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  • Commitments vs. "want to do"

    Hi there.

    I'm wondering if anyone has encountered the same problem as I have when deciding between placing actions and projects in different contexts and using the someday/maybe list.

    Here is a sample from my current @mac context:

    1 webresearch tax rules about xxxx
    2 webresearch PDF-converter for Nokia N95
    3 write agenda for meeting with xxxx next week
    4 brainstorm ideas for networking opportunities in my field

    The list is much longer, but there's a common difference between actions that are illustrated very well in the above list; #1 and #3 are actions, I'm 100% committed to do. #4 is something I really would like to do, but it's not necessary that I do it now, or tomorrow or next week. I'm not 100% committed to do it, it's more a "would be nice to do, when I have the time"-action. #3 is purely a leisure activity for me, being the cell phone nerd I am.

    But - the actions are all in the same list, and I don't really feel they should go on the someday/maybe list, as they are actions I want to focus on. But still there is this nagging feeling of different levels of commitment.

    My question is: how do you GTD'ers handle these "not 100% committed to doing, but still not feeling it's for the someday/maybe list"-type of actions/projects?

    It's seems I'm struggling with my internal commitments - the difference between "will do" and "would like to do". Currently, I'm skimming my next action list for important things to do. While also feeling, that if these "would-like-to-do"-items is on my NA list, then a lot of other stuff from my someday/maybe list should also go there. Or maybe these items should be on my someday/maybe list after all?

    Would a @mac leisure time context work?

    Inputs?

  • #2
    Start with Someday/Maybe?

    I don't think there's a right or wrong answer here.

    Personally I like to lean heavily on Someday/Maybe (S/M). Unless I'm committed to doing something it goes onto S/M. But you have to review this list regularly just like your other lists.

    I find due dates helpful also. I put a lot of concerts on S/M and due dates help me see them coming down the road.

    A benefit of this hard edge is I don't find myself thinking too much during the DO phase. Since I've already committed to the things on my action lists the one I choose to act on really doesn't matter that much.

    Good luck!
    Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      In my experience, there's no such thing as "will do" and "would like to do" on next action lists; you're either committed to doing something or you're not. As far as each action having a different level of commitment, there are, of course, those actions that have a greater priority than others; priority doesn't determine if you'll do something, but when.

      If there's something you must do, but other tasks have taken priority, kick the less important items into another part of your system. Remember, you're keeping a trusted system so that things surface at the right time. If you're not certain you want to commit to a project, put a reminder in your tickler file to reevaluate later. If it can wait until your next review, put in on your someday/maybe list. Trust that your system will remind you when to make these less important tasks a priority again. If you keep them on your action lists, you'll just end up doing work you haven't wholly committed yourself to doing. That could be as futile as jumping into a project without a proper plan of action. It's better to focus your attention on the things that you've determined are of immediate concern.

      I don't know that I'd add more contexts to your system to handle these items, it seems like an unnecessary level of complexity.

      Comment


      • #4
        Which one would I like to do first?

        I too have such actions on my action lists. I do keep such actions there, and pick them up when I see that other things can wait (or when I don't feel like doing anything else). But I also use the someday/maybe list for such items, and try not to clutter the action lists too much with these. During the weekly review, I may bring up a couple of such items to action lists if the earlier ones are done or removed for some reason. So one choice that is to be made during weekly review is that out of these things that I would *like* to do, which one I would like to do first.

        Abhay

        Comment


        • #5
          1. Define the Outcome and Vision to make them more "want to do now". Actually that would move the internal priority of the project higher for you and you'd want to do it more;

          2. When you open the list, scan it and nothing goes bold for you - it means all of them are equal priority for you - so start doing one by one from the top of the list.

          PS Personally I prefer to do all one by one from the top without scanning. If that's on my list it doesn't matter if I need to do it or I want to do it. I just have to do it to move further.

          Regards,
          Eugene.

          Comment


          • #6
            No difference

            I side with Stew, in GTD there is no "would like to do" besides Someday/Maybe. Everything on your Next Actions lists is a "will do", this is what we expect to be the outcome of the GTD steps "process" and "organize".

            Although it is nice to love what you're doing, you're not required to love any task just because you need to complete it.
            Last edited by Rolf F. Katzenberger; 04-09-2008, 05:28 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              I use two tricks to achieve what you are seeking:

              1) I've separated the S/M list into F and M.

              * F or Future includes things I definately want to do but not in the next week or two.
              *M or Maybe includes things that I MAYBE want to look into.

              2) I use the DueDate function in Outlook to sort my F list.

              In this way, my @ lists (@c, @h, @out) contain only current items I am dedicated to doing in the next week (or two). These are updated and added to from the F list during the weekly review.

              At the weekly review, I browse through the F list for items coming up in the next couple of weeks and decide whether I want to upgrade them to an @-context category (definately want to do) or defer them down the road, with a new due date.

              I examine the M-Maybe list once every few months (Quarterly review?) to see if any items need to be upgraded into the F list.

              This keeps my @-context lists minimal (10-15items max?) with items I am determined I want to tackle within the next 1 week (max 2). Thus, they are doable and inviting to work on.

              An example:
              My wive's birthday is coming up in September. I don't want to do anything about it now because it's too early. But I want to be reminded of it by end of August to start looking for a present and card.

