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  • Could a single action step be entered in Someday/Maybe?

    This is a rather pedantic question, but I'm asking it in order to understand better how to deal with Next Actions. So, going by the book definition of Next Actions, is there a case where one might enter a single action in this category? For example, if I wish to read a book that I have on my library shelf, but never bring myself round to doing it, could I record as a next action in Someday/Maybe or is this category limited to multiple action things i.e. Projects?

  • #2
    Originally posted by DoingIt
    This is a rather pedantic question, but I'm asking it in order to understand better how to deal with Next Actions. So, going by the book definition of Next Actions, is there a case where one might enter a single action in this category?
    Sure. Why not?

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Thank you Katherine. I hope that you and all the other experienced persons here will bear with me. As you can guess, I've only just started practising GTD, after having read DA's book and after spending a few days perusing this excellent Forum. Questions come up in my head as I try and work my way through the system for recording what has to be done.

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      • #4
        I'm not sure this is the right way, but I've setup an action item to review my Someday / Maybe list. Then if one of the items becomes "active" I also place a separate todo action item.
        Last edited by Denver Dave; 11-02-2005, 07:26 AM.

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        • #5
          a SM or a project decision ?

          Originally posted by DoingIt
          I wish to read a book


          Stated as you do, it is almost an active project : If I've set a habit for some reading times along my weeks, I may create a context "
          @read" (or @freetime, etc) : so it would appear in my @read list.

          And if such a list gets too long, well, you have to make some decisions :
          • maybe you'll defer its reading to a maybe other time (ie : re-process later)
          • or decide you won't read it however interesting it is, because you have better things to read for your reading times.
          So :
          1. either you read it because you wish,
          2. either you know you do not wish as much as other temptative readings, and you no more think you "should",
          3. either, you give it (to someone that could feed you back a summary ?), and no more think about reading it !
          So your mind waters to what you've choosen to read
          Last edited by Jacques; 10-25-2005, 09:53 AM.

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          • #6
            Thank you.
            It's this flexibility of GTD that's gives it strength. However, for me as a new user sometimes this is confusing.

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            • #7
              Projects and next actions

              Originally posted by DoingIt
              I wish to read a book
              In my system this would be a typical Someday/Maybe project at the @Read/Review context mainly, but not a next action. I seldom have time to read a whole book in one sit, and my next actions are always actions.

              This project would have a few actions such as "Read Chapter 1" or "Read pages 1-30". During a weekly review, when I decide upon which projects will be moving on the next week, I would commit or not to this project.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Zatara
                This project would have a few actions such as "Read Chapter 1" or "Read pages 1-30".
                This is another annoying thing for me. I know the definition of a next action, as per DA, but I always wonder to how much detail should I break down a Project, meaning to how many actions. I fear that I may take it to ridiculous lengths on the one hand, or to not enough detail on the other.
                Last edited by DoingIt; 10-25-2005, 12:31 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Zatara
                  I seldom have time to read a whole book in one sit, and my next actions are always actions.
                  Who ever said the whole book had to be read in one sit. You're right, if he decides he wishes to read it it is a project, and the NA indeed is an action !

                  My first physical action could be : Take the book out of the shelf and put it on the stairs (so, after dinner I'm sure to take it in my room).
                  And as it is less than two minutes, I would do this Now !
                  Originally posted by Zatara
                  This project would have a few actions such as "Read Chapter 1" or "Read pages 1-30".
                  Why not ? (although it wouldn't be my way

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DoingIt
                    This is a rather pedantic question, but I'm asking it in order to understand better how to deal with Next Actions. So, going by the book definition of Next Actions, is there a case where one might enter a single action in this category? For example, if I wish to read a book that I have on my library shelf, but never bring myself round to doing it, could I record as a next action in Someday/Maybe or is this category limited to multiple action things i.e. Projects?
                    Techincally, if you follow the GTD flow chart, it's only after you decide that it is actionable that you determine if it is a multistep project or a single next action.

                    Practically speaking, just add it to your someday/maybe list.. Even if you only have projects on your s/m list it's not going to matter that a project has only one step.

                    I personally like seeing books on my projects list because I typically take a week or two to get through a book. But I only list one next action to read the book because my bookmark keeps track of my progress and the specific next action of read chapter 12.

                    Keep it simple.

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                    • #11
                      I treat reading both ways, sometimes as a project or next action, but mostly not in my system at all.

                      I don't put reading in my system if I don't need the reminder, reading the book isn't really a commitment, it's not required reading to move another project along, or I have no trouble remembering or wanting to read the book. I hardly ever make reading a book a project of its own unless it contributes to some other goal/project outcome. I view my system as a collection of reminders of things I am committed to. I am reading books right now for fun that I have no commitment to; if I don't have time to read it, that's OK; and I don't want to track it in my system.

                      A few reading projects ARE in my system because I must obtain and then carefully read a book in order to achieve some other project outcome. This reading is usually more effortful and work-related, and I do put reminders in my system for these.

                      You mention that you want to read a book but can never bring yourself to read it. Neil Fiore's approach has really helped me with resistance. I ask myself why I WANT to read the book. If my only answer is that I know I should, then my goal isn't specific enough to motivate me. I give myself permission NOT to read the book. If my mind then argues back something like, But I have to read it because ______, then I have found my compelling motivation that is usually enough to get the thing done. And if not, I just don't read the book. There are so many books, it's impossible to read them all, and it's OK not to.

                      We have The Old Man and the Sea on our bookshelf because my spouse has been told it "should" be read. I know that my spouse will never, ever read it but I'm not allowed to get rid of it because "someday. . ." The psyche is a funny thing.

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                      • #12
                        Actions

                        Originally posted by DoingIt
                        This is another annoying thing for me. I know the definition of a next action, as per DA, but I always wonder to how much detail should I break down a Project, meaning to how many actions. I fear that I may take it to ridiculous lengths on the one hand, or to not enough detail on the other.
                        The typical DA's answer would be "just enough to get it out of your mind".

                        This will depend a lot on each situation. For example, if you have just moved and your books are not near your couch anymore, the next action could perfectly be "Pick up book X". But in most situations this will be quite redundant.

                        Anyway, I always make sure my actions are very "real", I don't want to stop even for a moment to consider how to do them or when to check them as done. DA warns us against compromising on this on a recent podcast, when discussing about the need for contexts. It is a superb interview.

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