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Start the day with the most important action/project?

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  • Start the day with the most important action/project?

    I have 121 next actions. Have no idea if that's too many. Anyway it means I have 121 projects. Today I opened my lists to choose what project to start with. And could not decide as there were too many. Just wanted to start the day with the project that gives the maxium payoff. And failed.

    I understand there're no tips and tricks but to read through all next action list to find the most important action/project. I need some reassuarance that there're no shortcuts

  • #2
    Only 7 Projects are really most important.

    Originally posted by Huda View Post
    I have 121 next actions. Have no idea if that's too many. Anyway it means I have 121 projects.
    One technical remark: you can have Next Actions without an assiociated Project and you can have more than one Next Action for a given Project so the number of Next Actions does not have to be equal to the number of active Projects.

    Do you really have 121 equally important Projects? I do not think so. I think only 7 Projects are really most important. So start your day with one of them.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm trying to choose 7 out of 121

      That is a project in itself

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      • #4
        beginner level may have more n/as driven by urgency

        I was at the beginner level a very long time and am a little above an advanced beginner now, or maybe I am just a partial implementer with an uneven commitment and variable energy level. But my point is that I can speak from the authority of experience that when starting to manage my work through the GTD method I have had a lot of urgent n/as because so many things had been escaping my full attention and getting started and/or sticking with projects had been so inefficient that I had a build-up of things I had to do asap. Things that were at one point non-urgent had become urgent when they were not given attention. In my opinion GTD does not deal directly with prioritizing other than calendaring commitments because (I think) it is assumed that as you implement you will be working closer to your values (things that are not consistent with your values will get put on SDMB and stay on longer, maybe even deleted) and as you review weekly you see more clearly how things are working in regard to getting done what you are committed to, and as you process more completely you will have a better ability to capture lead times and plan your work in time. So since I am not anywhere at this level of mastery, I have to say that managing by external urgency combined with available context and mental and physical energy are often how I select my n/a at present but I look forward to developing a steady implementation so that there are fewer selections of my work based on urgency and more on how that n/a feels at the time.

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        • #5
          nice description

          Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
          I was at the beginner level a very long time and am a little above an advanced beginner now, or maybe I am just a partial implementer with an uneven commitment and variable energy level.
          I like this description, it fits me perfectly

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          • #6
            NA vs. Project

            I usually chose the next action that will give me the most benefit/the most urgent/what is pulling my attention the most/etc. I keep following the trail that comes after that next action until I either tire of it or there's some kind of shift in the work, i.e. I need to talk to some one before I can proceed (agendas). Then I choose another next action and continue on.

            Trying to choose a project to do (at any time of the day) usually stresses me whereas choosing NAs instead helps me be productive.

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            • #7
              Today I didn't complete a single Next Action In the morning I got in a traffic jam and was late for the office. I don't feel like calling when in my car. Expecially in the morning because I'm sleepy. When at the office, I had an hour meeting with my boss, then a lunch with a customer, then had one hour processing (yes, new stuff to do...), then a meeting with a potential subordinate and a meeting with another customer. Then left for home feeling tyred and not prepared to call anyone either. What am I doing wrong?

              It is obvious that to choose the most important action I need to look through all the Next Actions because Project list doesn't include one-step actions. I just had a look at my action lists. It has 125 Next Actions (including 40 Waiting Fors).

              All of them one-bite steps like Call X to find out partner agreement requirements. Most of them one or two step actions so don't have associated projects. Anyway it makes me feel nervous just when looking at the list to choose what to do.

              HELP! Need help how to choose the Next Action to start the next day.

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              • #8
                I choose my most important tasks based on what my goals are. Once you know your desired goals and results, then picking the right next action(s) should be pretty easy.

                For example, let's say your big goal is to make $10 mil this year. Based on that, what next action(s) will bring you closer to that goal? Calling up clients or cleaning out the fridge? I think we know what the right answer to that is So once you know the destination, picking the right vehicle to get there the fastest should be easy.

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                • #9
                  I have 29 business projects that give me money. That's what I need to do during work time. Though I must have time to sign off documents daily and check carefully if there any task that not completed would give a chance for my boss to kick me

                  Do you think I should rate my 29 projects at least weekly? And then start each day with Next Action associated with the top one?

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                  • #10
                    Can you Someday/Maybe some of those projects? It seems to me that with 121 projects, surely some of those projects are simply not going to get worked on this week or this month or maybe this quarter, and therefore you could stash them somewhere away from your main lists, and perhaps review them once a week (or even less often) to see which ones should be re-activated. I tend to do this by entering a Start Date in Omnifocus, so that if I don't review Someday/Maybe when I should, the project will pop back up when the start date is reached.

                    Alternatively, if a lot of them are similar (say, "Review Document 1", "Review Document 2".... "Review Document 89") perhaps they could be revamped into a single "workload" project ("Make progress on document review workload") with associated lists.

                    I should also say that I normally don't try to choose the "most important" N/A by scanning the lists. Either I know what project is most important to me and I keep working on it, or I just work the lists, repeatedly choosing the first action that appeals to me. These are generaly "thinned" lists, because I've taken my own suggestion and tucked a lot of lower-priority projects into Someday/Maybe.

                    And sometimes I declare a "cleanup hour" (or "cleanup day") to knock off little tasks that will otherwise never be important enough to do, until they turn into emergencies. Then I just walk through the lists, killing every single task that I _can_ kill in a fairly short time, without worrying about priorities. (Though, again, these are the lists for projects that haven't been moved to Someday/Maybe.)

                    Gardener

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Huda View Post
                      I understand there're no tips and tricks but to read through all next action list to find the most important action/project. I need some reassuarance that there're no shortcuts
                      Well, I can tell you what I do.

                      I read through the list until I hit something that I feel like doing. Then I go do that thing. Sometimes it's near the front of the list, sometimes it's near the back.



                      Cheers,
                      Roger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't rate individual next actions by importance. I use a due date for actions that I want to keep moving - either because there is a genuine external deadline, or because I have decided in weekly review that this project is languishing.

                        I do rate projects by importance though and review this rating in weekly review.

                        In this way, I have implemented Stephen Covey's quadrants of Urgency and Importance. He says to always work from your Important actions, but I think Urgency is a runway-level distractor. So, each day, I start with a short session where I view my next actions in order of due date. I do at least 30 minutes of this which means I am always pushing back the Urgency horizon and this gives me the comfort factor I need to move onto more important actions with a clear mind.

                        Then I go into Important time. I view my next actions, this time clicking my Important filter and if I get into a particular project, I may switch to the project view and keep working through its actions.

                        Once that is done, then I'm just adhoc for the rest of the day, just picking things that I like the look of.

                        So I feel that I have a loose plan for the day, it's easy to remember, is flexible and works with my natural ebb and flow of energy.
                        Last edited by pxt; 04-27-2011, 04:13 AM.

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                        • #13
                          From GTD p.66:
                          Of equal value as prime criteria for driving and directing a project are
                          the standards and values you hold. Although people seldom think
                          about these consciously, they are always there. And if they are vio-
                          lated, the result will inevitably be unproductive distraction and stress.
                          For example: "this project requires me to work on it at least 3 times a week if I take myself and my project seriously.", should drive "this NA gets scheduled for tomorrow".

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Huda View Post
                            I'm trying to choose 7 out of 121

                            That is a project in itself

                            I am at 10 in 121.

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