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how often to review at project level to update na lists?

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  • how often to review at project level to update na lists?

    First, thanks to everyone who regularly posts here -- reading over your ideas and experiences with GTD has helped me move from owning the book to actually implementing the system for myself.

    So far I've captured my stuff, generated a list of projects, and have identified next actions for each of them. I have the na's printed out on context-specific lists (@e-mail, @agendas, etc.) in my organizer. I also have a separate page for each project to jot down notes, longer term na's, ideas, etc.

    But now I see chaos coming. Some of these na's will be pretty easy to churn through -- I can see getting the e-mails all done this afternoon, for example, which will effectively constitute "progress" on 5 or 6 projects.

    How often do you go back to review at the project level to make sure you keep generating new next actions in order to keep the lists current and projects moving ahead?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer. I've checked the book, but all I can find that seems relevant is the weekly review, and for some projects once a week seems too infrequent.
    Last edited by hainsd; 09-15-2006, 11:18 AM. Reason: typo

  • #2
    Originally posted by hainsd
    How often do you go back to review at the project level to make sure you keep generating new next actions in order to keep the lists current and projects moving ahead?
    As often as necessary, basically. Which probably depends on the individual project's complexity and urgency.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Don't forget that a project can have multiple "next" actions - ones that aren't dependent on each other. And a great next action that works in parallel with others is often "plan/develop/brainstorm plan for project X."

      If you've already planned the project and you're comfortable with your plan, and you absolutely positively can't do anything else on it after sending the email (because without a response to the email, you have nothing to do), then there's nothing to do except wait for the email or follow up on it if you haven't had a response after a certain amount of time.

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      • #4
        In that scenario, make sure you've put a "Waiting for" note in so you know the status.

        As soon as I complete an NA on a project, I put the next NA (or group of NAs, if there are multiple possible next actions) on the list. The weekly review is just to double-check that you have the right NA assigned for each active project--you don't want to wait for that review to create new NAs.

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        • #5
          I rarely look at my Projects List durng a normal week because I've thoroughly reviewed each one in my Weekly Review and assigned NA's to the appropriate category list. I then add new NA's during the Weekly Review.

          When I feel a bit pressed, I'll do a mini review of my Projects list just to be sure I'm not missing anything. I'm learning to trust my discomfort and check my system to be sure all is right in that world.

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          • #6
            I try to put new NA when the previous is checked off. Sometimes I like to go through a few of them and forget to put new NAs. But I have a "safety net": Daily Review (is done daily and includes inboxes checking and putting new NAs for completed project-related NAs) and Weekly Review when I check that my NAs go in the right direction

            Regards,

            Eugene.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hainsd
              How often do you go back to review at the project level to make sure you keep generating new next actions in order to keep the lists current and projects moving ahead?
              All projects - weekly. During the weekly review.

              But the nature of some projects may determine that a more regular check is required.

              For some projects, the NA may be more than a week out. Its just important to make sure that EVERY project in the list has a NA - even if thats a meeting 3 months out from now.

              If theres no real next action (or Waiting for, or calendar item), then the project is either done, or a Someday/Maybe thats lurking in the wrong list....

              Cheers

              Des

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              • #8
                Originally posted by sonia_simone
                In that scenario, make sure you've put a "Waiting for" note in so you know the status.

                As soon as I complete an NA on a project, I put the next NA (or group of NAs, if there are multiple possible next actions) on the list. The weekly review is just to double-check that you have the right NA assigned for each active project--you don't want to wait for that review to create new NAs.
                Spot on. 100% agree!

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                • #9
                  thanks for your help

                  Thanks, everyone, for your help! I can see already that there are some projects that will need some sort of daily review as well, but that the weekly review will keep me looking at the whole picture regularly.

                  Now I have to go and actually do the things on the lists...

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                  • #10
                    Another "vote" for Sonia_Simone's practice!

                    It usually costs me nothing, time-wise, to decide the following NA once I have completed one. As a useful side effect it keeps my stress level controlled, knowing that a NA is decided for the project concerned and it's not lurking somewhere until the next Weekly Review.

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                    • #11
                      I use PDA and it's not always convinient to put a new NA on the fly i.e. while driving. Any ideas who had the same problems?

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                      • #12
                        I used to use a PDA for organization (Actually in my preGTD era) and I know the problem, especially since at the time I was probably in the car 5 hours a day. A few things that could work:

                        - Notepad and pen, not necessarily a whole lot easier, but usually quicker than a PDA for data entry. Then enter it into the system when you reach a more convenient location. (Post-its will also stick to a steering wheel )

                        - Voice recorder, whether its a function of your PDA, mobile, or a standalone device, you could record short voice memos and then again, when at a more convenient location, transfer them to your main system.

                        - Voice mail. Similar to the voice recorder, but you could call and leave yourself a voicemail at the office or on your mobile to check later.

                        The key to all of these would be adding a quick checklist action upon return to the office or anywhere you'd be stopping for a few minutes to quickly review these alternate inboxes and process them into the system.

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                        • #13
                          A vote for voice recorders

                          If I'm anywhere that I can't write something down, like in the car, I swear by a small Olympus digital recorder. Have had a few strange looks on the street though

                          I can plug it directly into my laptop (as it comes apart and plugs into the USB port). I can then move the sound files into a 'processing' folder on my desktop.

                          Highly recommend it. Of course, still have to remember to process my audio Inbox...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AdamMiller81
                            - Voice recorder, whether its a function of your PDA, mobile, or a standalone device, you could record short voice memos and then again, when at a more convenient location, transfer them to your main system.
                            I, too, use the voice recorder feature on my cellphone. I set up one of the spare buttons on the keypad of the cellphone to go right to the voice recorder. (How often do I use that button for the camera anyway? )

                            The voice recordings then become part of the normal inbox processing.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hainsd
                              How often do you go back to review at the project level to make sure you keep generating new next actions in order to keep the lists current and projects moving ahead?

                              Thanks for any advice you can offer. I've checked the book, but all I can find that seems relevant is the weekly review, and for some projects once a week seems too infrequent.
                              I think the main idea is to turn each project into a workable plan to get it done. For me, just having a project list doesn't work. It's only when i break down each project into parts that need to be completed that i can find a load of stand alone next actions to work off. When you've completed those project related next actions it's then a matter of going back to the project plan and getting a load more of NAs' until it's completed.

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