Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.
I don't see the need for Next Actions list? Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • I don't see the need for Next Actions list?

    Let me explain.

    All of my tasks and next actions are entered directly into my calendar for a specifc day or days. It does not go into my next actions list.

    I don't have any tasks or next actions without due dates. If I don't put it in my calendar, there is a good chance that it won't get done in a timely manner. For example, I have a task called 'change cell phone setting'. This task is entered into my calendar for this Saturday. This ensures that I get it done on Saturday.

    Some tasks, like the one above, can be done sooner. In such cases, when I have free time during the day, I will look at all my outstanding tasks on my calendar for the next few days and decide which one I can do now based on the context/time/energy/priority model.

    There are some tasks (like the one above) that can be postponed for a later date because it is not a high priority. For example, I have a task on today's calendar date called 'play with new camera'. If I don't get around to it today, I can move this task to tomorrow's calendar or a future date. I try not to postpone my tasks that often though.

    In summary, my calendar can be considered a "holding bin" for my next actions list. Unlike the next actions list (which have no dates associated with each next actions item), all tasks on my calendar are "hard coded" to a specified date. While it is hard coded to a specific date, some tasks can be negotiable (i.e. done earlier or done later). There is also a small subset of tasks that eventually can be delegated to someone else or deleted all together.

    I would like comments from other GTDers.

    Thanks,
    Jonathan

  • #2
    If it works it's good.

    That would not work for me given my current employment and family situations. But there was a time when my life was much less complex and that would have worked just fine.

    Comment


    • #3
      I felt the same way about using the calendar at first and still do in a way. What I have been doing lately is making those next actions that don't have a date attached as my floating events and categorize them by context in my Datebk5 application. I also link to them from my projects lists in ShadowPlan.

      Comment


      • #4
        From what I understand, Harold Taylor and the Mission Control models both advocate putting everything on the calendar. David Allen's model advocates putting only those things which MUST be done that day (and that time) on the calendar. I guess the thing to consider is how accurately can you determine what your future days are going to look like. If your job is one where a boss, co-worker, or client could interrupt the schedule you have set out, the plan you had on your calendar could be toast by mid-morning. When the heat is on, will you know at a moment's glance what can safely do postponed and what must be taken care of today? David's approach says the answer to that question will be "yes" if you reserve the calendar for what MUST happen today.

        Realize also that when you assign to-do items to specific spots on your calendar, those decisions are in large part arbitrary. Whether you call the dentist at 10:00 versus 10:40 to schedule a routine appointment really does not matter. What does matter is that when you are at a phone, have the time to crank through some calls, and are of the mind set to do so, that you see a reminder to call the dentist.

        I really think the context list setup is the best way to go. It CAN be a tool for procrastination, and putting everything on the calendar is a possible game to combat that problem, at least on the short term. What I have to keep reminding myself is that even though my lists are nice and neat and that nothing on them HAS to be done today, I had better crank through some things or else the list will grow and the deadlines will soon be in my face. Giving everything a time slot on the calendar would certainly show me how far behind I am getting, but the disadvantages of the critical being hidden amongst the mundane, the regimentation, and the need for constant revision seem to me to outweigh the possible benefits.

        Frank

        Comment


        • #5
          Not to mention the biggest pain of all --rescheduling and moving that stuff around all the time.

          Been there, done that etc.

          The late Mark McCormack was another advocate of putting everything on the calendar .

          If someone really wants to go that direction , I'd suggest a program that will keep rescheduling for you "Above and Beyond" www.1soft.com

          No affiliation , I used it before the palm came along.

          Comment


          • #6
            This thread reminds of one of my experiences of listening to GTD Fast.

            What I tried to do was imagine a single job plus personal life that fits all of the examples that DA gives of situations where GTD is a life-saver.

            The image I ended up with was of a large corporation in a constant state of change, reaching out in a hundred different directions at the same time. Now drop into this a parent with young kids, and you get the type of tight-rope walker for whom GTD is tailor-made.

            I realised that my own situation is not the same as this: I was overlooking some of the particular characteristics of my own job, accountant, in order to fit in with GTD thinking. For example, there is minimal innovation or creativity in the smaller practice arena. So we will not get “left behind” by other practices reinventing the profession.

            Also, being in a small practice, I will not get copied with a hundred e-mails, or be vulnerable to interruption from ten different departments.

