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Multiple NA's under one project

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  • Multiple NA's under one project

    Could someone please clarify something for me?

    Does GTD advise us to list multiple non-dependant NA's for the same project?

    I've struggled with this...

    My thoughts are, as long as the real, physical, action is the VERY next thing I can and should do to move my project forward then it should go on the list. Following this rule, I don't see why I can't list any and all NA's for my project on my list.



  • #2
    I think that provided the multiple NA's for the project that you put on your list are definitely not dependant upon anything else happening before them (the true NA) then multiple NA's are ok.

    One trap though - if you get into the habit of putting multiple NA's on your list then you might not be thinking fully about what the true NA is and end up with a list of pretty much everything that needs to be done in respect of the project. I have had this happen and my NA list just ends up being a list of actions not necessarily NA's. To combat this I tend to draft a project plan (that I keep with my project support materials) which maps out all (or as many as I can identify) Actions that need to be done to get the Project done. This helps me determine what the true next action is. Also if there are non-dependant NA's that are in the same context I tend to only note down the ones that are doable within a period of time (< my next weekly review) so as not to clutter the list. If there are non-dependant NA's in different contexts I note these down as I may be able to action items in that @Context sometime during the week.

    I'm not sure that this is true GTD treatment of the issue but it is working for me. Would be interested in others thoughts though.

    Take care



    • #3
      As Kim said, as long as they aren't dependent on anything else, then yes, I think it's okay to have multiple next actions.

      Consider the example of planning a dinner party. Once I have my guest list in place, I can put six next actions on my @phone list (one for each person I want to call) and four more on my @computer list (one for each that I either need to look up their number or send them an email). This way, when I'm ready to make a few phone calls, they are all right there in front of me and I can decide "in the moment" who I want to call next. Or alternatively, I can look up a few phone numbers or send emails when I'm at my computer. Either way, the project does not need to be delayed simply because I haven't finished gathering phone numbers.


      • #4
        Many of my projects have multiple actions. If things can be done in parallel then they appear on the list. One project has 8 actions because it's tracking 5 magazines in my office I need to read when I can find time. It doesn't matter which order I read them so they are all on the list.

        In another case from yesterday I was waiting for my assistant to modify a contract template with a new employee's name, details etc and in parallel I could draft up their list of duties and responsibilities.

        The one NA per project is the golden rule which can be broken. If you think of other NA's that can happen independently then put them on the list so things get done quicker. It also gets them out of your mind.