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  • Does Next Action has duration?

    I was looking through Getting Things Done book and never found any reference to duration of the Next Action. Here, in the Forum, a few times I saw that Next Action had duration of 5-15 minutes. How do you look at your Next Actions: do you assume any duration (read one page or read three pages) or treat them like bookmarks (start reading from page one or continue reading from paragraph two of page three)?

    That's quite different apporoaches and I'd like to understand what works better.

    Regards,

    Eugene.

  • #2
    Generally, I don't worry about duration. An action like "write first draft of Chapter One" will certainly take more than 15 minutes, but it doesn't usually make sense for me to break it down further.

    The exception is if an action seems to be stalled. Then I'll try to break it down into smaller pieces.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kewms
      Generally, I don't worry about duration. An action like "write first draft of Chapter One" will certainly take more than 15 minutes, but it doesn't usually make sense for me to break it down further.

      The exception is if an action seems to be stalled. Then I'll try to break it down into smaller pieces.

      Katherine
      Make sence, it looks like "bookmark" approach.

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      • #4
        They are more like bookmarks. The 5-15 minutes is more like a guide to help you make sure you are being specific. Example, fix car is too broad but change spark plugs is more of a action.

        Regarding reading, it depends. Some books are divided nice into chapters that can be read in say 15-30 minutes. Others like novels are more continuous. Either will work. Also, I tend to put read 2 chapters when it is a technical book I need to get through in a week else I just put read book on the list.

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        • #5
          I've actually started writing in a duration for some of my NAs, just as a quick visual reminder that some of them will take longer. There are a few actions that I have to do on a fairly regular basis that will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the project (same type of action, scope varies), and while it is made of several steps, they are pretty much always done all at once, so it wouldn't make sense to break them down any further. Thus, if I'm looking at my hard landscape, and say, have 30 minutes before a meeting, then I know that I don't want to touch them at all, and its a quick way of discounting them immediately.

          Find it can be a benefit in the "Do" stage, as then I don't even need to think about how long this particular action for this project may take, as that was estimated at the Processing stage.

          However, as mentioned above, there are also a lot of actions that are just bookmarks, and don't really need a duration attached.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AdamMiller81
            I've actually started writing in a duration for some of my NAs, just as a quick visual reminder that some of them will take longer. There are a few actions that I have to do on a fairly regular basis that will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the project (same type of action, scope varies), and while it is made of several steps, they are pretty much always done all at once, so it wouldn't make sense to break them down any further. Thus, if I'm looking at my hard landscape, and say, have 30 minutes before a meeting, then I know that I don't want to touch them at all, and its a quick way of discounting them immediately.
            Adam, as I now understand GTD process I believe Next Actions are like bookmarks and shouldn't have any timing attached because you'll tend to stop after doing that particular Next Action when it should become a trigger for you to continue digging this project. If there's no way further then you can switch to another Next Action putting a Next Action for the done one (like a bookmark).

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