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Weekly Review clash with Natural Planning Model?

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  • Weekly Review clash with Natural Planning Model?

    I suppose this must have been discussed in the past, but I haven't been able to find anything relevant by searching for it:

    When you are doing your weekly review, how do you deal with the case of coming across projects that trigger you to start a planning session, thereby disrupting the flow of the weekly review? Do you succumb to the temptation and interrupt the weekly review, thus killing the spontaneity of brainstorming etc., or do you carry on with the weekly review regardless and come back to the project concerned at a later time?

  • #2
    I've posted the very same question before, though in the format "when do you do your organizing." The advice I got then was NEVER to do it during the WR - it's what kills your review and takes it from 1-2 hours to neverending. It was suggested that I spawn off a task to "brainstorm ideas for project N" as the next action, rather than try to do the organizing then. I haven't fully implemented the latter but not doing the former has helped me get reviews completed.

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    • #3
      I apply a two-minute-like rule.

      Some planning is indistinguishable from Weekly Review tasks like determining the next action for a project. "I'm stalled on Project X. Why? What do I need to do to get moving again? Hmmmm..... I think I'm stalled because I don't have a clear idea what the client wants, so the next action is to set up a meeting to figure that out."

      Some planning is a project in its own right. "The client wants me to convert Boston's elevated highway to a tunnel. Without shutting down Boston's business district for the duration. Hmmmm.... I need to think about this a little bit..." (For those not familiar with it, the Big Dig was a 10-plus year, $14 billion plus project. Not the sort of thing you can plan on a cocktail napkin.)

      So, in the Weekly Review I do the amount of planning necessary to determine the Next Action. Sometimes, this means that the Next Action is "brainstorm project plan." And, I have my ubiquitous capture tool handy to jot down ideas that pop up of their own volition, which then get processed like any other Inbox item.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        D'oh I knew there was a reason I come back to read this forum. The number of times my weekly review has expanded into hours and hours because I was stuck at determining a next action for a project. It's so obvious- determining the next action is a next action in itself (if it's going to take more than two minutes to determine).

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        • #5
          Thank you for sharing your views about this matter.

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          • #6
            Preventing Natural Planning Model interrupting the Weekly Review

            Wonderful work all of you!

            Here is a question to ask that I think will take the ideas presented above FURTHER:

            should I create a next action category called @NaturalPlanning.. to deal with projects that need to go through those stages..

            and what that means is that I am physically at my desk with a blank paper and pen going through the natural planning model..

            I think this may make sense, so I wil try it. its a major reason as to why I dont finish my Weekly Review... I'm glad to have this support...

            Dwayne
            Last edited by dwayneneckles; 02-27-2007, 09:54 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dwayneneckles View Post
              Wonderful work all of you!

              Here is a question to ask that I think will take the ideas presented above FURTHER:

              should I create a next action category called @NaturalPlanning.. to deal with projects that need to go through those stages..

              and what that means is that I am physically at my desk with a blank paper and pen going through the natural planning model..

              I think this may make sense, so I wil try it. its a major reason as to why I dont finish my Weekly Review... I'm glad to have this support...

              Dwayne
              If this natural planning context is one that physically occurs often enough, eg you find yourself at your desk with a blank paper and pen and not doing anything else, I think @NaturalPlanning seems like a good context. But to me this seems like a awkward category, since:

              -it won't happen just by itself
              -so you have to make it happen

              The latter meaning you need to plan it, or think about it, or have a NA that makes you think about it.

              Another thing is, in what context would you decide to look at the @NaturalPlanning context? When you're at work and checking and working on your @Work NA list?

              If I need to create a project I just write down a general NA, because most projects can be planned on the back of an envelope so can be done anywhere. That's probably too simple though, as I have rather simple needs to meet.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mephisto View Post
                If this natural planning context is one that physically occurs often enough, eg you find yourself at your desk with a blank paper and pen and not doing anything else, I think @NaturalPlanning seems like a good context.
                yea i do.. my job is slow you know.. also im in bed daydreaming
                with a pad and paper.. so its lulls like those

                Originally posted by mephisto View Post
                Another thing is, in what context would you decide to look at the @NaturalPlanning context? When you're at work and checking and working on your @Work NA list?
                Good Question, i guess it can kinda be done anywhere... at work if there is some downtime but at home on the train ride...

                u think it seems awkward huh..i didnt fully understand what you mean by ill have to make it happen ( thats fine, i think most next actions dont happen by themselves) ill try it out and see

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                • #9
                  With it I meant that most people wont find themselves suddenly with free time and a pen and a blank paper. But seems like you do. So it might work for you.

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                  • #10
                    I think there are times when you deliberately put yourself into a context instead of letting it happen.
                    Examples:
                    You know you must put out minutes for a meeting, so you put yourself in an @computer context. Once you are there and the minutes are complete, you look again at your @computer NA list and identify anything else you can do while you're already on a roll.

                    You are in your office between meetings for a half hour. You can make calls, be on the computer or do a half hour of natural planning. You quickly scan these three NA lists for something that fits your energy level, amount of time and needs to be done soonest.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WebR0ver View Post
                      I think there are times when you deliberately put yourself into a context instead of letting it happen.
                      Examples:
                      You know you must put out minutes for a meeting, so you put yourself in an @computer context. Once you are there and the minutes are complete, you look again at your @computer NA list and identify anything else you can do while you're already on a roll.

