can start doing. There reasons is the following: if an action depends on result of another action most likely you can't describe it clear enough to avoid resistance doing it when you have low mental energy.

          Therefore I put only ready-to-start actions to next actions list. The rest goes to project notes as free-form high-level plan. Also this approach saves me some time too. Because I can complete the first next action, then continue working on the project completing next actions that never been entered into the system. Once I stop I add another next action or if I don't know it right now I will add it later during projects review.

          My current stats is:
          Next Actions (including Waiting For) - 84
          Projects - 28
          Someday/Maybe Projects - 146

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
            One argument for not putting too many actions in to OF is if your plans change so that the set of actions you have planned is no longer appropriate when you get to them. The issue is wasting time planning actions that are no longer valid.
            Over time Iv found im able to guess a little which ones will stick to the plan and which ones are likely to take an odd turn.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by macgrl View Post
              How many projects do you guys have?
              All projects: 709
              All actions: 1922

              Active projects: 157
              On-hold projects: 487
              Completed projects: 53
              Dropped projects: 12

              I clear out my archive of completed and dropped projects monthly so have very few completed projects that stick around.

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              • #8
                I currently have 37 projects, 174 project related next actions, 377 total next actions.
                I don't store someday maybe actions in my list manager, they're in word files so I don't have a count. I only count active projects, projects that are future or someday maybe are also in Word, and only come over to my list manager when they're active.

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                • #9
                  > Should I just have one next action to do listed under its respective
                  > project and the rest of the actions that i have planned out listed
                  > elsewhere like a word doc?
                  >
                  > or if i have planned out a list of next actions to be done one after
                  > another (the next one only being able to be done after the previous
                  > has been completed) can i have them listed under a project?
                  >
                  > Basically should only one action step be listed under a project? if
                  > the next action is reliant on the previous one being done?

                  I normally put all of the actions for a project in the project - it's easy in OmniFocus to hide the ones that I can't work now, so why not?

                  If they seem like logical workable actions I'll put them in as normal sequential or parallel actions. If they're more like brainstorming, or they're larger than a single action and I don't want to break them up right then, then I might create a subfolder in which I dump non-actionable thoughts for the project - a sort of "project inbox" - and I give them a non-actionable context like (in my system) "info" or "meta".

                  However, this is just about thoughts that come to me that I don't want to lose. I don't sit myself down and force myself to write all the actions for a project to the end, because I know that odds are that the project will change somehow and those actions will have to be reworked anyway.

                  > It's ok to have next actions listed that don't have any relationship
                  > to each other, other than they are part of the same project right? e.g
                  > project to build house - call builder about bricks and go to planning
                  > office

                  I would be inclined to break up a project this large. For example, you could have projects called "Complete Planning Approval" and "Choose Building Materials", and so on. You could create these as subprojects, but my preference is to have a number of related higher-level projects.

                  Gardener

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