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where/when/how to list POSSIBLE actions

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  • where/when/how to list POSSIBLE actions

    If an Active Project is at a stage in which there are several or many independent (non-sequential) actions, where, when, how do you list all of these so you can readily see them? I would like to be able to easily refer to a list of these (and their related specifications) when I am in various contexts where I am unlikely to have project support materials with me. Using plain Palm, where would you put this information? I am thinking that maybe at time of weekly review, I might make a brief list of actions and just put them in @lists under the project name.

    Another version of the same question is that given that the general GTD idea is to have on an n/a list only a true n/a, how do you cue yourself to do things that would be really helpful to do when you are in a certain context or at a certain time even although they are not n/a? For example, your n/a for a certain project involves picking up a book from a book store. Another project will also require securing a book but you are many actions away from this. In addition, a third project will require buying a CD as a gift that could be purchased at the book store, but you are not up to that as a n/a yet either. Do you visually scan project outlines for this type of thing at weekly review and list these somehwere? I am thinking that maybe I should put these in appropriate context lists but give them a lower level priority than true n/as. Again, I am talking about using plan vanilla Palm for this.

    How might this be handled with paper?

    If the above is mentioned somewhere, please direct me.

  • #2
    They are all Next actions!

    Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
    If an Active Project is at a stage in which there are several or many independent (non-sequential) actions, where, when, how do you list all of these so you can readily see them? I would like to be able to easily refer to a list of these (and their related specifications) when I am in various contexts where I am unlikely to have project support materials with me. Using plain Palm, where would you put this information? I am thinking that maybe at time of weekly review, I might make a brief list of actions and just put them in @lists under the project name.

    Another version of the same question is that given that the general GTD idea is to have on an n/a list only a true n/a, how do you cue yourself to do things that would be really helpful to do when you are in a certain context or at a certain time even although they are not n/a? For example, your n/a for a certain project involves picking up a book from a book store. Another project will also require securing a book but you are many actions away from this. In addition, a third project will require buying a CD as a gift that could be purchased at the book store, but you are not up to that as a n/a yet either. Do you visually scan project outlines for this type of thing at weekly review and list these somehwere? I am thinking that maybe I should put these in appropriate context lists but give them a lower level priority than true n/as. Again, I am talking about using plan vanilla Palm for this.

    How might this be handled with paper?

    If the above is mentioned somewhere, please direct me.
    I think the examples that you gave are all Next Actions, if they don't depend upon other actions! You may as well put them in your next actions lists!

    Comment


    • #3
      Not necessarily one NA per project

      Additionally, IMHO there is no restriction of only one NA per project. All actions that can be started now (given the context, etc, of course) are next actions.

      Comment


      • #4
        So you did a poor Weekly Review or project planning job.

        Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
        Another version of the same question is that given that the general GTD idea is to have on an n/a list only a true n/a, how do you cue yourself to do things that would be really helpful to do when you are in a certain context or at a certain time even although they are not n/a? For example, your n/a for a certain project involves picking up a book from a book store. Another project will also require securing a book but you are many actions away from this. In addition, a third project will require buying a CD as a gift that could be purchased at the book store, but you are not up to that as a n/a yet either.
        So you did a poor Weekly Review or project planning job.

        What does it mean "Another project will also require securing a book but you are many actions away from this." Does "securing a book" depend on these actions? If not it is Next Action. The same for "buying a CD".

        Comment


        • #5
          yes, planning could be better and review as well...

          but I can't quite figure out where to list the many actions that do not need to be done in a sequence so that I can see them to choose on the fly and not encumber m true n/a list and also when to collect the actions that are pretty far down the line.

          This is the book example:

          Project 1=New School Building Planning: Desired outcome: Participate in eco-charette on Feb 10th by attending worjshop and being prepared in advance.

          Actions

          clear schedule for Feb 1Oth-done

          order book by leaders (done)

          await arrival notification(done)


          pick up book by February 5th -n/a review calendar to identify possible times to make errand of 2 hours, not on usual routes (check lists for other errands in this neighborhood)

          read book (2 chapters a day) and take notes (keep book near reading chair with notebook) (ind)

          find examples of similar projects -library and internet, copy or download, make notes (ind)

          review history of site (ind)


          bring notebook, extra mechanical pencils and 2 pairs of glasses (calendar
          entry for Feb 4th).



