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Sequential Next Actions?

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  • Sequential Next Actions?

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for how you all handle this kind of situation. You're waiting for a document from someone, so that goes on the Next Action list categorized as "waiting for". When it comes in, you'll need to review it, make comments, etc. Do you put the doc. review on your NA list currently, or do you wait until you have the doc. in hand before it goes on the NA list?


  • #2
    I wait till I have the document because I don't want to see NAs I cannot do.

    But many times, instead of reviewing @WaitingFor list, I just set a NA "Check so-and-so for document" to pop up on my NA list on a reasonable date (essentially, tickling this NA to check up on the item I'm waiting for). This seems to better fit how I actually need to handle many waiting-for items.


    • #3
      Use Filters

      If I know the entire set of actions for a project, I add them to my list, and mark the ones I can do next, as "Next". Sometimes the set of actions comes from a checklist. I use a view that shows only the Next Actions, which gets sync'd with my PDA. When a Next Action is completed, I go back to my action list to get more NAs.

      I use Zoot ( for managing my projects/NAs. It lets me filter out anything I don't want to see. Outlook can use categories or folders for filtering out NAs. Resultmanager (, a MindManager ( add-in, also lets you differentiate between "actions" and "next actions", creates a filtered "dashboard" to display committed/Next Actions.


      • #4
        My "Waiting For" list is separate from my "Next Actions" list. If I'm waiting for something, it goes on my Waiting For list, and there won't be associated Next Actions unless there's something I can physically do about it when next I have time for it.


        • #5
          The only time I have more than the next sequential action on my list is when I need to keep it in mind and plan it into my schedule. So say I'm waiting for a package to arrive, and then once it arrives, I need to spend a morning processing it. I'll track it's pending arrival and plan a chunk of time for it in my day.


          • #6
            I wait until I have the document.

            I don't want to be reminded of something that I can't do yet...


            • #7
              Using Outlook task status to identify "real" NAs

              I'm using Outlook, with Bill Kratz's project-as-contact form to manage projects.

              I only like to see my real "next actions", but I also like to try and plan ahead and identify what will need to be done, even if I can't do it then (gets it out of my head and into my system...)

              What I do for a project is to think of all the tasks associated with that project, regardless of whether they are actually next actions at that moment. I then use the task status field in Outlook so the "real" next actions are set to status "in progress" and the tasks that I cannot do at the moment are set to status "not started". I then filter my next action view in Outlook tasks so it only shows the tasks "in progress".

              Then, when I complete a task for a project, I review the other project tasks, identify what can then be done, change the status and that is then the next action.

              Hope this helps.



              • #8
                I actually make use of the pigpog method (http://http// Not all of the time mind you, but for stuff that I don't want to forget, but which is not important enough to warrant a new project with supporting documentation. I've even made use of it with some of my projects, for little sequences of NAs.

                For example, I'm waiting for a document to be returned to me. At that time, I need to make the changes, and then email it out. In my Outlook NA (task), I'll have the following subject line:

                [Document] Waiting for X to review

                "Document" is the name of the project. The context is @Waiting.

                Then, in my notes field, I'll have the following:


                - Waiting for X to review
                - Make changes @Laptop (+)
                - Email new version to group @Online (+)


                The PIGPOG at the top of the note is so that I see at a glance that I have something else that might need doing.

                When I get the document back, I'll type the date after that line in the note. Then, I'll create a new task with the same information, but the subject line will now be "[Document] Make changes" and the context will be @Laptop (+).

                I've even made a macro that marks the current task complete and creates a new, duplicated task for me. You can see it on my blog at


                • #9
                  should be clear from reviews

                  What a great question. I tend to either not write anything for the follow-on NA, or to write a short "... then ...", i.e., one step farther, if it's not clear. However, for me I think doing solid weekly reviews keeps project plans familiar (but not in my head) so that the *next* next action comes to mind pretty quickly when I need it.



                  • #10
                    I'm not sure if it's correct GTD'ism(reading book for my second time, third time i'll prolly 'have it'), but i keep a project sheet with associated actions on it, when i think of an action that needs to be associated with the project, it goes on the sheet, and out of my head. then, when a 'next action' associated with that project gets done, I can look at that project sheet and determine whether the next action is already on that sheet and move it over, or, based on the waiting for item results, that the next action is something else and either do it, or get it on my next action list. That way, consecutive actions are tracked, but i'm not looking at them all the time on my next action lists when i can't really do anything about them yet. All out of my head, and in the 'trusted system'.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Broto
                      I use a view that shows only the Next Actions, which gets sync'd with my PDA. When a Next Action is completed, I go back to my action list to get more NAs.

                      I use Zoot ( for managing my projects/NAs.
                      I really like the look of Zoot, but didn't see a way to synchronize a view with a PDA.

                      How do you do that?


                      • #12
                        Sequential actions

                        Very good question indeed.

                        I'm still staggering with three options.

                        1) Just keeping sequential actions in my head
                        2) Writing down sequential actions in notes field.
                        ( I use mark > at the end of the action to indicate that there is more stuff in notes. Keeping sequantial actions in with the action allows better project planning.)
                        3) Being über-organized and using metadata and filters...

                        Currently, i'm doing 1) for simple things and 2) for more complex things