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Resistance to Moving Current Proj to Someday Maybe

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  • Resistance to Moving Current Proj to Someday Maybe

    I find that often times I have current projects that I just haven't made movement on that I'd like to move to my Someday, Maybe list. However, I've often got several next actions (and always at least one) on my context lists, so it's not as easy as just re-categorizing the project as S/M -- I also need to sift through my context lists to delete the next actions, so I resist the whole thing. Which means I've got a list of Projects that is not motivating me as it perhaps could if it were cleaner.

    Of course, this begs the question of why the little, doable next actions on these projects aren't being done, but that's a whole 'nother can of worms!

  • #2
    Good topic!

    How many Projects do you have, and how many Next Actions?

    Comment


    • #3
      Are you doing a regular Weekly Review?

      In a well-maintained system, "orphan" tasks like these should be pretty easy to spot. If you're having trouble, it seems to me like there might be some other leak in your system.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        Which Tool?

        You didn't mention which tool you use but removing the next action items should be a less than two minute action.

        Even on a paper planner it shouldn't take very long if you:

        A. Write the thing on Someday/Maybe
        B. Mark it off of Projects list
        C. Scan next actions list and mark them off
        D. Transfer any notes to Action Support

        Easy renegotiation from Projects to Someday/Maybe (and vice versa) is one benefit of having only the next action listed on your action lists.

        Mark

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        • #5
          I didn't really understand "Someday/Maybe" when I first started GTD - I thought it was about "pie in the sky" ideas for future projects. Then I read (probably from one of the DavidCo coaches) that marking something as "sometime/maybe" didn't necessarily mean that it was less important, just that you haven't committed to do anything about it right now.

          Now I have about 60% active projects and 40% someday/maybe and at each weekly review I move some between the two categories. By using someday/maybe I'm actively contracting myself not to do anything on those projects, but by reviewing regularly I know that if something changes, I can easily move something.

          Bryn

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark Jantzen View Post
            You didn't mention which tool you use but removing the next action items should be a less than two minute action.

            Even on a paper planner it shouldn't take very long if you:

            A. Write the thing on Someday/Maybe
            B. Mark it off of Projects list
            C. Scan next actions list and mark them off
            D. Transfer any notes to Action Support

            Easy renegotiation from Projects to Someday/Maybe (and vice versa) is one benefit of having only the next action listed on your action lists.

            Mark
            I have a Palm Treo. So sometimes I'm reviewing lists on my desktop (only at home; can't load it at work), and sometimes on the Palm itself. I'll admit it's easier to review the lists on the desktop -- the constant scrolling on the Palm is a bit of a pain. But I've gone back & forth between paper & digital, and find that I do like digital list management best. (I, too, am a "wannabe" since the mid-90s -- so you might say I ought to know better). I think it's a facet of GTD that you keep uncovering little resistances that you either ignored or just were unaware of as the years go by. At any rate, with projects, I do have "only the next action" listed, but there may be parallel ones.

            As I read everyone's helpful replies, I feel as though I'm just whining, and I should just get on with it! I DO do a regular weekly review (sometimes it's every week and a half...) -- I wonder if there might be larger issues at play; taking on too much, etc. I don't have that many projects / NAs, but the ones I have some pretty big initiatives going on in my life -- wanting to change how things are for the better, and I think perhaps it's those that are nagging at me and making it more difficult for me to handle the runway stuff.

            Thanks for the chance to have an "A-HA" moment on-line! I'm not sure what I'm doing is what I SHOULD be doing, so I think I have to have some higher elevation "discussions" with me, myself & I!

            Comment


            • #7
              You know, this might also be a good time to consider the nuclear option. I do this every once in a while, and it really helps me to get clear. Sort of like rebooting a computer.

              Here's how I tackle it...
              1. Pick a context list (doesn't matter which one; you'll be processing all of them eventually)
              2. For each Next Action...
              2a. Identify the project and locate it in your Project list
              2b. If there is no project (ie., this is a single-step next action), then create one for it.
              2c. Write it into the Notes section of the Project (I'm assuming an electronic system, but it should be easy enough to do this on paper as well)
              2d. Delete the item from your context list
              3. Repeat step 1 until your context lists are empty.
              4. Move all of your projects to Someday/Maybe.

              Now, go do a weekly review.

              From here, there are two schools of thought: (1) It is bad to have too many active projects, because you will feel overwhelmed and will get nothing done; or (2) It is bad to have too few active projects, because you will feel like you have all the time in the world and will procrastinate. Decide which school of thought applies to you, and activate projects accordingly.

              Comment


              • #8
                A little taste of black belt?!

                2b. If there is no project (ie., this is a single-step next action), then create one for it.
                2c. Write it into the Notes section of the Project (I'm assuming an electronic system, but it should be easy enough to do this on paper as well)
                2d. Delete the item from your context list
                3. Repeat step 1 until your context lists are empty.
                4. Move all of your projects to Someday/Maybe.

                Now, go do a weekly review.

                From here, there are two schools of thought: (1) It is bad to have too many active projects, because you will feel overwhelmed and will get nothing done; or (2) It is bad to have too few active projects, because you will feel like you have all the time in the world and will procrastinate. Decide which school of thought applies to you, and activate projects accordingly.[/QUOTE]


                Thanks -- that's helpful. I do think it's good to get back to zero at times. As for 2b above, I think (if I'm not mistaken) that it's perfectly OK to have single next actions that are just what they are, and not tied to a larger outcome? Errands come to mind as an example. Sure, I could tie "pick up dry cleaning" to a larger outcome, but for me that would feel like overkill.

                I have found over the past week or so that (a) I've knocked a bunch of actions (project-related and discrete) off my lists, or decided they just weren't going to happen, and I have moved a TON of things onto Someday, Maybe. Once I bit the bullet it wasn't as much of a pain to review the action lists for related projects as I'd feared. Resistance is a funny thing, isn't it? Coincidentally, I had a week at work where I doubt 5 minutes went by without an interruption -- had about 4 major deadlines due on Wednesday! And, amazingly, what happened was that I got a little taste of what David talks about the "hidden tiger crouching monkey thing..." or however he so amusingly puts it! I was able to stay in the moment much more than usual, and didn't allow myself to freak out about what I wasn't doing. I'd get the interruption, corral what I was working on and put it into my in basket, handled the matter at hand -- I wasn't multi-tasking (which I think is a TOTAL waste of time most of the time), I was focusing clearly on one thing at at time -- just rapidly shifting from one to the next. It was WAY cool!

                So, all in all a productive week of widget cranking during which I really moved stuff forward, learned new things about my recording equipment, impressed the boss (uh-oh! more stuff coming down the pike...!), and wasn't wracked by stress.

                Hope everyone has a great, relaxing, productive Memorial Day Weekend!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
                  As for 2b above, I think (if I'm not mistaken) that it's perfectly OK to have single next actions that are just what they are, and not tied to a larger outcome? Errands come to mind as an example. Sure, I could tie "pick up dry cleaning" to a larger outcome, but for me that would feel like overkill.
                  You are absolutely correct about this.

                  My only goal in having you write the "single next action" items on your project list was so that you could be sure that 100% of your commitments were in one place before you move everything into someday/maybe. Purely a bookkeeping step. It was certainly not intended to introduce all the overhead of defining successful outcomes, etc.

                  Glad to hear your week came together.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    PS...

                    Also, I find that sometimes, when I need to go this route, many of those "single next action" items are projects in disguise. Somehow, the extra step of writing a project for each of those seems to help me ferret those out.

                    Comment

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