          Project2 = Kitchen Plan: By Feb 15th have 1 to 6 plans sketched with dimensions and pictures, and list of pros and cons.

          pick up copies of exisiting plans (indep)

          find way to print whole building plan from CAD file (indep)-call, e-mail, errand

          get Bungalow Kitchen and browse similar in bookstore (indep)-errand

          locate material pertaining to common kitchen dimensions (indep)

          locate tracing paper- if not in supplies, where to buy roll?) (indep)

          review entire box of support material -schedule 2 to 4 hours and make sure large table is clear, making notes

          browse home buidling stores and recycling stores as opportunity arises for discounted materials (indep)

          find out if the exisiting paneling can be re-sued and worth it (indep)



          rest to planned

          Project 3=Lynn's birthday: Have gift, card, and dessert on March 11th.

          check card file, if no good card, keep eye out for appropriate cartoon to make card

          pick up Weird Al CD at bookstore (errand)

          identify 2 or 3 edible lo-cal desserts-choose according to ingredient cost and availability at store - plan shopping and cooking and clean up time

          rest to be planned

          Any thoughts? Am I just running myself in a circle?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jamie Elis View Post
            I can't quite figure out where to list the many actions that do not need to be done in a sequence so that I can see them to choose on the fly and not encumber my true n/a list and also when to collect the actions that are pretty far down the line.
            If you can truly work on them, put them on your Next Action context lists.

            What's your definition of a "true" N/A list?

            Actions "pretty far down the line" should either not be written down (because some of them will be overtaken by events by the time you get that far down the line) or go in your project support material so you can pull them out when you need them.

            Comment


            • #7
              This is the problem of the action that isn't next...

              By true next action, I mean something that you can do in the right context (assuming you make that happen) and must do before some other actions can be done on an active project.

              By independent actions I mean other actions on an active project that need to be done but not in a certain order (but sometimes after or before certain related actions).

              So, I think my questions come down to two questions:

              How and when to make and where to keep lists of independent actions for when you will not have your project materials at hand and you do want to avoid encumbering your next action list with so many actions that are not really next. How do you keep these items at the ready so you find then when you need it, in the context where you can do them?

              How to identify, plan for, and retreive fairly far down-the -line actions in contexts, especially contexts that require a lot of planning/resources to be in (such as driving, meeting a person who is hard to schedule with).

              So back to the example, even although I won't need that CD for a month, it is a heck of a drive to get it, and if I don't make a note about getting the CD from the book store when I have to go for something else, and rand if I don't retrieve that note at the right time, I will have to make a separate trip for it at a future point.

              I won't have made the note, if I have not outlined most of the project actions to that point.

              I won't see the note, or know to look for it, unless I have a system or practice for finding it.

              If I don't outline probable actions pretty far down the line to the desired end point, I cannot budget my time and money, have enough lead time to contact people, or order supplies, see collisions and conflicts regarding space, time, and people, etc. In the process of doing this, I see things that need to be added to context lists but they are not truly "next". So, where di I put them?

              Comment


              • #8
                I see 4 scenarios:

                1) If you know you want to do it and you can do it now, then put it in your NA list.

                2) If you know you want to do it and you can't do it now, then put it in your Project support material for that project.

                3) If you don't know whether you want to do it and you can do it now, then put it in your Project support material for that project, and create a NA to decide whether you want to do it.

                4) If you don't know whether you want to do it and you can't do it now, then put it in your Prject support material for that project.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agreed with dhlesq.

                  Remember, you'll be reviewing your lists every week, and you'll have all your project support materials with you at that time. If you need to plan ahead, you can do the planning, and those plans will be available during your Weekly Review to integrate into your NA lists.

                  Also, you may want to look into use of the tickler. That would be a perfect place to stick a reminder for your CD example, along with any action steps you need to take at that time.

                  That said, and I have a tendency to read too much into things, I wonder if you aren't trying to overplan a bit. I find, when I try to plan things in detail a month or two out, by the time a month or two passes my plans are completely out-of-date because of what's happened in the intervening time.

                  It could be that, when you find yourself trying to plan out well in advance, that's a sign that you should let it go, and react to whatever comes up.

                  But, again, I may just be reading too much into the tea leaves. Does that help at all?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    all of the comments help! thank you!

                    I agree about the risks of overplanning but I find that I need to have an outline or there is a lot of backtracking and things pile up and hit me unexpected, especially for events with a known date or time frame. Also due to distances in a suburban environment and extensive family responsibilities, I have to make sure a lot of things get done when I can do them easily othey become a crisis.

                    Comment

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