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  • Again Deadlines: is Weekly Review meens one week deadlines for the planned tasks?

    I have one more question about deadlines. I understood that GTD assumes no deadlines. But what is Weekly Review process then? As I think Weekly Review is a planning process when you take Next Actions for all of your Projects, prioritize them and assign one week deadline till the next Weekly Review? Is it right?

    If you have only 20 tasks per week it's Ok to scroll all of them daily and keep an eye on all of them. But what if you have 50-60 tasks per week and what if you find yourself on Friday with 5 tasks to complete that turned out to be 2 hours of work to complete when you have 30 minutes till the end of the workday - move the tasks to the new week? Isn't it a poor planning process when you could put deadlines on all the tasks and notice that they require additional attention in the middle of the week? Any ideas?

    Eugene Borisoff

  • #2
    Originally posted by Borisoff
    I have one more question about deadlines. I understood that GTD assumes no deadlines. But what is Weekly Review process then? As I think Weekly Review is a planning process when you take Next Actions for all of your Projects, prioritize them and assign one week deadline till the next Weekly Review? Is it right?
    Not quite. GTD is not oriented around priortization and artificial deadlines. Real deadlines go on the calendar. Suppose project A needs to be done in 2 months. That's a real deadline, and goes on the calendar. Suppose it's a team project, and the team leader asks that you have particular set of tasks done in 2 weeks. That's a real deadline, and goes on the calendar. Now suppose instead that you want to have your part of the project done in 2 weeks for your own reasons. Is it a real deadline or not? It depends on what else you have to do, both present and future. Balancing all the things you have going on is your job. Next actions are done as soon as possible, but sometimes that is a lot later than it would be if you had nothing else to do. Artificial deadlines and priortization tend to take time away from actually doing, and promote stress and guilt.

    Originally posted by Borisoff
    If you have only 20 tasks per week it's Ok to scroll all of them daily and keep an eye on all of them. But what if you have 50-60 tasks per week and what if you find yourself on Friday with 5 tasks to complete that turned out to be 2 hours of work to complete when you have 30 minutes till the end of the workday - move the tasks to the new week? Isn't it a poor planning process when you could put deadlines on all the tasks and notice that they require additional attention in the middle of the week?
    We orthodox GTD'ers say "Next Actions" instead of "Tasks." Seriously, there is a difference. What most people mean by a task is a collection of small steps on a bigger project, or a mini-project. In my experience, such "tasks" don't get done because a) they are too big to do in the available time, and b) I don't know what I need to do. What's the desired outcome? What's the next action? If you know those, there is a very good chance that something can be done to advance some or even all of these "tasks" in half an hour.

    Look at it another way: suppose I put a deadline of Friday on all my next actions. How does that help me choose which one to do? It doesn't, of course. A sense of priority is useful but in fact context, energy, and time available also come into play. If you are consistently getting less done over a week than you want or need to, your options are to work longer hours, to work more efficiently, to change the volume or nature of your work, or to lower the quality of your work.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mcogilvie
      Look at it another way: suppose I put a deadline of Friday on all my next actions. How does that help me choose which one to do? It doesn't, of course. A sense of priority is useful but in fact context, energy, and time available also come into play. If you are consistently getting less done over a week than you want or need to, your options are to work longer hours, to work more efficiently, to change the volume or nature of your work, or to lower the quality of your work.
      Ok But my original question was if all those NAs we plan during Weekly Review to be done withing one upcoming week or not? And I usually have my energy always at the same level and context always allows me to do everything I want (either I'm in the office or at home I can do @Phone, @Computer, @Etc...) so should I be choosing tasks based on time available? If so what happens if I have only ten minutes time slots - I will be choosing only 10 minutes NAs leaving 60 minutes NAs for some later opportunity?
      Last edited by Borisoff; 01-22-2006, 09:22 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Borisoff
        But my original question was if all those NAs we plan during Weekly Review to be done withing one upcoming week or not?
        I don't think the horizon for the weekly review should be limited to one week. The weekly review aims, among other things, to catch any NAs that should be recognized as such, but for one reason or another may have been missed during the previous week. The weekly review involves going through the five phases of workflow management - collecting, processing, organizing and reviewing all your outstanding involvements until you can say "I absolutely know right now everything I'm not doing, but could be doing if I decided to".

        Originally posted by Borisoff
        And I usually have my energy always at the same level and context always allows me to do everything I want (either I'm in the office or at home I can do @Phone, @Computer, @Etc...) so should I be choosing tasks based on time available? If so what happens if I have only ten minutes time slots - I will be choosing only 10 minutes NAs leaving 60 minutes NAs for some later opportunity?
        The choice depends on (a) Context, (b) time available, (c) energy and (d) priority. David Allen argues that these should be considered in the sequence given above. So, to answer your question, you wouldn't be doing any 60 minutes NAs if you only have 10 minutes available, for the simple reason that you wouldn't have enough time to do the 60 minute NAs.

        Comment


        • #5
          The way to think of it is that the Weekly Review is the time to "check the map" and be sure you're headed in the right direction. Nobody expects that all Next Actions will be done in a week. Some may take longer, depending on what's happening, time available, resources, etc.