            Nevertheless, I have dozens and dozens of different things to do due the fact that I wear several "hats”, not to mention the necessities and ambitions in my personal life.

            My point is, if you find that you can schedule everything on your list without fear of getting knocked off course, maybe you don’t really need all the features of GTD, maybe you are not the archetypical GTD user?

            I would still bet ‘though that you could come up with a lot of open loops if you sat down for a quiet hour with a blank sheet of paper: commitments to self, friends, family, dog, … flat batteries, oil change etc etc.

            Dave

            Comment


            • #7
              I've tried to add my own embellishments to the GTD system, and they usually don't work. One such attempt was to use the tickler file plus index cards for recurring tasks such as watering plants. I recently mothballed the index cards because I stopped using them. It may have caused me to avoid using the tickler file to a small degree.

              The point here is that you should give your variation time to see if it really works, and be on the lookout for an erosion of your calendar's functionality.

              Cris

              Comment


              • #8
                If you store all your to-do items in your calendar, make sure you distinguish between those that must be done that day and those that you would like to do that day. Otherwise, today's huge list of to-do items can drive you crazy unless you can set priorities among them.

                Personally, I never have liked dragging my unfinished items behind me from day to day. The morning ritual of pulling everything undone from yesterday to today feels like a daily penance to my own slackness. It makes me feel bad, so why do it? Now I just put my to-do's in a list and keep them the hell away from my calendar.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anonymous
                  If you store all your to-do items in your calendar, make sure you distinguish between those that must be done that day and those that you would like to do that day. Otherwise, today's huge list of to-do items can drive you crazy unless you can set priorities among them.

                  Personally, I never have liked dragging my unfinished items behind me from day to day. The morning ritual of pulling everything undone from yesterday to today feels like a daily penance to my own slackness. It makes me feel bad, so why do it? Now I just put my to-do's in a list and keep them the hell away from my calendar.
                  I could not possibly agree with this more. After a while, I set up an electronic tickler file which amounts to all of my dated todo's, which are now fewer and farther between. Undated todo's sit on the lists and are there the next day without me having to move them forward. Its a subtle difference but an advance for my mental condition nonetheless.

                  The only small problem is that you have to keep the lists of undated todo's small. If any of my lists gets too long, it can also be depressing. This nearly always means moving items to the someday/maybe list (knowing that they'll be there for my weekly review and won't slip through the cracks).

                  Tom S.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I thing I like about the Tasks in Outlook is that you have the option to collapse any category of list you don't need to see. I used to hate to look at the long Task lists I'd have until I set up a Future Projects category and collapsed it. Now my Tasks lists are much more reasonable and I don't have to worry about not recording future projects. Easy to make "active" too...just change categories. Filters can really help motivation as well as organization.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Date but not time specific

                      If you use Outlook you have the option to create an "All Day" task. I use this quite a bit for routine work tasks or phone calls that need to me made any time today. I definitly stick to date specific tasks. If anything has a due date I just add that date to the task in my action lists and sort by due date.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tspall
                        I thing I like about the Tasks in Outlook is that you have the option to collapse any category of list you don't need to see. I used to hate to look at the long Task lists I'd have until I set up a Future Projects category and collapsed it. Now my Tasks lists are much more reasonable and I don't have to worry about not recording future projects. Easy to make "active" too...just change categories. Filters can really help motivation as well as organization.
                        Yes, there is that. What I've been doing for a long tiem now is using the old "contacts as projects" approach to next actions. The todo's have a generic "NA" category. When I need to make it "active" I go to the contact and click the activities tab, find the todo and give it another category. Its a very trustworthy system as long as the weekly review gets done.

                        The problem with it is that the search associated with the Activities tab is extremely slow. I don't want to spend my review time waiting for Outlook to find all the relevant information. Recently I've been using OneNote for project managment instead. It's still a pretty young program but it shows great potential as a free form outliner to which all relevant project data can be collected.

                        Tom S.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, this is how I'm working as well. I set a due date for almost all tasks; I do have some tasks that don't have due dates, but they are more "someday/mabye" tasks.

                          However, this works because I work alone. As a writer, I don't depend on too many people to do my work (though I do have to wait on vendors supplying software/hardware, copy editors doing their jobs etc), so I just add NAs when I get the input that allows me to plan them.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X