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Wondering Off My Next Actions List

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  • Wondering Off My Next Actions List

    One of my current status is I'll start w/ a next action, then 3 hours later I've wondered off. I've been doing work, but I'll bump into someone, think of something based on what I'm working on, etc. I'm not sitting and processing wigdets one after the other.

    As you get new ideas or interruptions, or your current task is going beyond it's originally intended clear deliverable, do you stop and make some next actions?

    example: I met w/ the system admin to outline upgrade plans (good)
    next thing I know, I'm doing a system diagram, etc.

    I probably should have something like:
    -- Upgrade clearly planned and communicated
    ---- Meet w/ admin to discuss
    ---- identify work products
    ---- draft work products
    ---- review w/p with admin
    ---- review w/ management
    etc. I might do the above in advance, or on-the fly as I'm thinking about it

    I'm not really sure though.

  • #2
    Do you think working on the stuff at that moment was more or less productive?

    Personally, as long as your action list was up-to-date and there was nothing on there of pressing urgency, I'd say keeping on one project is very good. Times in which you're very creative and motivated about a project should be welcomed. Sure, you have to make sure you're not missing something else, so scan your calendar to make sure, but otherwise go with what is most efficient.

    If you're interrupted, flush your mind into a next action, ("One moment while I write something down") but I don't think there's any value in slowing down the process when you know where you're going, how to get there, and are raring to go.

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    • #3
      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how it works ...

      There are 3 types of work you will do:
      1. Doing pre defined work (ie next actions list)list
      2. Doing work as it comes up (ex. random phone call you choose to spend time on)
      3. Defining your work (ex. empty in box, brainstorming next actions)

      I suppose this doesn't include the work of
      capturing all of your stuff ... but that should be
      an instantaneous capture.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Wondering Off My Next Actions List

        Originally posted by furashgf
        One of my current status is I'll start w/ a next action, then 3 hours later I've wondered off.
        ...
        As you get new ideas or interruptions, or your current task is going beyond it's originally intended clear deliverable, do you stop and make some next actions?
        ....
        There is a point of balance between being focused on task and being open to exploration and serendipity. You will need to determine where that point is for you.

        If you really feel that your three hours of wandering off your next action list was caused by you being too distractible, then you should practice stopping, thinking, and capturing more often. With practice, it will become easier and you will be able to think and capture without losing your momentum. (You might want to keep a pad or PDA handy to capture these items for later processing.)

        If, on the other hand, your wandering off the next action list was because you needed to do some exploring because some initial assumptions proved false, or because someone you needed to talk to just happened by, then it might be better to just capture next actions when you stop rather than stopping to capture next actions.

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