          Don't worry about how many Next Actions get done. If you've routinely had 10 minute chunks available, it's better to get several 10 minute NAs done than to get one 60 minute NA. At least you're making progress towards your goals. That's the main outcome that you're working towards.

          GTD is meant to be a fluid planning process, where you are doing things depending on the current situation. Progress is the name of the game.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DoingIt
            The choice depends on (a) Context, (b) time available, (c) energy and (d) priority. David Allen argues that these should be considered in the sequence given above. So, to answer your question, you wouldn't be doing any 60 minutes NAs if you only have 10 minutes available, for the simple reason that you wouldn't have enough time to do the 60 minute NAs.
            It means that if I have only 10 minutes chunks available through the whole week all my 60 minute NAs will remain untouched even if they are higher priority? Why priority is not the #1 i.e. you have 10 minutes available and two NAs on your list - one is 10 minutes and low priority other is 15 and high priority and should I take the low one instead of doing 10 of 15 minutes of the higher priority NA?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Borisoff
              It means that if I have only 10 minutes chunks available through the whole week all my 60 minute NAs will remain untouched even if they are higher priority? Why priority is not the #1 i.e. you have 10 minutes available and two NAs on your list - one is 10 minutes and low priority other is 15 and high priority and should I take the low one instead of doing 10 of 15 minutes of the higher priority NA?
              In my system, a 60 minute NA is one that requires so much concentration that I can't accomplish anything useful in less than 60 minutes. If I don't have -- or create -- a 60 minute slot, that NA isn't going to get done.

              Your NAs may look different from mine. Maybe your 60 minute NA is really a mini-project, some pieces of which take only 10 minutes. Maybe you have, say, 60 minutes of filing to do, but it's a low concentration task so you can work on it whenever you have time. In those cases, maybe it makes sense to break your NAs into smaller pieces. Or, maybe it makes sense to figure out why you never have 60 uninterrupted minutes and do something about it.

              Katherine

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Borisoff
                Ok But my original question was if all those NAs we plan during Weekly Review to be done withing one upcoming week or not?
                I usually do not finish all my "current" NAs during any given week. When I'm planning the week, I try to assign myself a little bit more than I think I can do. That gives me flexibility without feeling overwhelmed.

                And I usually have my energy always at the same level and context always allows me to do everything I want (either I'm in the office or at home I can do @Phone, @Computer, @Etc...) so should I be choosing tasks based on time available?
                If your energy level is always the same, you are either not human or heavily medicated. Seriously. Everyone's energy level varies through the day. Even severely depressed people have lower lows, and even very energetic people have higher highs.

                Katherine

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kewms
                  Or, maybe it makes sense to figure out why you never have 60 uninterrupted minutes and do something about it.

                  Katherine
                  That caught my eye as well...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Time restrictions are more important than priority order.

                    Originally posted by Borisoff
                    It means that if I have only 10 minutes chunks available through the whole week all my 60 minute NAs will remain untouched even if they are higher priority? Why priority is not the #1 i.e. you have 10 minutes available and two NAs on your list - one is 10 minutes and low priority other is 15 and high priority and should I take the low one instead of doing 10 of 15 minutes of the higher priority NA?
                    It would be unreasonable to start 15-minute NA if you have only 10 minutes. You would end up with nothing done or you would be late for your next hard landscape activity. Time restrictions are more important than priority order.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DoingIt
                      The choice depends on (a) Context, (b) time available, (c) energy and (d) priority. David Allen argues that these should be considered in the sequence given above. So, to answer your question, you wouldn't be doing any 60 minutes NAs if you only have 10 minutes available, for the simple reason that you wouldn't have enough time to do the 60 minute NAs.
                      Context is clear - it's defined by context and supported by outlook categories but what about time. There's no such a field in a PDA so should I be scrolloing 20 NAs and think if it's 5, 10 or 20 minutes to do. Then how should I prioritize between all of the 5 minute NAs - I should remember them while scrolling or write them down on a paper (can't imagine that procedure while driving - i.e. I have to make a call, I take @Call category and then start scrolling through 10 calls I have on the list trying to find 5 minute calls and remember them to prioritize between them then). Please advice

                      Regards,

                      Eugene

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        PDAs do have a priority field. If you like, you can sort by priority within a given category.

                        As for the time required, I usually don't bother writing it down. For most of my tasks it's obvious. When I do need to keep track of it, I just put it in the text of the task. Put it at the beginning, and the alphabetic sort will create a list by increasing amount of time. So you'll get something like:

                        @Calls
                        Priority 1 5:00 -- Call Bob to confirm meeting
                        Priority 1 10:00 -- Call Mike to go over proposal questions
                        Priority 2: 5:00 -- Check with Sheila re: proposal status

                        And so forth.

                        Depending on the number of calls and their relative priority, you could also just sort by time required (alphabetic), and work your way through the list. If, say, you have ten cold calls to make, they are probably about equally important and so it doesn't matter which one you make first.

                        Katherine

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