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  • Next Action Lists, Projects, Oh My!

    I'm very new to GTD. I've got my office and workspace set up according to the system's suggestions--including my 'tickler' file and my reference files. All of that stuff was pretty clear to me. However, I am still rather confused about the 'next action' lists and projects.

    How are next action lists related to completing projects? I have a whole swarm of questions--I'm really quite confused, so I'll present a real-life example and maybe you can help me work through it:

    I have to set up a training session for 8 new staff members. I have a date, September 23rd, a space, and a topic--but nothing else! I'll have to create the agenda, the PowerPoint, send out the memos, etc--so essentially nothing has been done on this project.

    How do I use the GTD principles to organize myself to achieve this task?

    Thank you in advance!

  • #2
    Here's my take on it (and the process I go through).

    You know roughly what you need. Start by forming those things into discrete next actions. By clear about exactly what you need to do. Very specifically, list the next actions necessary to move this project forward.

    For example, "Brainstorm agenda for training session." Or, maybe, "Contact X about required agenda items." If you had nothing else to do right now but to work on this project, what do you need to do?

    These are your next actions. The next step is to organize these actions into the correct contact lists @Anywhere, @Phone, @Computer, etc.

    Once you've finished processing and organizing, then you can begin working off your Next Action lists according to your current context.

    Make sense?

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    • #3
      Double post.

      Comment


      • #4
        Great question.

        From a GTD point of view that project really has several sub-projects. Here's one way to start. Think of projects as descriptions of outcomes and next actions as physical things you do to move toward the outcome.

        PROJECTS:
        Training on Sept. 23
        Create Training Agenda
        Design PowerPoint Slides re: Training
        Deliver Memos to staff re: Training

        NEXT ACTIONS:
        Start a mind map re: Sept. 23 training, anything else?
        Start a draft re: training agenda
        Open PowerPoint re: Training slides
        Start an outline of staff training memo

        Again, this is just one way to look at it.

        Good luck!
        Mark

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        • #5
          Hi,

          You said:

          How are next action lists related to completing projects? I have a whole swarm of questions--I'm really quite confused, so I'll present a real-life example and maybe you can help me work through it:

          I have to set up a training session for 8 new staff members. I have a date, September 23rd, a space, and a topic--but nothing else! I'll have to create the agenda, the PowerPoint, send out the memos, etc--so essentially nothing has been done on this project.

          How do I use the GTD principles to organize myself to achieve this task?

          Reply: Remember Next Action is the next PHYSICAL action you can take. If you don't remember this, you'll spin your wheels.

          Sometimes I have projects listed on index cards (instead of one page/project, but it's my life). And believe it or not, I can do some immediate brainstorming on the project and write steps underneath. Then I have to ask the question, "What's my next action?" and either do what I've listed or write and do what answers the question.

          Your example:

          Project: Staff Training

          Since it's on Sept. 23, I go ahead and pencil the time, location, topic into calendar.

          ON the project card, sheet, I'll brainstorm using the natural planning method as presented in the book.

          Based on completing that, then I should have a strong idea of next action AND simultaneously created a "cheat sheet" for future projects that are similar in nature.

          Good luck.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for the help!

            I'll be working on this today and I'm sure I'll have some follow-ups. Thanks again!

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