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  • Project: None issue with GTD Outlook Plugin

    I have been playing with the Outlook GTD plugin and one issue I seem to have that makes my Weekly Review more complicated is my singularised next actions.

    For instance I have some singular next actions that can be quite sizeable (greater than 30mins) but they are not multi-staged re: Projects. Additionally, for @Home jobs I tend to create a next action such as

    "count missing fence panels ; measure fence panels; find supplier ; order fence panels ; fit fence panels"

    Which is a simple project list and I can simply delete each preceding action as I progess. This keeps my Projects list smaller and allows me to concentrate on work that pays the bills/mortgage. Also I have quite a few @Agenda action items that also don't have an associated Project.

    But as I implied earlier, because there is no attached Project to each of the NAs, when I come to my weekly review using the GTD plugin "Active Tasks by Project (GTD)" view in Outlook I have problems. For active Projects this view is great as I can quickly see those Projects with no associated next action, and it allows me to reconsider my commitment to those next actions still hanging around.

    But all my simple project NA's, @Agendas action items and sizeable single next actions are all banded together under "Project: None". At present there are 138 items listed under here!!!! I feel I need to check it, making sure there is nothing misfiled and that they are still active and uptodate. But its just a great big messy list that takes a lot of energy to review.

    Am I using the GTD plugin incorrectly or has anyone else come up with a workaround solution? Of course, I am open to the fact that I may be utilising the GTD method/process totally incorrectly and am open to critique.

    All help greatly appreciated...

  • #2
    Re: Project: None issue with GTD Outlook Plugin

    Originally posted by guyh
    I have been playing with the Outlook GTD plugin and one issue I seem to have that makes my Weekly Review more complicated is my singularised next actions.
    ....
    But all my simple project NA's, @Agendas action items and sizeable single next actions are all banded together under "Project: None". At present there are 138 items listed under here!!!! I feel I need to check it, making sure there is nothing misfiled and that they are still active and uptodate. But its just a great big messy list that takes a lot of energy to review.
    Long, undifferentiated lists can be hard to review. Notice that DA's Weekly Review process calls for a review of Action Lists. Note the plural on ListS. If you review your lists by context (@Home, @Work, et cetera) in addition to by project, you will probably find it easier. You could probably construct filters so you only see NA's w/o Projects, but why bother? After all, your context lists are your primary daily lists anyway. For example, you can review your project lists, skipping the non-project section, and then switch to a view categorized by context. If you are confident that the project-related items are what they need to be, you can skip over them quickly, examining more carefully the non-project NA's.

    Mike

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    • #3
      Personally, if they are not part of a project then I would not review them in that context.

      I might scan through each NA context as part of the weekly review but only if I felt that there might be some open loops. Typically, NA's not tied to projects just sit in the appropriate action context until they are done (due to an intuitive choice as part of a context scan) or until something changes their status to force them into my hard landscape.

      One habit that I can't seem to shake and that goes a bit against the GTD methodology is prioritizing my NA's. Staring at and scanning a list of 30 or 40 NA's for @Home is just too big a chunk for me. It was producing a feeling of anxiety. So I prioritize using each priority as a window of time... Priority 1 is for things I want to get to ASAP (this week). Priority 2-4 are things I want to get done SOON (this month perhaps). Priority 5 is for things that I want to be reminded of regularly but have not commited to a specific time frame. Priority 5 NA's blur slightly with the Someday list and often will get moved there if I get tired of seeing them or eventually just deleted outright.

      So, for me, prioritizing gave me a little triage and a better sense of control over my NA lists. You might want to give it a try. I find though, over time, that I'm slowly moving closer and closer to the elegant simplicity of the original GTD approach.

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