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.

I need help working with my next actions…

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

  • I need help working with my next actions…

    I have outlook set up on my laptop and all of my next actions are set up in Tasks and displayed by category.

    I have categories for the usual:
    @Computer (Work)
    @Computer (Personal)
    @Errands
    @Telephone (Personal)
    @Telephone (Work)
    etc…

    I have a category for projects – also listed in tasks.


    My laptop synchronises with my Pocket Pc which I carry with me, here my task list is also organised and displayed by category.

    Currently I’m having difficulty completing next actions as I move through my working day and on through the week. More and more tasks are being added to my lists faster than I am able to complete them.

    I’m being distracted by the lists of tasks instead of using them to make real progress.

    I have, in effect, become frozen.

    So what do I want?

    I want to remove items from my lists as quickly as I am adding them.

    I want to adopt the GTD system as a tool to getting things done.

    I want to spend less time on the system itself and more on getting tasks done.


    My current thoughts –

    Perhaps I need to block some of these tasks into my diary and actually set time aside to commit to and complete them.

    Maybe I need to think about when I am going to do certain things – some personal phone calls need to be made during working hours, so I need to slot them into my working day etc.

    Does anyone else have any thoughts? Maybe you, like me, have already experienced these episodes and know of a way forward?!

  • #2
    dbobfish,

    You sound like me at this time last year (about 2-3 months after getting on the GTD bandwagon). A couple of thoughts...

    First, understand that "stuff is coming in faster than I can do it" is the reason for GTD's existence. Just keep capturing, processing, and doing. Eventually you'll find that things will level off. I was initially freaked out by the whole thing, and thought, "if things continue at this pace, my next action list is going to have thousands of items!" It didn't happen that way. At some point, things will reach a point of equilibrium. You just have to trust this.

    Secondly, don't be afraid to use the Someday/Maybe category. This is a fantastic dumping ground for all the stuff that comes your way that you really want to do, but just can't get to right now. (I don't like that term -- dumping ground -- because it makes it sound like things go there never to return. I guess it's really more of a parking lot.)

    Finally, make certain you're doing a weekly review -- more often if you need to. This will help ensure that your Someday/Maybe list is getting the attention it needs, so that things that really do need to be done don't languish.

    Comment


    • #3
      Oh yeah... and I spent an inordinate amount of time in those first few months playing with my system.

      That wears off with time. At some point you'll say, "OK. Enough. Time to just get something done."

      I almost hate to mention this, because it is a recommendation for yet another tool to spend time playing with instead of getting things done, but it did make a huge difference for me in this regard... Check out PocketInformant. I have a PocketPC/Outlook setup similar to what you describe, and PocketInformant made an immediate impact on my productivity. For me, just about every complaint that I had about the PocketPC up to that point was addressed. (I'm not affiliated with PocketInformant - just a very satisfied customer).

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi jknecht,

        Thank you for your reassurance.

        ‘Stuff is coming in faster than I can do it’ – I’ll keep reminding myself that that’s the way it is.

        Equilibrium – I like that thought.

        Oh hey – I got the pocket informant – brilliant. I’ve been using it for some time now and I’m another very satisfied customer!

        I input everything on my computer, synchronise with the Ppc and then carry this and refer to it throughout the day. I’ve found it difficult to input anything on the Ppc, and instead choose to make notes on paper and collect them onto the computer later in the day and synchronise the Ppc.

        Do you block time in your diary to complete items on your next actions lists?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by dbobfish View Post
          Do you block time in your diary to complete items on your next actions lists?
          Its tempting to dump a whole lot of "amorphous stuff" from your NA's onto your calendar and kid yourslf that you will do it. You are really just reverting to the old 'to do' list which didnt work before you tried GtD

          Stick with Davids advice that the calendar is sacred territory and only the things that you absolutley have to get done on that day go there.

          With NA's jknecht suggested the Someday/Maybe list as a parking ground. Thats good advice. If you are looking for a suggested time frame only NA's that you need / want to action in the next 2-3 weeks need be on your NA context lists, beyond that time frame its a Someday/Maybe.

          There is ONE proviso though, you really need to make sure you review your Someday/Maybe's each weekly during the Weekly review. You can then drag stuff from there onto the appropriate NA list.

