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How many next actions is reasonable?

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  • How many next actions is reasonable?

    I think there's a reasonable number of actions that should be on the action list. I should be able to read through it and get the most important action out of that. I feel like my figure is 7 plus minus 2 actions. What is yours?

  • #2
    How can you possibly have it so low? You should have one next action per project, and then can have several next actions per context. My total count for next actions is around 400. Yes I do think that is too high and have no idea how I can get that all done.

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    • #3
      Lots more for me.

      Originally posted by Paola52 View Post
      What is yours?
      Per context about 30 is my max, for all next actions I like to keep it under 200 but that is a bit fluid. I can handle it up to about 300 but beyond that I get overwhelmed.

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      • #4
        Per GTD, there can only be one next action per project.

        But to answer your question of how many action items per project? I usually don't go further than 10 and then adjust along the way.

        So whenever I start a new project, I'll add action items I know need to happen. Then I'll figure out what the next action is and work from there. Over the course of the project you will naturally add, edit and delete action items.

        Most people are bad at predicting what needs to happen so having a project with 50 action items seems like a bad idea to me.

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        • #5
          You can have as many Next Actions per Project as possible!

          Originally posted by AE Thanh View Post
          Per GTD, there can only be one next action per project.
          No.

          You can have as many Next Actions per Project as possible. Each of them must be a real Next Action ie. the next physical, visible activity that needs to be engaged in, in order to move the current reality toward completion.

          Additionally Next Action must be immediately doable in a given context.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AE Thanh View Post
            Per GTD, there can only be one next action per project.
            No you only need AT LEAST one per project. If you have multiple non-dependent next actions you can take put them all on your lists in their contexts. ANy given project of mine may have 3-5 actions hat can all be taken independent of each other so are all listed.

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            • #7
              I think it depends what we are talking about.

              For a 'daily' list 5-7 seems about right (depending on what they are too, some people prefer less or more), you can put more stuff on weekly or monthly or 'timeless' list/s...

              Daily/weekly/monthly lists are not strictly GTD, for some people (including me) 300+ next actions can be overwhelming so I prefer less and a more structured approach somewhat..

              It also depends upon your system - do you have paper or computer based system, can you just look at one or a few next actions at a time, or do you have to look at all of them etc. If you can just view a few at a time, it doesn't matter if you have 300+ stored in there somewhere... If you'd need to look at 300+ each time you look at a list, that can be overwhelming.. (at least for me)

              So the idea is to have so many that it 'works' - not too many (that would be overwhelming) and not too few (so you wouldn't get important things done)..
              Actual numbers depend on individual circumstances...

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              • #8
                I see where you guys are coming from. I was thinking of a sequential list where in that case you can have only next action. However, if you have a parallel list there can be as many next actions as you want.

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