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Doing approaches

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  • Doing approaches

    I have some issues with Doing. I start by looking through all my Next Actions I can do in the given context. I should find the most important (or appropriate) Next Action that gives me maximum payoff. I tend to choose whatever Next Action but not the most important one.

    I tried to overcome that by doing Next Actions one by one starting from the top. It works for me. But in this case it can happen I don't even come close to the most important actions either. Anyway that approach works better then the first approach.

    Am I doing something wrong here?

  • #2
    Are you taking into account your available time and energy, too? That will dictate what you can do at any given moment. Once you've taken context, time and energy into account then go with your gut.

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    • #3
      Maybe it's not your list but rather your frame of mind. So to solve it I think you need to first find out why you're not picking the most important thing.

      Are you repelled by your lists?
      Are they too long?
      Are you in the right context?
      Are they easy to scan?

      Are you trusting your intuition?

      Is your list really made up of next actions?
      If you don't feel like doing the next action then perhaps you need to figure out a more appropriate next step or incubate it.

      And so forth. So I suggest first figuring out why you give up scanning for the most important item and just default to first listed, first picked?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by enyonam View Post
        Is your list really made up of next actions?
        If you don't feel like doing the next action then perhaps you need to figure out a more appropriate next step or incubate it.
        Certainly think carefully about this. How long are your entries on your next action list, and do they all have an action word - eg "call bob re: the sales meeting" as opposed to "work out sales meeting"

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        • #5
          After making sure my choices are limited to things that I can actually do, i.e. context, time and energy, I use one very simple question that helps clarifying which next action to choose: What Next Action would I feel most satisfied with having done?

          While there are almost certainly many things on my list that I would easily choose sooner, if I were just going with an unconscious "gut feeling" (as in "what do I feel like doing?"), I definitely find that I am the most productive when I focus my choice on the outcome instead of the process.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by mattsykes View Post
            Certainly think carefully about this. How long are your entries on your next action list, and do they all have an action word - eg "call bob re: the sales meeting" as opposed to "work out sales meeting"
            I am at the point where all my next actions have action words. I naturally write them that way. And I let them be as long as they need to. so, I would write "Call Bob re: the sales meeting and whether we will have the sales numbers [555-1212]". It's key for me that I should be able to pick up any next action and know exactly, and completely, what I need to do. The more defined it is the less chance there is I'll read and say "pass - i don't know what that is or don't feel like doing that".

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            • #7
              Projects and Area of Focus to your Actions

              I've added Projects or Area of Focus to all my actions ""Call Bob re: the sales meeting - Project A/Sales Manager"

              This is during the processing phase that I add those after the collection phase. Then the actions are easy to organize and review and more importly, DO.

              I've found that adding projects/AOF to my actions supplies extra value/importance to the task. When you later engage with the task at the doing phase it should be very obvious what to do.

              Your inner dialog could be like...
              - "Call Bob re: the sales meeting".
              - "But I still don't feel like doing it. Why should I Call Bob? "
              - "Aha! Here is where the Project A comes in. Think about Project A and how important it is for your career."
              - "I Still don't feel like doing it!"
              - "OK, how about you are Sales Manager and it is your job to call Bob, wanna be out of a job??"
              - "Give me the phone"

              Life is good

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              • #8
                Easy: write your list with the most important items at the top.

                I make a list of priorities for the weekend on one
                sheet of paper. As I think of things, I add them in
                priority order, leaving lots of space between them and
                at the top and bottom for adding more (or squeezing
                things in with lines and arrows if part of the page gets crowded).

                I found that the two-minute rule really helped me get things moving.

                Most of my lists have items requiring higher energy
                nearer the top, and more important things further left.
                That way I automatically tend to do the most difficult things first,
                unless I don't have the energy for them and then I can focus on
                a different part of the page. This works well for me: the difficult
                things tend to get done and only nicely doable things are left.

                Maybe just sorting them like that helps me feel better; after having
                expressed my feeling that the action is difficult by putting it at
                the top of the page, I'm more likely to buckle down and do it. Maybe I feel
                I'm getting recognition (from myself) for doing a difficult item,
                or maybe it just alerts me that I need to summon more energy
                when considering starting it.

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