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  • action vs someday

    Hello everybody,

    i have an issue to distinguish if an action item goes to "someday" or on the "action list".

    If something is actionable ASAP (not hardlandscape) and it needs more than ~2 min it goes on the appropriate context list, right?

    What does ASAP within GTD mean?

    I have the problem, that I have lots of action items which I determined to do As-Soon-As-I-find-the-right-time-and-context.

    Thus, the lists gets longer and longer...

    How do you distinct if an item goes to the someday or the actionlist?
    Do you have an limited amount of action items per list - everything else to "someday"?
    Do you have always your workload (timewise) in mind, so that you can decide by "feeling": oops, this has to wait - put it to "someday"?

    Thanks! Jens

  • #2
    Originally posted by fant View Post
    Hello everybody,

    i have an issue to distinguish if an action item goes to "someday" or on the "action list".

    If something is actionable ASAP (not hardlandscape) and it needs more than ~2 min it goes on the appropriate context list, right?
    Right.

    Originally posted by fant View Post
    What does ASAP within GTD mean?
    Good question. I'm waiting forward to hear opinions about this.

    Originally posted by fant View Post
    I have the problem, that I have lots of action items which I determined to do As-Soon-As-I-find-the-right-time-and-context.

    Thus, the lists gets longer and longer...

    How do you distinct if an item goes to the someday or the actionlist?
    Do you have an limited amount of action items per list - everything else to "someday"?
    Do you have always your workload (timewise) in mind, so that you can decide by "feeling": oops, this has to wait - put it to "someday"?
    I have understood Someday/maybe is for projects, not actions. If project goes to someday/maybe, then it is not actioned. Which is kind of logical, as it helps to keep your next actions lists tidier.

    I have next actions hanging around my nex actions list, which haven't had my attention since I figured them out. Some are for longer term projects, some are just not so important. Maybe I should delete them in next weekly review, and park their projects in someday/maybe (as they probably are not that important).

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by fant View Post
      If something is actionable ASAP (not hardlandscape) and it needs more than ~2 min it goes on the appropriate context list, right?
      Correct

      Originally posted by fant View Post
      What does ASAP within GTD mean?
      As soon as you can get to it given the constraints of context, energy, time and priority.

      Originally posted by fant View Post
      How do you distinct if an item goes to the someday or the actionlist?
      Do you have an limited amount of action items per list - everything else to "someday"?
      Do you have always your workload (timewise) in mind, so that you can decide by "feeling": oops, this has to wait - put it to "someday"?
      I don't put actions on Someday/Maybe only projects. I don't try to limit my active work projects other than to be ones I think I might actually get done in the next 3 months so yes I am looking at workload and for me the season. Some projects can only be done in a certain season.

      I do limit how many active projects I can have in each of my major hobby areas. This helps prevent startitis in hobby things. I try to only have one spinning project, 1 knitting project, 1 scrapbook project, 1 sewing project, 1 quilting project, 1 photography project etc. active at any given time. I'm not perfect, for example I currently have 2 knitting projects active, one I can do while having beer at the brewery and one that requires more thought to work on. The limits have enabled me to finish a bunch of my hobby things which is always a good feeling.

      Comment


      • #4
        As David Allen says:
        you can feel good about not doing something only as long as you know what you're not doing (not exact words).

        So imo it's best to keep everything you want to do as next actions. Someday/maybe is for stuff you're not sure if you want to do.

        If the list is big then that's great, you have lot's of options to choose from for doing predifiened work.
        Everything we do (except sleep, eat and etc.) falls into 3 categories


        • Doing pre*defined work
        • Doing work as it shows up
        • Defining your work

        Gtd is not about actually getting everything done, it's actually more about feeling good about not getting most things done

        Getting everything done is impossible anyway but with gtd in every moment you make the best choice you can about what to do. The more options you have the better, ideally you want to capture all open loops. Of course you can always say NO to stuff or trash stuff from the system during review

        Comment


        • #5
          I don't agree that S/M is for projects only. S/M is for anything that you might want to do, or plan to do someday. Whether it be a project or one action.

