Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

"Today's actions" list?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • "Today's actions" list?

    My action lists are lengthy. I could probably prune out maybe 10% or 15% of my projects if I worked harder at it, but my two most basic commitments [family--with young kids and major medical issues--and my job] just add up to quite a large number of projects and actions.

    I have been reviewing my action lists when I get into work each morning and copying 10 to 20 actions onto a a "today's actions" list. I usually put a few more than I judge realistic, just in case things go smoother than I expected.

    In his FAQ on whether there is any alternative to constantly interacting with really long action lists, David seems to be saying that my "today's actions" list is not the best practice:

    Your 'action lists' should just reflect your commitments. If it's 'too long' either you need to get used to a big list of still-undone things (renegotiating regularly with the whole batch that it's OK you're not doing all of them right now) or you need to make fewer commitments.
    But I can't keep a list of 20 key items in my head, I'm bound to forget something important. Reviewing the entire action list can take me 30 minutes or more--I don't see how I could afford to do this more than once a day.

    Am I missing something here?

    Robert
    Last edited by RobertGale; 11-02-2006, 07:54 AM.

  • #2
    I think a today's action list is fine as long as you only copy it off of your standard GTD system at the beginning of the day, and throw it out at the end of the day. I do that. However it is because I have too much to do. I think in general that doing too much is something that needs to be addressed. If the amount of things you have to do repels you, then you will not use the system. So I try to keep the lists as short as I can. Easier said than done.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by RobertGale
      Reviewing the entire action list can take me 30 minutes or more--I don't see how I could afford to do this more than once a day.
      I guess the question I'm asking here is what reviewing your action list looks like for you. Are you making decisions about projects, or about next actions?

      In my weekly review, I examine each of the projects (43, at present) and Someday/Maybe items (21). I decide/set Next Actions for each project, move items from my Someday/Maybe list to my project list if I want to act on them, and move renegotiated commitments onto my Someday/Maybe list if appropriate. This takes me an hour or so in a typical week.

      When I "review my Next Action list", on the other hand, I'm scanning a list of the actions valid in my current context to decide which one I want to do now. Even when I have 40 Next Actions in a single context, a quick scan of the list to decide what to do next doesn't take more than a minute or so.

      Perhaps you could tell us more about why it takes you 30 minutes to review your Next Action list, and then we could provide some more meaningful assistance.

      -- Tammy

      Comment


      • #4
        I do some maintenance of my system while I am scanning for next actions. When I am scanning, I often think of stuff relating to my projects, and I want to capture it before I forget it.

        I suppose that this happens more when I am looking at my project lists than my other action lists. Maybe if I stopped doing that, I could speed up the process significantly. I probably should.

        Comment


        • #5
          At the Chicago GTD Roadmap, David said that in principle he's not against a Daily Action list, so long as the list is compiled from the various choices of the complete next action list (otherwise the integrity of that list is in doubt), with the possible exception of things that have just come up.

          The other, and major proviso, is that you be willing to throw out the daily to do list, or rewrite it completely, at a moment's notice when stuff happens.

          There are times when a single daily list is the best thing I can do. Its usually when I am going to be in a single place at a single time, and have a limited subset of contexts. I probably have control of my time (at least foreseeably), and as such I write down a list, prioritise it and go.

          This rarely happens at work. As a senior manager in the tech game, my day moves fast, and I am covering a wide range of topics.

          At home on the weekend with few "hard landscape" items ahead of me is when the single list works best. I have stuff I need to get down around the house, or at home, so the major lists of @Anywhere, @Computer and @Home are my major source of NA's. I grab some important stuff, some low hanging fruit, and get going.

          But when context, time and energy are moving fast (ie. at work), the plain vanilla DA way works better.

          Cheers

          Des

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by RobertGale
            I do some maintenance of my system while I am scanning for next actions. When I am scanning, I often think of stuff relating to my projects, and I want to capture it before I forget it.

            I suppose that this happens more when I am looking at my project lists than my other action lists. Maybe if I stopped doing that, I could speed up the process significantly. I probably should.
            If you are reviewing your project lists, you are not "scanning for next actions." You are reviewing your project lists. The two activities are very different from a GTD perspective.

            The whole point of NA lists is that your projects have *already* been scanned, you have *already* identified the Next Action needed to move those projects forward, and you're ready to settle down and get to work.

