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  • How can I track what next action a completed action triggers?

    Ok, here is a situation that I’m confused on how to handle using GTD: I had an action to do “email HR to change my tax withholdings”. I went to do this and realized the old HR guy is no longer with the company and I didn’t know who to email with this action. I decided to email someone else in the company to find out the email address of the new HR person. So now I have a new action “email Brian to get new HR’s email address”. So I email Brian and then days latter I get an email from him saying just hbecker@nextbigidea.com – apparently he didn’t reply to my email and he didn’t include a subject line.

    How do I know what next action I can now do is response to having this information? This sort of issue occurs all the time where I get information back that lacks context and then I have to rack my brains to remember what it pertains to and what action can now be triggered in response. How can I handle this?

    Thanks, Mischa

  • #2
    Mischa,
    I've run across this problem many times. Many of my actions are delegated to others, so sometimes when I get something back, I need to remind myself of what to do next. I find it helps to note this information on my @waiting for list. For example, you might put "Waiting on Brian for new HR address. Once received, email HR."

    I think we've both had the problem of losing the context of information we're tracking. To counteract this, I try to note the context within my lists to serve as a reminder later on. It might seem like a little bit extra, but it saves having to go back to myproject plans and hope the context is there. It's just a bit of "what's the next action" advanced planning.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      Yea, that does help. However I think I am having a more systematic problem with GTD: bottom up organization.

      In my work as a requirements analyst I often have many layers of dependences going on. To take a more complex example I may have a project: “Write the requirements documents for v 2.1 of the application” however, to do that I have another sub-project “determine the data available to the 2.1 application” which in turn has another sub-project “get and process the Data Requirements from v2.0 and determine deltas” which finally may be composed of actions like “call David to set up meeting to determine 2.1 data deltas from 2.0” and “email Sandy to get 2.1 Data Requirements”. Of course each branch of this tree has several other sub-projects and actions.

      Currently, I will track this all using a fishbone diagram which is a very top-down style of tracking.

      I want to have a “mind like water” where I can just focus on the task at hand but how to I keep track of and mine for actions my projects using GTD using just a bottom up perspective?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by bigmish View Post
        Currently, I will track this all using a fishbone diagram which is a very top-down style of tracking.

        I want to have a “mind like water” where I can just focus on the task at hand but how to I keep track of and mine for actions my projects using GTD using just a bottom up perspective?
        Why should you try? GTD does not suggest that you limit yourself to a bottom up perspective. (See Chapter 3 in the GTD book for more on project planning.) As you are discovering, that approach simply doesn't make sense for large, complex projects.

        In GTD terms, everything outside of the current NA belongs in the project support materials. Those support materials can be as detailed and top down as needed.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          In GTD terms, everything outside of the current NA belongs in the project support materials. Those support materials can be as detailed and top down as needed.
          Katherine
          So if I kept my fishbone would I then review that (with the rest of the regular GTD docuemnts, inbox, etc.) in my weekly review and check each node for any actions for the next week?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by bigmish View Post
            So if I kept my fishbone would I then review that (with the rest of the regular GTD docuemnts, inbox, etc.) in my weekly review and check each node for any actions for the next week?
            Sure. You'd essentially replace (or supplement) the Project list with one (or more) such diagrams.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              right, I'll try that.

              Thanks to you both!

              Comment

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