          Just because I have one simple action, it does not mean I want it to be a next action. It may be simply something I want to get out of my head and park it for someday (maybe).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
            I don't agree that S/M is for projects only. S/M is for anything that you might want to do, or plan to do someday. Whether it be a project or one action.

            Just because I have one simple action, it does not mean I want it to be a next action. It may be simply something I want to get out of my head and park it for someday (maybe).
            I would agree in principle. An example that comes to mind is subscribing to a magasine. The action itself only takes some minutes on the internet, but being willing to pay and read it might not occur until the future, so I may want to park it.

            Looking through my own SDMB list though, they are all projects. I'm not sure that it really matters in the end.

            Comment


            • #7
              That is a Project

              Originally posted by pxt View Post
              I would agree in principle. An example that comes to mind is subscribing to a magazine.
              That is a project to me. It's going to take more than one step to complete.

              1. Decide if I have the time/money/attention to read this magazine regularly.
              2. Locate the web site for subscription options and costs.
              3. Decide whether to get an electronic subscription or a paper one (if there are options)
              4. Enter in subscription details and order it.
              5. Add magazine to my year end checklist to see if I still want to continue to get it in future.

              What might be on my S/M list is the project "Subscribe to Magazine X" and once I decide to do it I may fill out the rest of the actions or I might decide to go ahead and add them when I first create the project on my S/M list. In any case it's really a project.

              I have an area of focus called reading.

              Inactive or Someday/Maybe projects on it can be authors names, book titles etc. Why are they all projects? Because in all cases there is going to be more than a single step done to end up with the book in my hands ready to read. A typical one might be See if book X is avail on kindle. If yes download sample and schedule reading my samples. If no decide if it's worth the shelf space as a paper book or not. Where I go from there depends on the results of the previous actions but it's still a project.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
                S/M is for anything that you might want to do, or plan to do someday.
                Can you give me an example of a simple action that you would put on Someday/Maybe? I've not ever really had any of those that are not part of some project.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by fant View Post
                  What does ASAP within GTD mean? How do you distinct if an item goes to the someday or the actionlist?
                  Do you have an limited amount of action items per list - everything else to "someday"?
                  Do you have always your workload (timewise) in mind, so that you can decide by "feeling": oops, this has to wait - put it to "someday"?
                  If someone asks me to do something ASAP, then I interpret this as they will be following up with me if I don't do it. This means they sort of have a deadline but haven't done enough thinking to set a date. So ASK WHEN THEY NEED IT BY. Have the conversation and decide on a date. Then put it on your calendar. Otherwise it will get lost.
                  Someday items are optional, if I don't ever get around to them it doesn't matter too much, if I only ever do what's on my list I will have met my job's requirements. Someday items are extras that would be great to do if I ever get time. Anything that has to be done to meet my job requirements should be on my lists.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can you give me an example of a simple action that you would put on Someday/Maybe? I've not ever really had any of those that are not part of some project.
                    Well, exactly as was posted, subscribe to a magazine. Most of those "steps" you list would not be steps I would list separately. They are all done at one time IMO. When I decided I wanted to subscribe, I would simply google the mag name and the website would come up. Then I would order it. I would not need to have special steps to "decide on paper or electronic" or "enter in subscription details and order it". That's all part of the same action. There would never be a time that I would have my NA be "enter in subscription details". That's not really a convenient place to stop so I would not have it as an individual action.

                    Another one may be to buy a certain cd. And yet another may be to call a certain friend just to catch up.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have noticed in my own system that I have Someday-Maybe projects and Someday actions. That is, I have no Maybe single-actions. Perhaps that's because the maybe element has some root cause in making a decision or doing some preparation.

                      If I were Doctor Who, I would just do it all at the same time but, given the limits of Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, I need a way to push them out into the future.