            Under GTD, the Weekly Review is set aside for project-level review. Many people (myself included) conduct minireviews more often than that. But identifying new actions every time you look at your project lists is a bad sign. It suggests that your Weekly Reviews aren't as thorough as they should be, and so your brain is constantly trying to clear itself.

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Rather than creating a separate today list, I often put a star next to items on my Next Action lists that I need to do today. That way they stay in their contexts, but a quick glance at one list or all lists allows me to select the most critical action to do next.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WebR0ver
                Rather than creating a separate today list, I often put a star next to items on my Next Action lists that I need to do today. That way they stay in their contexts, but a quick glance at one list or all lists allows me to select the most critical action to do next.
                This (like my "Today's Actions" list) sounds like a kind of prioritizing. But doesn't this reverse the GTD way of deciding what to do? GTD says you look 1st at your context, 2nd at your energy level, and 3rd at priority.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I put project name as a second word in a Next Action line, i.e. "Chat ABC PROJECT with Tommy re: new shop openning possibility". Thus even if I have 40 Next Actions from different list in front of me I can take the most important project NAs first. "First things first"

                  Regards,

                  Eugene.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by RobertGale
                    This (like my "Today's Actions" list) sounds like a kind of prioritizing. But doesn't this reverse the GTD way of deciding what to do? GTD says you look 1st at your context, 2nd at your energy level, and 3rd at priority.
                    If I have all or most contexts available to me, and something has to be done, then priority moves up the food chain. To me this stays within the framework of GTD better than a separate today list. Some days there are no stars. Three would be a lot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RobertGale
                      When I am scanning, I often think of stuff relating to my projects, and I want to capture it before I forget it.
                      Two comments:
                      1. When you're selecting Next Actions to work on, you shouldn't be looking at your project lists. If you feel like you need to do a mini-review of your project list, that's fine, but you shouldn't be doing that every time you go to select a Next Action. If you're spending time making your daily task list, you can treat that time as a mini-review and check in on your projects. But if you're having to review projects several times each day, your weekly review probably isn't capturing everything you need to do. Perhaps spending more time on your weekly review would be a good thing.
                      2. If you're frequently thinking of new stuff while scanning your lists, try this: Keep a stack of index cards nearby. When you think of something you'd like to capture, write it on an index card and throw it in your Inbox. Next time you process your Inbox, that's the time to decide what to do with the new items you're capturing.

                      -- Tammy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The trick is to keep banging the rocks together

                        Trying to distil it down:

                        If something occurs to you whilst looking at your next action lists, try to resist the urge to process it immediately. Write it on a piece of paper, throw it in your in-box, and get back to picking an already decided action appropriate to your context and energy level.

                        For whatever reason, I find that mixing processing and just about anything else -- especially, for me, review -- really stuffs up both the processing and the whatever else.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Next Action List = The Next Action per project

                          On thing that was a "gotcha" early on for me was listing three or four actions for a specific project on my NA list for that context. If I have 20 items on my @Computer NA List, then there should be nor more than one action to a project on that list. I may have a few one-off short maintenance tasks on the list, but other than that, it's one item per project. When that item is completed, I can either look at the project support folder for the next item and keep working (based on energy and priority) on the project, or put the next item at the bottom of my @Computer list and then do the next item at the top of the list.

                          Eric

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by WebRover:

                            Rather than creating a separate today list, I often put a star next to items on my Next Action lists that I need to do today. That way they stay in their contexts, but a quick glance at one list or all lists allows me to select the most critical action to do next.

                            -------------------

                            This is a great idea, I use it as well on the Blackberry an exclamation symbol works great (!) automatically shifting the next action to the top.

                            I used to think mini day list were good but now after 4+ years doing Gtd I recommend you stay away from this trap...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Borisoff
                              I put project name as a second word in a Next Action line, i.e. "Chat ABC PROJECT with Tommy re: new shop openning possibility". Thus even if I have 40 Next Actions from different list in front of me I can take the most important project NAs first. "First things first"

                              Regards,

                              Eugene.
                              Borisoff, do you generally try to shorten your project names, this seems like an excellent idea I'm going to try, I think you're on to something given the limitations of pda, I think this might work, thanks for sharing such a great idea !!

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X