          Good luck !

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dbobfish View Post
            Do you block time in your diary to complete items on your next actions lists?
            I tend to follow what w_i_t_n_a said.

            I suppose that one could argue that this is what you are doing when you process your inbox -- anything that is less than 2 minutes just gets done, and for a lot of people, this is scheduled time. I don't think there is too much harm in setting aside an hour or two for working through your lists, but I would shy away from putting specific next actions on the calendar unless it is something that absolutely must be done on that day.

            Also, for what it's worth, there are times when I will time-block a next action. These are usually situations where I could not possibly finish a task in one sitting, but there isn't any sort of logical breakpoint (or the breakpoint is not obvious to me) where I could break it up into a decent next action. In those cases, my next action is something like "edit vacation video for 30 minutes". I have no idea if I'll be done after that half hour (probably not), but at least I've got something small that I can commit to that will move the project forward. This doesn't go on my calendar; it sits with all of my other @computer next actions, and I know I'll get to it when the time is right.
            Last edited by jknecht; 06-12-2007, 09:25 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              dbob

              Heres some helpful weekly review stuff from Leo over at Zen habits he's also a GtD afficienado

              http://zenhabits.net/2007/02/weekly-...and-achieving/

              Theres a lot of other GtD stuff on his blog as well as a big resources page

              Comment


              • #8
                This is making good sense...

                Ok, so nothing onto the calendar unless it absolutely has to be done that day... for appointments and that sort of thing.

                I like your advice about the someday maybe category. I have been using my projects list in a similar way. Everything I need to do within each of my larger projects is kept within my projects category. I only move the very next actions for each project into my next action categories.

                I find this works well for any actions that are part of a larger project, but then there are the ‘one off’ or ‘stand alone’ action items that sit in my next action categories quietly waiting for my attention. Many of these are actions that I’m unlikely to get around to in the next two to three weeks.
                So what you suggest makes sense, move these items to Someday/Maybe and then review the Someday/Maybe category to keep all of those next action items in check.
                And jknecht you mentioned you sometimes like to ‘time-block a next action’, I’ve been trying that out too and found it very effective. Especially for those larger projects that seem so daunting. I find that setting aside just 30 minutes helps me to at least get the ball rolling and make a start.
                Thank you jknecht and you too w_i_t_n_a, I appreciate your time and advice. You’ve both helped to make things a little clearer.

                I just want to get on make the best use of this system as a tool and make some real progress – and clear my head!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Overcommitted?

                  Originally posted by dbobfish View Post
                  I want to remove items from my lists as quickly as I am adding them.

                  I want to adopt the GTD system as a tool to getting things done.

                  I want to spend less time on the system itself and more on getting tasks done.


                  My current thoughts –

                  Perhaps I need to block some of these tasks into my diary and actually set time aside to commit to and complete them.

                  Maybe I need to think about when I am going to do certain things – some personal phone calls need to be made during working hours, so I need to slot them into my working day etc.

                  Does anyone else have any thoughts? Maybe you, like me, have already experienced these episodes and know of a way forward?!
                  As you become more experienced, some of the overload will vanish. However, if the remaining "stuff" is still way too much, you may want to consider saying "no" more often when a new committment shows up on the horizon?

                  Best wishes
                  Rolf
                  Last edited by Rolf F. Katzenberger; 06-13-2007, 10:17 PM. Reason: Omitted words

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    All my own doing!...

                    It’s funny you say that Rolf because most of the next actions on my lists were put there by me. They are things that I want to get done – not things that other people have asked me to do.

                    However, as I read your message it occured to me that I am trying to fit all of these items into the very little time I have to myself each day.

                    Once I set aside time in the day for work and travel I have very little time left over.

                    I work 7 and a half hours a day then spend maybe an hour and a half travelling.

                    I’d love to swing things around and spend 3 or 4 hours at work and 7.5+hrs at home!

                    When the weekend comes around and there’s housework and all the general chores that get missed during the week. When the weekend comes around all I really want to concentrate on is being a father and a husband

                    Perhaps this is a topic for a new thread about how people manage with what little time they have to anything outside of their working hours?!

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X