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Breaking continuous learning experiences into "next actions"

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  • Breaking continuous learning experiences into "next actions"

    Suppose I am working on learning an area of technical expertise and currently reading a book on the topic. How do I break down this somewhat long-time task into doable "next actions"?

    Do I need to:
    • Put "finish reading a book" as a single action.
    • List several soon-to-be-read chapters as actions.
    • Put "spend X amount of time reading book" as a next action.
    • Any other suggestions?

  • #2
    Set up an NA in your @home (or wherever) context with a daily recurrence of, for example, "Read 1 chapter of Java manual."

    If you can't do it for any reason on a particular day, accept that fact, check it off, and resolve to do better (so much as is possible) tomorrow.

    Joe

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rl1987 View Post
      Suppose I am working on learning an area of technical expertise and currently reading a book on the topic. How do I break down this somewhat long-time task into doable "next actions"?

      Do I need to:
      • Put "finish reading a book" as a single action.
      • List several soon-to-be-read chapters as actions.
      • Put "spend X amount of time reading book" as a next action.
      • Any other suggestions?
      Just put "Read more of 'Atlas Shrugged' (p 38/1088 )" on your @Home list (or where you prefer). In an electronic list implementation, you may be able to set things up so that checking it off restarts the task tomorrow. Don't forget to update the page count. Any progress is forward progress. Why set yourself up for failure with an artificial goal? For some technical books, a speed of 4 pages per day can be very fast. As a professor, I can also tell you that some books may not be worth finishing, even if they cover a subject of interest.
      Last edited by mcogilvie; 10-26-2011, 09:38 PM. Reason: remove unintended emoji

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      • #4
        Standard old-school paper bookmark.

        Originally posted by rl1987 View Post
        Suppose I am working on learning an area of technical expertise and currently reading a book on the topic. How do I break down this somewhat long-time task into doable "next actions"?
        Are you interested in learning this area of expertise?

        I'm asking because I've never had to create Next Actions for reading. I am reading what I am passionate about and use standard old-school paper bookmarks as Next Action pointers for current books (Projects).

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        • #5
          I am in fact interested, but there are other tasks at hand as well. When I am choosing what to do, I have to make a decision between reading the book and doing other stuff.

          Thanks for replies.

          Comment


          • #6
            great way to put it!

            Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
            use standard old-school paper bookmarks as Next Action pointers for current books (Projects).
            @TesTeq

            This is a great way to describe it, and I like it for two reasons:
            - because to me this is the exact definition of what Next Actions are all about: it's not about listing everything you want/need to do within a certain project, it's bookmarking how far you got with the project
            - because it reminds us that a system must be as simple as possible

            Myriam

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