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  • Getting more specific about choosing to act on particular next actions???

    Setting aside energy level and the presence of distractions, how do you choose what to do next in the context you are in? Without looking at the outcomes I desire (the project outcome descriptions), I just lose track of what is important and why I want to do it.

    How do you cue yourself as to what you particularly intend to move forward that day? How do you decide whether to stick with actions toward one project (not listed out) vs. completing actions on your list that go across projects? If I am processing my in box as well throughout the day, the pulls in different directions gets worse.

    I find that with about 60 active projects and two hundred Next Actions spread out through six contexts I lose track of what I want to get done. This is especially a problem when the list of Next Actions in a particular context is really long. So @ Home Office has 120 actions that are really specific and four that are things I am chipping away at a few at a time (old filing, sorting and culling supplies, entering addresses, culling existing reference files). When I am in a context with a small number of next actions, I don't have this problem.

    The intuition part eludes me unless there is an emergency, I happen to read through my project list, or some other external cue.

  • #2
    I move projects to Someday/Maybe until my available action lists are small enough to be manageable. This may not be recommended, but it's what I do.

    Also, maybe a different tool is called for? In OmniFocus, I can swap from Context view to Project view, and also every action in Context view displays its associated Project. That makes it a lot easier to remember why I'm doing what. If I had paper lists, I'm not sure if I could keep up at all.

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    • #3
      More Contexts?

      Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
      I find that with about 60 active projects and two hundred Next Actions spread out through six contexts I lose track of what I want to get done. This is especially a problem when the list of Next Actions in a particular context is really long. So @ Home Office has 120 actions that are really specific
      My initial suggestion is to add more contexts that make sense. Of the 120 @Home Office items are a bunch of them using the same software package? Do a bunch need some other specific tool? Can you get it so that each context list has less than a page of actions in it? Lots of folks report that once a context gets longer than a page it gets harder and harder to choose what to do. My limit seems to be about 25-30 items in a single context. Once it gets longer than that I have to break them down even further. Right now I've got about 190 active projects and about 18 different contexts.

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      • #4
        Do you assign a priority to your actions? I do, and the top priority task are all red, so they really stand out. On a DA webinar he said to do a mind map of your priorities, and review it as often as you need to, so that you remember what's the focus for the week. I also use a tag for the timeframe, so I can sort from the longest time to the shortest. So I use sorting to help narrow it down.

        I currently have 437 next actions, 11 contexts. The current context, Network, has 92 actions, about 10 of these are top priority. Based on time and energy there's only about 3 I would do right now. So that's a much easier choice.
        They all need to be done, and all are fairly equal, so I choose which one I feel like doing.

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