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GTD with dependencies

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  • GTD with dependencies

    How do I deal with dependencies with the GTD system? For example, if I have a waiting for task and then I have a task that must follow it (but might not occur to me when the waiting for task is complete) how can I be sure to include the next action?

    I just finished my first read through GTD and it was a lot to take in, so it is possible I missed this detail.

    TIA,
    Chris

  • #2
    In my system, I would include the dependent task in the notes for the waiting for task. "Call wallpaper guy after tile guy gives me a work schedule."

    You could also include the dependent task in the project notes, or as a separate NA for the day after the waiting item is due. Whatever works for you.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      On my Palm, I list those future actions in a note attached to the task. With a paper system, if you have just a couple of actions to complete, you could jot the other actions on a day-specific page for when you think you would be to that point in the project. If you have quite a few actions to follow on a particular project, assign a page in the planner for that project. Put the first task on your action list and reference that project page. That way, when you finish the action, you are sent to that project page to pick up the next one and enter it on your list.

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      • #4
        As a last resort, assuming that you don't remember to look up the next project action when the waiting for is complete, you should catch the next step at your weekly review (assuming the W/F is part of a project).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Chris Pettitt
          How do I deal with dependencies with the GTD system? For example, if I have a waiting for task and then I have a task that must follow it (but might not occur to me when the waiting for task is complete) how can I be sure to include the next action?
          This is what your Project list is for.

          Add that "next task" to your Project list, probably at the top. Then it will be there when you receive the response and update your NA list.

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          • #6
            The way I understand and practice GTD, any action that's not a next action is project support material. If the project is sufficiently complex, I'll attach a note to the project listing on my Palm's project list. The note can consist of a list of subsequent actions, a checklist of things to keep in mind about the project, or other project support material (driving directions, specs, email snippets). In a paper system, support material goes in a project folder and filed appropriately.

            Most of the time, however, once I complete a next action, the action that follows is pretty obvious; and if it's not, I proactively define it right then. My main focus is on whatever parallel nexts actions I can do right now.

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            • #7
              Player's Choice

              There are many practical solutions to the problem that leave a little to be desired in terms of crispness of logic and perfect adherence to the words of DA. I doubt that DA would mind if you put two next actions for a given project. I doubt that DA would mind if you put the second action into "WaitingFor", if you look at that every day. If you can wait until weekly review, then it would make sense to put it there. All the other solutions mentioned can work.

              We are all completing our own customizations of GTD, tailored to our circumstances. If our tailoring doesn't work, it should only take at most a few weekly reviews before we catch the problem and correct it.

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