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Next Action Help

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  • Next Action Help

    So I'm a'collecting, and collecting, and I have my action list already divided into categories (calls, erands, etc...)

    And now I don't know what to do with them; I'm not suppose to organize them by priority, just next action.

    So do I have a next action for each category?

    and does anyone organize action by day/time as when to do them?

    What should I do?

    Jeff

  • #2
    I think you may be a bit confused!

    You should have a whole bunch of Projects (such as "Clean the house")

    You should have several Context lists. Each Project should have (at least) one Next Action on one of those Context lists somewhere. So, on your "@Home" list, you may have an Action "Dust dining room table."

    I don't organize by date and time, unless there's a specific date and time on which the Action has to be done, in which case it goes on my Calendar instead of a Context list.

    Does that answer your questions? Maybe I'm unclear, or didn't understand your questions.

    Comment


    • #3
      Still confused.

      These are not projects, they are one action things, put into an action category, such as calls, etc...

      The question is... what is I have 5 actions, not related, under @calls, and 4 under @work, etc... Which do I do 1st? Di I just pick one item from each action category?

      I have a thought, and if it's only one action, not a project of many actions, I put it into the appropriate category.

      So the bottom line is that I have 13 "@" categories, all with many actions, do I pick one from each and do it?

      thanks Jeff

      Comment


      • #4
        Use your intuition.

        According to David Allen the judgement what to do next is intuition-based. So - if your intuition does not tell you what to do - just do the first thing from the first list. Or throw a dice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Categories are contexts

          Originally posted by jaludwick View Post
          So the bottom line is that I have 13 "@" categories, all with many actions, do I pick one from each and do it?
          Hi Jeff,

          actually, your categories should equate to contexts, that is: intersections of places, times, or resources that occur repeatedly in your life and allow for some tasks to get done whenever you're "in" the respective context.

          If you're able, in theory, to pick any next action right now from any of your 13 lists, then you're not listing next actions by contexts, but rather according to some other criteria.

          I suggest that you review your categories and reshape your system so that you have lists that you can pull out in the respective context.

          Recently, I've blogged about this in What is (not) a GTD context?, maybe this helps.

          Rolf

          Comment


          • #6
            The idea of grouping things in context is so that once you have yourself mentally and physically in that context and are committed to doing one item, it should be easier to continue knocking out items on that same list for some time rather than to change contexts to do something else.

            Of course if the situation is different and you know you have pressing items on other lists, your choices of what to do next would be different.

            Comment


            • #7
              The whole point of context lists is to group actions requiring similar resources together. So it might be more effective to do all your @call or @email actions at once before going on to another list.

              It doesn't matter (to GTD) which of the items on any particular context list get done first. If an item doesn't need to be done at all, it should be on a Someday/Maybe list or dropped altogether. If an item is an urgent priority that has to be done today, it should be on your calendar. In between, it's really up to you.

              Good luck!

              Katherine

              Comment


              • #8
                Na

                Great advice.

                So does anyone organize there day/week by these context areas/categories.

                ... say on Monday from 2-3:00, I work on Marketing categorie, etc...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jaludwick View Post
                  Great advice.

                  So does anyone organize there day/week by these context areas/categories.

                  ... say on Monday from 2-3:00, I work on Marketing categorie, etc...
                  Contexts and categories are not the same. A category like "marketing" has no meaning in my system. Contexts, however, are critical and yes, I plan my week around them.

                  The most obvious example: I call people in different time zones. I try to group all my calls in the morning, since that's when most of the people I call are more likely to be in. For the same reason, I try to group my high focus work in the afternoon, since half the country is gone for the day and unlikely to call me.

                  Katherine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jaludwick View Post
                    Great advice.

                    So does anyone organize there day/week by these context areas/categories.

                    ... say on Monday from 2-3:00, I work on Marketing categorie, etc...
                    If I've got a block on time in my calendar, then I reckon I've got two options

                    1) work from a context list - like doing my phone calls

                    2) tackle items from a specific category/area of responsibility. To give an example, I'm a paediatrician, and one of my areas of responsibility is immunisation, for which I currently have about 10 projects (not including someday/maybe), and a number of single NAs not attached to projects. When I'm in my office, I can work from a number of contexts e.g. @phone, @computer, @desk, so I will declare that block of time "Immunisation", and spend the whole period working through the stuff in the Immunisation category. I may stick with one of two projects and get them as far as I can, or knock off a set of immunisation phone calls or e-mails.

                    I'd say either pick a project or two, or choose an @context using only NAs from that category. The advantage, which is something I was once taught on a management course, is that once your brain is thinking about one particular area of work, it's more efficient to keep thinking about it rather than jumping from one area to another.

                    Ruth

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have categories as well as contexts, so that I'm certain I work on marketing & sales and general administrative things, as well as my regular business categories. If I could, I would stay away from those two. I try to set blocks of time to do either a context list or a category, but in the end I let the process flow. For example, If i'm in an administrative zone, I'll take full advantage of it and go through my contexts picking admin stuff. For the most part, I do try to work on things during particular times. For example, @phone are done during my morning hours.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've begun separating my Projects list into two sections:

                        Creative Projects
                        Everything Else

                        The creative work is fun and important, but I often ignore it in favor of more immediate/easier little mundane tasks.

                        Comment

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