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Next Action Sensitivities vs. Weekly Review

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  • Next Action Sensitivities vs. Weekly Review

    Does anyone have any suggestions for how to ensure that next actions, which are important but without a specific deadline, get done in a timely fashion? In many cases, I find that I have actions that I ought to do within a 3-4 day period (to avoid the negative ramifications), but it's not as if they *MUST* get done in that time. To me, it seems like these are the items that could fall through the cracks if you're only doing a "weekly" review, particularly if the action comes up the day after you've done your weekely review.

    Is the answer more frequent reviews? That seems like it would lead to more "reviewing" and less "doing". I find this to be one of the bigger hurdles I'm facing as I try to effectively implement GTD.

    Thank you in advance. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    Todd

  • #2
    You may only do a comprehensive review once a week, but most people need to review their inboxes and look at their NA lists more often than that. DA recommends emptying your inbox several times a day; the weekly review is not intended to be the *only* time you add things to your lists. Thus, dealing with short-horizon tasks is actually pretty simple:

    * Sunday: do weekly review.
    * Monday morning: high priority action lands in inbox.
    * Tuesday morning: process inbox to empty. Add high priority action to NA list.
    * Thursday: do high priority action.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      I do a daily review of all my NA lists every morning and pick out about six things that are the most important things for the day. Often they are things that are either very pivitol in achieving larger objectives or they are things that are time-sensitive. When I do my daily review first thing in the morning, I may only have four things on the list. However, by noon, the list has usually grown to six. In the evening, I like to review my day and make sure I have six most important accomplishments for the day.

      That's how I make sure those important things get done and that I'm spending my time wisely in general.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 89illini
        Does anyone have any suggestions for how to ensure that next actions, which are important but without a specific deadline, get done in a timely fashion? In many cases, I find that I have actions that I ought to do within a 3-4 day period (to avoid the negative ramifications), but it's not as if they *MUST* get done in that time.
        Just because there is no externally imposed deadline does not mean that you cannot assign one yourself.

        If it is Monday and something comes up that needs to happen by Thursday, I'd put a reminder on my calendar like "Reminder-- email Joe the new widget specs" and set an alarm on that reminder. On Thursday, I will get a pop up reminder from my calendar and an alarm on my PDA. If it is already done, then I can just ignore it. Otherwise, I'll see it and know that it is time to move on that item.

        If you are using a tickler file, a note can go in there also.

        Neither of these ensures that you'll actually DO the task but it at least makes sure that even if you completely skip your reviews, you'll have at least have safety reminder that will bring this item back to you in the future.

        I am still working out my own GTD solutions. I'm finding that it is better for now to have these kinds of reminders than to rely solely on the list. The main reason is that it instills a higher level of trust my own system. As I mature with GTD, I might reduce this belt-and-suspenders approach.
        Last edited by Bill; 10-09-2005, 06:46 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Bill
          ....this belt-and-suspenders approach.
          Bill, as a gal I'm not sure what a belt-and-suspenders approach is. As a poet I'm intrigued by the imagery. Will you explain? (I was going to ask you to expand, but that was a little too punny.)

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          • #6
            Belt & Suspenders, expanded

            Metaphor for cautious redundancy. I wear the same outfit.

            Julian

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Day Owl
              Bill, as a gal I'm not sure what a belt-and-suspenders approach is. As a poet I'm intrigued by the imagery. Will you explain? (I was going to ask you to expand, but that was a little too punny.)
              Julian has it.

              The "belts-and-suspenders approach" means taking an extra measure of security which is almost surely unnecessary.

              A man (or even a gal) usually wears either a belt or suspenders to keep his trousers from falling down. If he wears both, it means that he is decidedly overprepared, even at the expense of looking silly to others.

              I used this phrase to poke fun at myself a little.

              Adding a calendar reminder for something that is already on my NA list is setting up two reminders for the same item. That should not be necessary, but better safe than sorry for now.
              Last edited by Bill; 10-10-2005, 04:16 AM.

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              • #8
                Thanks, Julian and Bill. Now I understand. If I get a poem out of this image (not likely at this moment, but you never know) I'll be sure to post it here.

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                • #9
                  OK, now you've all gone and done it.
                  Got my mind focused on trying think of words that rhyme with "suspenders"...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by spectecGTD
                    OK, now you've all gone and done it.
                    Got my mind focused on trying think of words that rhyme with "suspenders"...
                    Blenders, fenders, lenders, senders, tenders, venders...

                    If it helps, I've also heard suspenders called braces. Lots of possibilities to rhyme with that.

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