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Newbie question about action items

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  • Newbie question about action items

    I'm working on implementing GTD. I am just a little confused about the next action list. When do you update it once you have completed an action on a project that requires additional actions? Once you've finished one action/task, do you immediately record the next action for that project?

  • #2
    Yes, that is best practice. If you forget then it will be picked up in the weekly review, but if you add new next actions straight away you are more likely to get more done during the week and move the project along faster.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Suelin23 View Post
      Yes, that is best practice. If you forget then it will be picked up in the weekly review, but if you add new next actions straight away you are more likely to get more done during the week and move the project along faster.
      thanks for the response. that makes sense!

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      • #4
        Think of your next actions as bookmarks

        Often times I choose a next action that's part of a project and find myself automatically defining and doing the next after that and the next after that. At some point I have to stop and at that point I define a next action (a bookmark) and put it in the appropriate action list. If I forget to do that the weekly review is my safety net.

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        • #5
          My thoughts.

          After completing current next action when following next action is evident, I add it immediately to my list (or do if it takes less than 2 minutes), but if there is some uncertainty about following next action, I usually park reminder about it to my in-tray and process it next time I'm processing (goal is within 48 hours, max next weekly review). So weekly review is kind of safety net which ensures no project is forgotten.

          Or I try to do it that way. My success rate is fluctuating.

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          • #6
            I try to create another action but sometimes I forget.

            But - I use OmniFocus, which can be configured to immediately display the next Next Action for you when you finish the previous one. Because of this feature, most of my projects have an extra Next Action at the end that is stated as, "Write another action". That way, even if I don't write the next action as soon as I finish the previous one, the project remains in my active lists, reminding me to give it another action.

            If even that doesn't work, there's always the weekly review.

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            • #7
              I've struggled with this at times as well, especially on projects where the next action can change depending on the outcome of a previous action.

              I'm using Evernote now, it's not perfect, but it works for me as long as I'm disciplined enough to keep things simple. For my NA list, the title of the note is the next action. If an action is part of a definable chain of events, I can list the subsequent actions in the body of the note. When I complete the first, I cut and paste the next out of the the body into the title. Yes, I loose my history of completed actions, but that isn't all that important to me.

              For many actions, I know there is a followup action, but I don't know it is. For those, I can either wait for the weekly review, or just create a new NA "Determine next step for ..."

              I might have other support info in the body of a NA note as well, like a phone number, support incident number or the business hours for a place I need to call, but no more than that.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by jrdouce View Post
                I've struggled with this at times as well, especially on projects where the next action can change depending on the outcome of a previous action.

                I'm using Evernote now, it's not perfect, but it works for me as long as I'm disciplined enough to keep things simple. For my NA list, the title of the note is the next action. If an action is part of a definable chain of events, I can list the subsequent actions in the body of the note. When I complete the first, I cut and paste the next out of the the body into the title. Yes, I loose my history of completed actions, but that isn't all that important to me.

                For many actions, I know there is a followup action, but I don't know it is. For those, I can either wait for the weekly review, or just create a new NA "Determine next step for ..."

                I might have other support info in the body of a NA note as well, like a phone number, support incident number or the business hours for a place I need to call, but no more than that.
                I use Evernote, as well, when I know the next actions, I will create a project note for that project and use check boxes for the sequence of actions. The "next action" will be handled as you do with the action as a title of a note which I delete when I finish, but then I go back to the project note, check the box and create a new next action note from the next thing on the list. This is nice because Evernote will create a note history so if needed you could go back and see when you had done a certain step.

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                • #9
                  Help on Next Actions

                  Originally posted by Astraea View Post
                  I'm working on implementing GTD. I am just a little confused about the next action list. When do you update it once you have completed an action on a project that requires additional actions? Once you've finished one action/task, do you immediately record the next action for that project?
                  This is a great question. The way I do it is when I create a project, I will do a quick mind sweep of all the actions that will need to be completed and write them down in a checklist format (which I store in my project support folder, or digitally under my recorded project). However, I do not work off of that checklist. Instead, I look at what the next action is and put that into my system (sometimes it can be more than one, for e.g. making a phone call and sending out an email on the same day).

                  Once the action is completed, I know to either go back to that project checklist and take the next action, or most of the time, I will just logically know what step to take next and put that action into my system. The main idea is to complete the project one action at a time. I am very careful not to just stick a bunch of actions into my system at once- that is overwhelming and very repelling to me.

                  I hope this helps!

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