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Need help with Next Action....

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  • Need help with Next Action....

    I just don't get NA!!!!! I suppose I'm so used to a daily to-do list that I get overwhelmed by a huge NA list and don't know where to go next. Does anyone have any advise about how you adjusted and implemented the system?

  • #2
    Are you dividing your NA list by context? That helps it seem much more manageable.

    I'm finding lately that, especially at work, I know intuitively what project I need to be working on (the vast majority of tasks at work are part of a project). So I just start working from that. The NA list comes in when I have a few free moments between meetings, or am in one context and want to knock-out other items in the same context (making a phone call, by the way). It also me make sure I'm not letting things slide.

    Try using the four criteria to decide what to work on (context, time available, priority, and energy available - may not be the right order). It will get easier as you do it.

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    • #3
      daily to do list

      If it will help you any, go ahead a make a SMALL daily to-do list of things that absolutely have to be done today.

      You cannot change old habits overnight, but you can ease out of them. I am always thinking BABYSTEPS, BABYSTEPS when I am working on changing old habits. So gradually ease yourself out of the habit of making to-do lists.

      If you do not get to all that you wanted to, because of changing circumstances, well say "So what!"; they are still on your context list and you will see them tomorrow. Just toss that old to-do list away and make another one.

      Bridgette

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      • #4
        We had a discussion on this topic during the recent Barnes & Noble GTD course. Many people suggested making more use of the Someday/Maybe list or using filtering techniques when you have long next action lists. I am using a plain vanilla approach for now, which limits the filtering capability. I am thinking of having more than one Someday/Maybe type of list. One for ASAP but not this week stuff and one for all the other stuff. I don't want to mix in my work ASAPs with my "take a scuba diving course" stuff.

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        • #5
          Re: Need help with Next Action....

          Originally posted by pbs
          I just don't get NA!!!!! I suppose I'm so used to a daily to-do list that I get overwhelmed by a huge NA list and don't know where to go next. Does anyone have any advise about how you adjusted and implemented the system?

          I think defining ALL of your next actions on all your projects - big, little, personal, professional - is a great exercise. Then, what you actually DO decide to work on then is top quality. The Someday/Maybe list, though, is what I'd suggest people utilize more. (I have over a hundred on it right now.) Might as well either dump the stuff or park it on S/M so you don't have to have anything actually to DO about it.

          That way, you won't feel bad about your own agreements.

          Sometimes, it's easy to avoid defining the project or reviewing the next actions lists - by context - because it's too big ("amorphous, out of my control"), too small ("some dumb, dorky little thing") or too ambiguous ("I'm supposed to do WHAT?").

          Interestingly, people frequently avoid taking action if the very next step isn't clear enough or the project is not meaningful enough, given all your other projects. A great way to get around that is to completely define the successful outcome of the accumulation of action steps required to complete that "thing." For every active project on that list, ensure there is a "next action" defined and captured into your system. Finally, if you're still not getting it done, then slide it off the active list.

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