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  • Weekly Review & Pre-Defined Work

    I have all my lists set up and my calendar only includes date/time specific appointments. If that is all that is on my calendar, how do you ensure that you have time blocked out for working on project action items? Do you schedule that on your calendar during the weekly review? David's book references pre-defined work. When is pre-defined work identified and how do you ensure that you will have the block of time you need to keep priorities moving forward? My fear is that if you don't schedule an appointment with yourself, that that time will get sucked up by less important matters. How are others dealing with this?
    Thanks,
    debbieg

  • #2
    If you need to schedule an appointment with yourself, by all means do so. Just be sure to honor the commitment.

    Pre-defined work is "defined" as soon as you write an item on your NA and/or project list.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Any free time you have is now available for next action work. Next action work should be your default behavior. It's what you do when you're not scheduled.

      Almost by definition, you'll immediately start work on the most important project. That's why you scan your Next Actions list before you start work.

      Does that make sense?

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      • #4
        Just use the unblocked time!

        Originally posted by debbieg View Post
        I have all my lists set up and my calendar only includes date/time specific appointments. If that is all that is on my calendar, how do you ensure that you have time blocked out for working on project action items? Do you schedule that on your calendar during the weekly review?
        You do not need to block time to do your Next Actions. Just use the unblocked time!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by debbieg View Post
          My fear is that if you don't schedule an appointment with yourself, that that time will get sucked up by less important matters. How are others dealing with this?
          Debbie,

          as others have said: use your unscheduled time to work on next actions. Scheduling basically just means that you decide what you'll do, during a given day. Whether the scheduled work still has a high priority, whether you'll have the energy to do it, ... - who knows in advance?

          You'll make better assessments of these issues the closer the targeted day is. Not scheduling is basically just an extreme form of scheduling, seen this way. Try scheduling the evening before, then in the morning of every day, then not at all - this might help you feel more comfortable with "not scheduling".

          Rolf

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          • #6
            It's getting clearer...

            so let me check for understanding...

            Let's say I have a long list of projects. Some have major project plans and some are as simple as 2 steps. During the weekly review, I scan this my project list and place the next action for every item on my project list into the appropriate next action list (calls, @computer, errands, waiting for reply, etc)? Now on Monday I review all my next action lists to decide what I'm going to focus on. This means I would have to review all the next action lists (calls, @ computer, etc) each time I'm ready to work on my next actions because the next steps for a project could be on any of those lists, yes?

            Thanks.
            debbieg

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            • #7
              You don't need to review all your next actions every time. Only those who match your current context. There is no reason to review an @home list for @work projects, etc.

              One of the big advantages of the GTD system is that during your weekly review you set everything and pre-define the work you will do. You decide what is important during your weekly review. Then when you are in the doing mode you only work on what is part of that context. No matter what you are doing, if you are working off of your lists, you are making measurable progress on the projects you already decided were important.

              -nj

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              • #8
                Originally posted by debbieg View Post
                During the weekly review, I scan my project list and place the next action for every item on my project list into the appropriate next action list (calls, @computer, errands, waiting for reply, etc)?
                Exactly right!

                Now on Monday I review all my next action lists to decide what I'm going to focus on.
                Not quite. Your Next Action lists should be broken down by context. So, say, you have one NA list for home-based work, one for errands, one for phone calls, and maybe even one for home-but-in-the-garden. You only scan the NA list for the particular context.

                So, if you have 50 projects and 5 NA lists, you'll only have an average of 10 items to review when in any context.

                (That said, having lots of projects may be a sign that you're overcommitted. Are you actually making progress on all of them every week?)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  (That said, having lots of projects may be a sign that you're overcommitted. Are you actually making progress on all of them every week?)
                  I know this was a parenthetical note, but I've found this to really be a quite important concept. One of the things I tend to do during my Weekly Review is to scan my project list for projects which:
                  • Do not have a Next Action in the @Waiting context, AND
                  • Do not have a Next Action in one of my other contexts

                  When I find these, I do one of two things: Define a Next Action someplace, or move the project to my Someday/Maybe list. If I'm not waiting for someone else to move on it, and I'm not myself moving on it, then in my view it doesn't belong on my projects list.

                  Granted, I do the reverse review, as well, placing things I'm now ready to move on back onto my projects list. But I've found that aggressive pruning of my project list to only include those projects which are actively moving makes my workweek more manageable and lowers my stress level.

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                  • #10
                    wordsofwonder: Yes.

                    I also look for Projects and Next Actions that have been on my list, unchanged, for a week or two. That's a signal to either change the NA or push the Project to Someday/Maybe.

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