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Next actions and timelines

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  • Next actions and timelines

    I am very new to the GTD system and am struggling with my actions list. Currently it contains things that can be done whenever (such as organizing my family photos) to other actions (most part of a larger project) that I wish to have completed by a certain date.

    I am curious how others organize and act upon actions that have a variety of deadlines. Right now, I'm looking at the list and I'm really lost and feel a little paralyzed as a result.

    Thank you in advance
    Dona

  • #2
    I track deadlines separately in a mind map
    Also weekly review is important. Next actions isn't a place to go for strategic planning about deadlines
    Last edited by bobbyman; 06-07-2011, 05:33 PM.

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    • #3
      Thank you for taking the time to reply.

      Do you, at some point, migrate items on your mind map to the 'next actions' list? Or is the mind map an additional list that you work from when planning?

      (sorry if this is a second response. I replied earlier, but do not see the post now)

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      • #4
        Mind map with an overview of important deadlines and upcoming stuff is only an additon to all standart gtd lists and calendar, it doesn't replace them. The purpose of this mind map is to make sure I can see the big picture without having to remember it. And to give me a sense that nothing really big and important is hidden somewhere and might get missed.

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        • #5
          I initially tried setting up due dates for interim tasks, but ended up with so many they would clog up my lists and I would see too many overdue tasks, so I've moved away from that and only use real deadlines.
          The weekly review should help you see if you are doing things frequently enough to meet deadlines, but if this is not often enough to ensure things are progressing I put an action in my tickler file to review the project plan.
          For example if I do my weekly reviews on a Sunday but I have a Friday deadline and lots to do to meet it, I might put a note in my tickler file for Tue/Wed to review the project plan to help spark some more action towards the deadline. This gives me the reminder before the deadline to get it moving.

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          • #6
            This helps.
            Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              due date vs wish date

              My NA-lists are in Excel, and I have two columns containing dates. A due date, where I fill in hard deadlines (must be done by that date) and a column with a wish date (would be nice to get it done by that time). For some items I have both filled in, for other items only one of both. This way I see in one look all of the actions with upcomming deadlines (dealine less than 1 week colors orange, less than 3 days colors red, automatically).

              I don't put hard deadlines on my calendar, it just doesn't work for me.

              For intermediary actions I put the final deadline for the project in the due date column, and the time I would like to finish the intermediate action in the wish date column.

              During weekly review I go over my list, and adapt wish dates if necessary according to new priorities.

              Myriam

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              • #8
                You might find this article interesting on this whole due date issue:

                The Insanity of the What-by-When | HolacracyOne:

                http://www.holacracy.org/blog/insanity-what-when

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                • #9
                  That's a great article Kelly. So many times I have agreed to due dates with others knowing that I think it's unrealistic and have no idea how to make it happen.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I keep a separate list call @DEADLINES where I keep all of my due date information. It is part of my daily routine to check that list. I also have the option to put them on my calendar if I want to add an extra layer of security

                    HINT:
                    NEVER plug in self-imposed deadlines for projects. Way too easy to do, and it is waaaaaaaaaay to easy to just blow them off. If you start to ignore those deadlines, you will ignore most of them (now which is a real deadline and which is just "like to finish by"?)

                    Only use REAL deadlines:
                    - I promised by customer they would have it by
                    - The presentation is scheduled for
                    - I will get fired if...
                    etc

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                      I initially tried setting up due dates for interim tasks, but ended up with so many they would clog up my lists and I would see too many overdue tasks, so I've moved away from that and only use real deadlines.
                      The weekly review should help you see if you are doing things frequently enough to meet deadlines, but if this is not often enough to ensure things are progressing I put an action in my tickler file to review the project plan.
                      For example if I do my weekly reviews on a Sunday but I have a Friday deadline and lots to do to meet it, I might put a note in my tickler file for Tue/Wed to review the project plan to help spark some more action towards the deadline. This gives me the reminder before the deadline to get it moving.
                      Once you have identified a looming due date in weekly review and decided you need to do more to achieve it, how do you implement that decision? Where do you put that in GTD such that you are reminded during the week?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pxt View Post
                        Once you have identified a looming due date in weekly review and decided you need to do more to achieve it, how do you implement that decision? Where do you put that in GTD such that you are reminded during the week?
                        Ok here is an example - one key project is my Effluent Discharge Improvement Works, which has a deadline of June 30 to get the capital cost approval document submitted. It's a fixed deadline which even my boss can't change, it's set by upper management. A subproject is the cost estimate, which I have to organise a workshop for. My project plan is in Word, in that I have a list of actions I think I would need to do, including 'organise workshop by 10th June', although most of my planned actions wouldn't have dates specified.
                        On my NA list there is currently no actions listed, because I finished the last one yesterday and forgot to assign a new task to replace it. This morning however, I check my tickler file (I use Awesome Note on the iPhone) and today's due task is 'Review Effluent Discharge project plan'. So I check my NA list, realise there's no next action, check my word project plan, and see the action I wanted to have done by today, and add a new next action to my project. Given this project is high on my priorities, it's fairly likely I'll do it today, or at least Monday.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paper Ninja View Post
                          HINT:
                          NEVER plug in self-imposed deadlines for projects. Way too easy to do, and it is waaaaaaaaaay to easy to just blow them off. If you start to ignore those deadlines, you will ignore most of them (now which is a real deadline and which is just "like to finish by"?)

                          Only use REAL deadlines:
                          - I promised by customer they would have it by
                          - The presentation is scheduled for
                          - I will get fired if...
                          etc
                          That is exactly why I keep both, but separate... (see my earlier response) this way I can easlisy distinguish between both ("have to" and "would like to")

                          Myriam

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The weekly review should help you see if you are doing things frequently enough to meet deadlines, but if this is not often enough to ensure things are progressing I put an action in my tickler file to review the project plan.
                            Last edited by John Forrister; 06-10-2011, 09:41 AM. Reason: advertising links

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
                              Ok here is an example - one key project is my Effluent Discharge Improvement Works, which has a deadline of June 30 to get the capital cost approval document submitted. It's a fixed deadline which even my boss can't change, it's set by upper management. A subproject is the cost estimate, which I have to organise a workshop for. My project plan is in Word, in that I have a list of actions I think I would need to do, including 'organise workshop by 10th June', although most of my planned actions wouldn't have dates specified.
                              On my NA list there is currently no actions listed, because I finished the last one yesterday and forgot to assign a new task to replace it. This morning however, I check my tickler file (I use Awesome Note on the iPhone) and today's due task is 'Review Effluent Discharge project plan'. So I check my NA list, realise there's no next action, check my word project plan, and see the action I wanted to have done by today, and add a new next action to my project. Given this project is high on my priorities, it's fairly likely I'll do it today, or at least Monday.
                              So you recognise the next action being quite urgent because it's familiar to you. You look through the various next actions and think: I better do that now, otherwise I won't hit the final due date. (?).

                              I generally struggle in that I want a way to pick out the intermediate actions that will get me to a hard deadline, even though the individual actions don't have hard deadlines. I'm looking for some way to mark them in my system, but without setting due dates on them, as that would soften the impact of my genuine hard due dates.

                              On the other hand, perhaps I am trying to automate it too much.
                              Last edited by pxt; 06-10-2011, 04:05 AM.

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