                      You are in your office between meetings for a half hour. You can make calls, be on the computer or do a half hour of natural planning. You quickly scan these three NA lists for something that fits your energy level, amount of time and needs to be done soonest.
                      Yes WebR0ver, that's the way I think about things too.
                      I'll let you know how it goes..

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WebR0ver View Post
                        I think there are times when you deliberately put yourself into a context instead of letting it happen.
                        Examples:
                        You know you must put out minutes for a meeting, so you put yourself in an @computer context. Once you are there and the minutes are complete, you look again at your @computer NA list and identify anything else you can do while you're already on a roll.

                        You are in your office between meetings for a half hour. You can make calls, be on the computer or do a half hour of natural planning. You quickly scan these three NA lists for something that fits your energy level, amount of time and needs to be done soonest.
                        I think the second example is a good one. But I have some problems with the first. In that case you are reminded of the meeting through eg a note on your calendar. So if you were to do likewise you would have to be reminded about the need to do to some natural planning. That means you need a NA or note on your calendar or schedule it. Why not schedule the Natural Planning in the first place?

                        A quick thought also comes up about the second example. If you have a NA context that only comes up by unforeseen circumstances (waiting before a meeting, waiting for something), you might end up not getting it done until a long time. On the other hand, if you know you're in those kind of situations often (eg you fly often), it IS a context that might work very good.

                        Anyway, I'm curious about the results. Will look at the follow up.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mephisto View Post
                          I think the second example is a good one. But I have some problems with the first. In that case you are reminded of the meeting through eg a note on your calendar. So if you were to do likewise you would have to be reminded about the need to do to some natural planning. That means you need a NA or note on your calendar or schedule it. Why not schedule the Natural Planning in the first place?

                          A quick thought also comes up about the second example. If you have a NA context that only comes up by unforeseen circumstances (waiting before a meeting, waiting for something), you might end up not getting it done until a long time. On the other hand, if you know you're in those kind of situations often (eg you fly often), it IS a context that might work very good.

                          Anyway, I'm curious about the results. Will look at the follow up.
                          I took things a little differently. It seems to be a difference of how people get into contexts. From what you say, it seems that your contexts are perhaps very location specific, such as a general @Work or @Office. Thus, when you're at the office, then you can work from that list almost exclusively. However, the previous examples seem to be more for the type of person who has multiple contexts that they work from in a single location. For example, if you are more mobile, and not always in the office, then perhaps you're contexts are more resource specific rather than location specific.

                          I guess what I'm trying to say is in response to the comment that if its a context that only comes up in unforeseen circumstances. For someone with their contexts set up in a resource-based manner, they'd review multiple contexts at any given time based on the resources available, thus the context comes up anytime they can work on the NA, not only in certain situations.

                          Did that make sense? Words don't seem to be flowing as well today . . .

                          Cheers,

                          Adam

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                          • #14
                            Tool vs. process

                            Dwayne,
                            In my opinion, mind mapping is a tool that supports the Natural Planning Model process. They are separate. Mind mapping (Per DA book) is a suggested tool for brainstorming within the NPM. Anything else and you would go down the slippery slope that a lot of folks on this forum, including me, have gone....seeking to improve the system!

                            As for software, I would recommend the free, FREEMIND, for the mac. Its still a little choppy, but at free, it holds its own against MindManager.

                            -Erik

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                            • #15
                              I've had some thoughts along these lines

                              Originally posted by AdamMiller81 View Post
                              For someone with their contexts set up in a resource-based manner, they'd review multiple contexts at any given time based on the resources available, thus the context comes up anytime they can work on the NA, not only in certain situations.

                              Did that make sense? Words don't seem to be flowing as well today . . .
                              I think I getcha: you're saying that the context is "have phone, am travelling", kind of thing, rather than "waiting @ airport". Context being what tools you have available combined with what time you have. And that cleaves very closely to The David's view, I think: that you base your decisions on what is or is not possible for you, rather than on what your situation is. So context lists are set up to allow you to quickly find some way to make the best use of the time and tools that you've got.

                              I've been having thoughts along these lines for a while. For those, like David, who travel around a lot, the tools part is paramout: if you're in a plane, you need to know what things you can do with a computer offline, for example. It's all about the tools.

                              But for some of us, we have all tools, all the time. Well, sort of. Anyone who works from home, or has a similar situation, will have a phone and online computer all the time. In those cases, the issue of tools doesn't arise, so we have to modify our contexts according to time available, perhaps, or energy. We'll continue to have @Car or @InTown context lists, of course, for those occasions when we're not actually wired in to the system, but we may need to slice our contexts a little differently.

                              For instance, my alertness ebbs and flows during the day. If I have context lists for @Mindless, @Creative, @Physical, @Talkative, for example, I can do the creative work when I'm at my sparkiest, and do the data entry when I'm dopey. The @Physical might be best for those afternoon somnolent times, and the @Talkative for when I'm feeling sociable and outgoing.

                              Or, if your time is chopped up, you might have lists of @5Mins, @15Mins, @1Hour, @Forever, of things that will take about that length of time, so you can easily find one to slot into whichever window you're in.

                              I'd be interested to hear whether anyone's doing anything like this, because I haven't seen any comments along these lines yet. We all (me included, because I don't use this system yet) seem to be wombling along with the @Phone and @Computer contexts straight from GTD, yet it's such a sensible idea, methinks.

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