              For now it's in my F list with a Due Date of 25/8/2008.

              During my WR of that week, actionable items will be created for:
              @out - buy card for wife
              @out - browse XYZ store for gift

              The WR brings all this together.

              Hope this helps,

              L
              Last edited by Loukas; 08-07-2008, 10:13 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Things that would blow up vs those that won't

                Hi,
                I've recently had a hard think about what "kabell" wrote about. I have now restructured my lists into "projects" and "play projects" and I have "play next actions" separate from real "projects'" next actions. The real projects are the things that would cause problems if I don't move on them, like renewing my passport or filing tax returns. It can also be things I have promissed other people, like projects I share with my husband. Work projects are more straight-forward, and I only have current projects and one someday maybe list for work.
                Play projects and play next actions are things that I'm currently engaged in, but for my own pleasure, and if they end up on the shelf indefinitely, nothing will blow up. This allows me to easily determine that I've done everything I "have to do" and can now go "play". I also created a someday maybe "weekend projects", which is different from "someday maybe internet browsing". And some others, but I think you get the idea.

                Best wishes,
                Christina

                Comment


                • #9
                  Remember the universal definition of work

                  Originally posted by ChristinaSkaskiw View Post
                  Hi,
                  I have now restructured my lists into "projects" and "play projects" and I have "play next actions" separate from real "projects'" next actions.
                  "Work is anything that you want to get done that's not done." --David Allen

                  There is no distinction between personal or professional, business or pleasure in GTD. Restructuring a corporate department and taking a Carribean cruise are both considered work and need to be managed in the same way.

                  I caution you against separating your lists out like this because it might overcomplicate your system. All you need is the outcome you've committed to on your Projects list and the next physical action on the appropriate action list. If you've not truly committed to finishing a "play" project, put it on Someday/Maybe. Don't concern yourself with how big that list gets. It's the biggest list in my system (probably most others, too).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "Whether something will blow up" is a great way to determine priority, but it's not such a great way to define commitment. In fact, I think letting "things that will blow up" define your commitments is a terrible way to live.

                    If you won't commit to your own "play" time, how will you ever get anyone else to respect it?

                    Katherine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kabell View Post
                      My question is: how do you GTD'ers handle these "not 100% committed to doing, but still not feeling it's for the someday/maybe list"-type of actions/projects?

                      It's seems I'm struggling with my internal commitments - the difference between "will do" and "would like to do". Currently, I'm skimming my next action list for important things to do. While also feeling, that if these "would-like-to-do"-items is on my NA list, then a lot of other stuff from my someday/maybe list should also go there. Or maybe these items should be on my someday/maybe list after all?

                      Would a @mac leisure time context work?
                      IMHO adding a new context may not solve your someday/maybe vs. next action list concerns. It may just add a whole new level of confusion when scanning your next action lists, something that quite a few have posted about. You may be better off creating a 'mac leisure time" someday/maybe list and then putting in a next action "scan mac leisure time someday/maybe list".

                      As an example, initially I put all the reading I should and would like to do on my @read context list. It became endless - there's so much I want to and should read. Instead, I now have several different s/m lists, one of which is s/m reading etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ellobogrande View Post
                        I caution you against separating your lists out like this because it might overcomplicate your system. All you need is the outcome you've committed to on your Projects list and the next physical action on the appropriate action list. If you've not truly committed to finishing a "play" project, put it on Someday/Maybe. Don't concern yourself with how big that list gets. It's the biggest list in my system (probably most others, too).
                        I agree with ellobogrande's and sdann's comments, and echo their concerns.

                        To give you an idea of the scale of Projects compared to Someday/Maybes, here were my list counts at the beginning of this week:

                        11 Projects
                        16 Next Actions
                        177 Someday/Maybes

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Brent View Post
                          here were my list counts at the beginning of this week:

                          11 Projects
                          16 Next Actions
                          177 Someday/Maybes
                          I find this fascinating. I am just finishing my weekly review now so I am updating my TaDa list (what I got done) and my current active lists for next week-10 days.

                          Last week I had
                          34 projects
                          Somewhere between 70-90 Next Actions (I don't always keep the historical record of what I finished but I can document 70 completed next actions and I know I did more)
                          545 Someday/Maybes

                          After this review my scheduled and active lists are:

                          58 Projects
                          So far have 83 next actions on my list but I'm not done. I'm taking a break before I finish my project reviews.
                          something over 500 Someday/Maybes (final count will depend on what projects move back to active status as I finish my review.)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the numbers!

                            I "only" had 11 Projects this week because if I had 58 Projects, the 58th would never get done. But that's just me.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brent View Post
                              if I had 58 Projects, the 58th would never get done.
                              Well here it is Monday and yesterday I managed to get 8 projects moved along and so far this am have finished the NA's for 3 more. But I ended up with a current list of 124 next actions for this week. Tomorrow should be a big day, There are a bunch of scheduled things that need to get done to move about 20 more projects along.

                              I use a very strict definition of project, anything that takes more than one step to do. A next action is the smallest unit of thing that can be done to move a project forward.

                              A lot of my initial next actions when I started GTD were actually mini-projects but I think I am finally getting them down to real next actions.

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