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Due Dates / Deadlines

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  • Due Dates / Deadlines

    I've been using GTD at work now for about a month, and it's no overstatement to say that it may have saved my career. More than just eliminate the crushing stress I was under, it has cleared away the haze, allowing me to see new and better ways forward for my team. In fact, people on my team have actually commented to me that their stress level has gone down in lock step with mine - what an amazing result!

    That said, I am still of course fine-tuning my system, and there is still one major stumbling block I haven't manage to eliminate: Due Dates.

    Maybe I missed it, but the GTD book doesn't mention anything about how to handle projects/actions that have a deadline. I have done some deep thinking on the subject, but I would like to hear everyone's own approaches to handling deadlines within the GTD framework.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas!

    Cheers,
    Will.

  • #2
    I don't think you missed it, but you have to make a connection between action steps. Basically, it goes like this (or at least it does for me )

    Your project is recorded on your project list. During your Weekly Review, you should be listing at least one Action Item that refers back to that project. Now, we already know that if an Action Item has a definitive date then it needs to be recorded on your calendar. This would result in all Action ITems with a due date being recorded on your calendar. I think of a calendar as another Action List, just with dates attached. You could even put the due date for the entire project on your calendar, just to help you to see the "finish line". (Example: Presentation Project Due)

    I hope this helps to explain it.

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    • #3
      Just to add. Next Actions go to Next Action context lists (@Call, @Computer, etc). Deadlines go to the Calendar. Do not put artificial deadlines to the Calendar (like I want to call someone on Wednesday) only true deadlines not to overload the system with deadlines that are not true and you can renegotiate.

      Regards,

      Eugene.

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      • #4
        The impression I have from the book is that after a Weekly Review which would include reviewing project deadlines on the calendar, you would intuitively give the NAs for the project the priority they deserve throughout the week. The project itself is a calendar/hard landscape item, but the NAs to complete it are not.

        I date all NAs with their project deadline, if applicable, and sort NAs by their project due date. NAs with a project deadline this week will appear higher on the list than NAs whose project is due next month. Project deadline is one of the most important factors in determining priority, so I want that deadline info clearly visible. The NAs never go on the calendar unless they do have to be done that specific day.

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        • #5
          My time-sensitive projects all end with "DUE XX-YY" so I see the date up front during the weekly review, and any other time I look at that item. This method is more foolproof than any technological solution I've tried (and I've tried plenty). I will put the due date on the calendar as well, but I find that entry is not as useful.

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          • #6
            Project Due dates

            My projects (and sub-projects) are all titled [YYMMDD Project name] that way they appear in date order in Outlook or in Mindmanager when I sort the top level branches alphabetically that helps me to decide what I need to focus on when I review my lists.

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone for your thoughts.

              Originally posted by andersons View Post
              I date all NAs with their project deadline, if applicable, and sort NAs by their project due date. NAs with a project deadline this week will appear higher on the list than NAs whose project is due next month. Project deadline is one of the most important factors in determining priority, so I want that deadline info clearly visible.
              I tried this out today, as it was closest to the ideas I had on how to deal with deadlines. The book says the criteria for choosing an action to do are, in order, Context, Time Available, Priority, and Energy Level. I agree with the logic above that Due Date is the most important determinant of priority, and this meshes nicely with the idea that priorities are dynamic.

              So what I did today was to set up a view in my Outlook tasks folder that groups actions first by Context (Category), then by Time Required (Total Work), then by Deadline (Due Date), then sorts them by Age (Created Date). It really worked well.

              Thanks everyone.

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