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.
Next Action Lists to fall in love with Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Next Action Lists to fall in love with

    Enroute to work this morning, my GTD podcast talked about creating next action lists that you love, in fact, next action lists that you fall in love with. Powerful statement! It was said that a weekly review helps you create such lists. But that is kind of general -- anyone have any insight into what such a list looks like?

  • #2
    Next action tips

    I'm in search of this too but here's what works for me so far:

    1. Start with a physical verb - e.g. not "brainstorm" but "start a mind map". You want to be able to see yourself taking action.

    2. Be clear ... even to the extent that a friend or other person could take that action too.

    3. Allude to the project if applicable - e.g. Email PERSON re: PROJECT or Search the web re: PROJECT. It makes it easier to make that connection back to the project during Weekly Reviews.

    4. Make it EASY. I find an inverse relationship between the complexity of projects and how I describe next actions. For really complicated stuff that I might be tempted to put off I'll sometimes use, "Open EXCEL re: PROJECT" if the next action is really to start a model or spreadsheet.

    5. Make it EASY. I make sure to include URLs, phone numbers, links to files, etc. in an attempt to reduce the barriers to taking action. I use Outlook and really like the ability to click a hyperlink to a Word document or Excel file. I'll include this stuff in the Note section of a Task.

    6. Make it EASY. For Errands and Calls I don't start with a verb because the context is the verb for me. I structure next actions with a.) who I'm calling or where I'm going and b.) what to do when I either get there or reach them. For example, "Gas station - fill tank & check tire pressure".

    The goal or end game is the ability to scan a large list of next actions and have comfort with the ones you're not doing and also to spot the ones that might have high priority in that moment.

    Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      Lovable lists

      Good answer, Mark! I appreciate the examples too.

      One test I use is to ask myself if I have everything I need to do the next action as it is written on my list. Assuming it's on the appropriate context list, and I'm in that context with plenty of energy, do I have everything I need to take that action (phone number, equipment, reference materials)? If the answer is no, I usually learn how to be more precise in listing next actions. Lovable lists at the runway also come from clear lists at each higher horizon. If I'm clear that the next action moves a project that I've agreed is within my areas of focus in order to achieve a goal that fulfills my purpose, I will want to do that action.

      Comment


      • #4
        Like Mark I've also found it useful to make NAs extremely simple. Just the other day I managed to move a stale project forward to by changing a slightly-complicated-and-vague NA to "Go to kitchen" (a bit like Mark's "Open Excel"), which really was the next physical action. By doing that NA I easily worked out what to do next and got the project ticked off after having it on my project list for many months.

        Comment


        • #5
          Other Lists Too

          Originally posted by John Forrister View Post
          One test I use is to ask myself if I have everything I need to do the next action as it is written on my list.
          Great test question!

          I started doing this with my Someday/Maybe lists too and it really helped. Leveraging David's example, "if this were the only thing you had in the world to do...".

          It's had an odd impact making my very large list of S/Ms (350+) seem not so big.

          Mark

          Comment


          • #6
            I think it ultimately comes down to personal motivation - how important is completing those actions to *me*? We tend to have commitments from multiple sources - relationships, work, personal goals, etc. - with varying levels of personal impact/importance. This sometimes leads to a mix of "should dos," "have to dos," and "want to dos."

            GTD, with Allen's brilliant (IMHO) bottom-up approach leaves pruning the list a bit vague, and (again, IMHO) doesn't address directly linking our higher level goals with actions and projects. I fully believe bottom-up is the only way to successfully get on top for most people these days, but once that happens we're set for the next step of figuring out if the direction our current lists reflect is the one we *want* to be taking. In other words, it sets the stage for a deeper reflection on purpose.

            I think at that point it's easier to get bold and 1) toss the "should dos," 2) minimize the "have to dos," (delegation and renegotiation, anyone?), and 3) maximize the "want to dos!" Applying the Pareto principle starts to come into play at this point as well (Tim Ferriss's book helps, as does his inspiration - the original Koch book).

            Hope that helps.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rangi500 View Post
              Like Mark I've also found it useful to make NAs extremely simple. Just the other day I managed to move a stale project forward to by changing a slightly-complicated-and-vague NA to "Go to kitchen" (a bit like Mark's "Open Excel"), which really was the next physical action. By doing that NA I easily worked out what to do next and got the project ticked off after having it on my project list for many months.
              Yes! I just got a huge amount of work done on a painting design that had been waiting for months by making the next action "take a piece of charcoal to the living room drawing board."

              Do Mi

              Comment

              Working...
              X