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single actions and projects combined in the same list

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  • single actions and projects combined in the same list

    What do you think about combining single actions and projects in the same list and reviewing them all at once?

  • #2
    Originally posted by May View Post
    What do you think about combining single actions and projects in the same list and reviewing them all at once?
    It might work ok, depending on how you do it and what you want to do. The software I use, Omnifocus, lets you assign a context to projects and then they can show up on context lists, depending on settings. There's a whole group of people who hang around the forum who are basically trying to keep one running list, but then they tend to make up various schemes for how the list is to be traversed. Have you tried combining your projects and actions in the same list? How did it work for you?


    • #3
      I think it's a bad idea

      I need to see my projects/outcomes and actions in separate lists so that there's a distinction between them. There's a fundamental reason for this. You can't do a project. You can only do an action.

      I don't want to have to sift through the unactionable to find the actionable, especially when I'm in the war zone.


      • #4
        I don't use project list to review my actions either. To select next actions daily I use separate list which is constantly generated on the fly by filtering with 4 criteria (context,time,energy,project group).
        In other words single next actions are not separated from all other next actions even though they are also on the same list as projects/outcomes. (they could be in multiple places because I'm using a dynamic/non-hierarchical structure)

        I'm not assigning "contexts" to projects but I have 3 separate project groups/categories (Personal, Work, Maintenance). I use those categories as a criteria for filtering next actions too. Context is a different and separate criteria in my system (home,errand,online and etc.). Again though, I don't look at projects when I want to see next actions and I don't filter projects. Even though I have those 3 groups/categories, I still review them all at once most of the time though, those categories just keep them sorted which I find useful.

        I use project list to see all my projects/outcomes during weekly review and sometimes during a daily scan. So this is why I also keep single next actions there on the same level with projects. They have different color and icons so it's easy to distinguish them.

        I can easily look at only projects without single next actions without even changing my system at all... but I have never found it useful because I would still want to see all single next actions as well as projects. Single next actions are as important as projects and sometimes take longer to complete. Note that I'm talking about single next actions and not just all next actions.

        So I wonder are there any pros to checking them separately...
        And what other people think about reviewing them in one list with projects. (Sure it's probably not convenient in a paper system but my system allows this easily)


        • #5
          Btw if I'd be in the "war zone" I don't think I'd be doing much predifiened work at all, I'd be doing work as it shows up and then review the system and next actions when I'm in a safe place


          • #6
            I think this question could be easily misinterpreted. I assume you mean having a single list with all single NA and project NA for a particular context on the one list as opposed to seeing them separately. I like it, it works well when you're deciding what work to do. However I find that you also need to do project reviews, I check all the next actions for one project at a time, to make sure there's nothing falling through the cracks, and open loops aren't forgotten. Sometimes the weekly review isn't often enough for this, so if I have a high priority project I might check the project list a couple of times as well as reviewing the list in the weekly review. I find project reviews important as you are only focussing on one project at a time it gets more thoroughness than in the weekly review.


            • #7
              Do you mean single next actions and project titles minus actions in the same list, or single next actions and project next actions in the same list? The first wouldn't work for me; the second is how I work, and it wouldn't have occurred to me to work any other way.


              • #8
                maybe much better if you separate to organize it better.....and less hassle
                It's my own opinion maybe you have your own


                • #9
                  One solution - embed project names in your next actions

                  Due to the nature of my work, most of my next actions could be related to any of my 20-30 active projects (eg. "draft initial specifications document from grant aims" or "write code to pull data from XXXX database"). For this reason, I create a short abbreviation for each of my projects and include it in CAPS at the beginning of each NA. That way, when I sort in Lotus Notes, my actions automatically sort by project, and I don't end up losing track of what project each NA is related to.

                  However, in my home system, I don't bother with this, since my next actions are much more varied. When I read the NA, it's obvious what project it's for, so I don't need any extra information in the NA itself.