                      So outcomes that require decision-making or preparation are projects that I put into Someday-Maybe. Single actions I have queued up in a project called Miscellaneous. It's a linear project that presents me with background actions one at a time. This handles the workload issue since these actions don't swamp my view of project next actions.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
                        Well, exactly as was posted, subscribe to a magazine. Most of those "steps" you list would not be steps I would list separately. They are all done at one time IMO.
                        I might do them all in one time but the process is a project so I'd have it a project with the single initial action listed. When I decided to make it active and chose to work on that project I might roll on through all the various actions in sequence but if I needed to stop for any reason I'd bookmark my place with the next accurate action. So it is a project in the strict sense of the word as any action that takes multiple steps to complete.

                        One of the key factors for me for making GTD really work is the realization that nearly everything is a project. Some are trivial, some are major but in the final analysis nearly everything I want to accomplish requires multiple steps to get there, and that is the GTD definition of a project.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, the strict GTD definition is that anything with more than one step is a project. The difference, however, is in how each person breaks down their items.

                          In our scenario of ordering a magazine, I do not need to break down steps that would literally take me a minute to complete. That is, I can decide in about 20 seconds if I want paper/electronic. I don't have to think about it. In actuality, I can do all of those steps you listed in under 5 minutes. It is counter-productive for me to break down things into such tiny steps.

                          I had a similar discussion a few years ago regarding this same topic. I had "add chlorine to pool" as a single action. It literally takes me about 1 minute to add chlorine to my pool because the chlorine jug and measuring cup are sitting by the pool. But another poster who breaks items down into tiny chunks told me it would be a project because he would have

                          1. Get out measuring cup
                          2. Get out chlorine
                          3. Measure out chlorine
                          4. Add chlorine to pool

                          I would go insane breaking tasks into such tiny increments. Some people have the need so they can keep themselves motivated.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by fant View Post
                            I have lots of action items which I determined to do As-Soon-As-I-find-the-right-time-and-context.

                            Thus, the lists gets longer and longer...

                            How do you distinct if an item goes to the someday or the actionlist?
                            Do you have an limited amount of action items per list - everything else to "someday"?
                            Do you have always your workload (timewise) in mind, so that you can decide by "feeling": oops, this has to wait - put it to "someday"?
                            I started out putting everything in a Projects list and found that, like you, the action lists were too long and I became "frozen", unable to decide between so many options, and overwhelmed by the number of things I had to do. As DA says, You can only do what you can do.

                            Now, if it's something that I have to start work on/continue within the next week, or something I need to keep an eye on (project still active, but Waiting For something), it stays in Active Projects, otherwise it goes to SDMB. In weekly reviews, if I sense that there is going to be too much on my plate, the whole project gets shifted to SDMB and in the following weekly review, decide whether to shift back to Active. So my SDMB list has some projects with predefined next actions (to save recreating them when the project becomes active again), and some single ideas (for new projects, where I don't create NAs until I decide to make the project active, save for noting the closing date of a museum exhibit, or due date of the project etc). My system is electronic so it's very easy to hide less important things in a busy week and bring them back up the following week.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
                              It is counter-productive for me to break down things into such tiny steps.

                              I had a similar discussion a few years ago regarding this same topic. I had "add chlorine to pool" as a single action. It literally takes me about 1 minute to add chlorine to my pool because the chlorine jug and measuring cup are sitting by the pool. But another poster who breaks items down into tiny chunks told me it would be a project because he would have

                              1. Get out measuring cup
                              2. Get out chlorine
                              3. Measure out chlorine
                              4. Add chlorine to pool

                              I would go insane breaking tasks into such tiny increments. Some people have the need so they can keep themselves motivated.
                              I generally agree with you... but I did notice that breaking down items in tiny chunks can help when you are not motivated at all. If I hate the chore of putting chlorine in the pool I will find myself procrastinating on it. By putting "get out measuring cup" on my na-list, I will find myself thinking "oh, I can do that, that's easy", and then, a you say, one minute later the pool is done. So I won't make a project of it with a definition of multiple NA's, I won't stop after taking out the cup and write another NA saying "get out chlorine". But writing a tiny next physical action can be a motivator to start on the thing I hate to do. If I wouldn't hate that chore, I would, just like you write down "add chlorine to pool" on my NA-list.

                              greetings,
                              Myriam

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