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Writing down immediately after crossing off

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  • Writing down immediately after crossing off

    Just want to share a learning experience…

    During my weekly reviews, I always make sure that every project would be given attention by listing at least one next action for it.

    But during the week, some projects would get neglected after I’ve completed its associated NA and crossed it off. And I wouldn’t notice this, unless I glance down my project list – the only remaining reminder after crossing off the NAs.

    So what I started to do is I would think of the next associated action IMMEDIATELY AFTER CROSSING OFF an action item, and write that down. If it has to go on my waiting list then I’d put it there. If there is actually nothing more to be done, then I would cross off the project as complete.

    This may sound common sense to veteran GTDers, but it was one of those “Aha!” moments for me. Hope this would help some of the newbies here.

  • #2
    I've recently come to a similar conclusion. I used to tick each action off once I'd completed it and not worry too much about thinking about the next action after that because the weekly review will take care of it. Now, after I've marked the action as complete, I'll think of the next next action. Nine times out of ten the next next action is "review the project" because I don't have the time (or more likely I'm not in the right frame of mind) to think of what the next physical thing to do is.

    I've also been toying with the idea that this could be expanded so that weekly reviews become unnecessary. If reviewing a specific project is made into an actual next action then you can do it at the best time for you so your weekly review would be split into maybe 50 "mini reviews" when you get those spare moments when you're in a queue or waiting for a meeting to start, etc.

    I'm even wondering if you could have repeating deferred next actions to review each specific someday/maybe items each with their own different periods of review. You might want to review the "become an astronaut" item once a year, but you might want to review the "tidy out garage" item once a month.


    • #3
      I think writing down the NA right after crossing off an action item, or getting interrupted in your workflow, is a given. Although I’m not sure if it was explicitly taught in any of DA’s books…

      For me, the weekly review would still be a vital part in fine tuning my GTD system. Writing down the immediate NA, IMHO, would *support* the weekly review, perhaps in making it smoother and faster, instead of eliminate its necessity.

      Although I do “mini-reviews” once in a while, I don’t exactly like the idea behind its practice. Because when I’m able to do the weekly review thoroughly, I find that I don’t need to do too much mini-reviews.

      Staying on top of your system during the course of a week, with no residue as DA would put it, is the reason why some people are able to do the weekly review in a few hours or even less.

      I think those who live the hectic lifestyle of 24/7 always in demand are the ones who would benefit most from several *split* mini-reviews. But the advantage of the weekly review over several mini-reviews is you get to see all your creations in one place and time. This would especially help when planning at the high 50,000 foot level. So still, I would suggest doing the weekly review if possible.


      • #4
        I think that's what DA means You always should have a Next Action to move the project further. For me the problem was when I checked off a Next Action not to forget to put a new one either. I use PDA and sometimes have to cross off NAs while driving so I had to put a safety net - Daily Review. During that review that takes 30 minutes I empty all inboxes and put new NAs instead of completed.