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How do you handle THESE items?

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  • How do you handle THESE items?

    I love the 2 minute rule BUT there are some items that might be 2 minutes but you CANT do now- do you put these on a 2 minute action list somewhere?

    Also what do you do with action items that are NOT linked to a project but that will take longer than a few minutes to do? Action items without a 'home' so to speak?

    For instance- going to the store to purchase something, taking the laundry to the dry cleaners- simple actions that really are only ONE action but clearly aren't a project and won't take just a few minutes?

  • #2
    Originally posted by michaela View Post
    I love the 2 minute rule BUT there are some items that might be 2 minutes but you CANT do now- do you put these on a 2 minute action list somewhere?
    Nope, those go on your Next Actions list like anything else.

    Also what do you do with action items that are NOT linked to a project but that will take longer than a few minutes to do? Action items without a 'home' so to speak?
    Yes, I put that on my NA list with no associated Project.

    That said, "orphan" NAs are often really part of a larger Project that I just haven't identified yet. So I watch for that.

    Make sure you review your Next Actions list during your Weekly Review, to ensure none of those little Actions are actually hiding Projects that you haven't identified yet.

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    • #3
      Ok so really you just keep ONE next actions list and just tag it if it's part of a bigger project. I guess I can see by looking which ones are 2 minute deferred actions.

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      • #4
        It sounds like you're using hierarchical, nested lists for your projects and actions, which would make next actions without an associated project look like they're orphaned. The simple answer is: use separate, flat lists, and avoid linking actions and projects. If you're looking a flat list of next actions, there's no difference between the ones that belong to a project and the ones that don't.

        We're suggesting the opposite of your last post. Instead of having one next actions list, have one project list and several next actions lists organized by context. Context lists are optional, but most people find that they simplify list management rather than complicate it.

        Try searching the form with keywords like "link," "projects" and "actions" to bring up a torrent of past discussion about the issues associated with linking, or see my post, Linking Actions to Project: The Big GTD Controversy.

        When using the Two Minute Rule, sometimes you'll make a bad call and misgauge how long an action actually takes. There's an art and a learning curve to using it effectively. But my rule is that if the word "might" pops into my head when answering the question, "Will this take less than two minutes?", I interpret that as "no" and write it down as a next action.

        Well, I used to. I work from home now, so my Two Minute Rule is pretty elastic, since I don't have to contend with the multiple inputs and interruptions of office work. In general, the busier you are, the better it is to use to Two Minute Rule literally (or an even briefer version, like the 30 Second Rule, you're really under the gun). In my context, I usually just ask, "Will this only take a few minutes?"

        According to Dean Acheson, the originator of the Two Minute Rule, the original consulting question was, "Is this a short action?" As he noticed that his clients found this question equivocally subjective (what is "short"?), he reified to two minutes.
        Last edited by Andre Kibbe; 09-26-2008, 10:45 AM.

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        • #5
          It's common to have many NA's that aren't associated with a project.

          I'll agree that the key to finding a home for them is the context approach.
          Using your examples - I'd store both of those under @Errands
          @Errands
          Grocery Store
          dishsoap
          ice cream
          Dry Cleaners
          dropoff laundry (this turns into Pickup Laundry as soon as you Dropoff..unless you prefer to put it on your Calendar for a specific day)

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          • #6
            Oh I get it! Thanks this makes sense

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Andre Kibbe View Post
              It sounds like you're using hierarchical, nested lists for your projects and actions, which would make next actions without an associated project look like they're orphaned.
              For what its worth, I use a hierarchical list manager (lifebalance), but have a general catch all area's for work and home where I stick next actions that are not part of a larger project, so "drop off dry cleaning" would go under "stay organized at home".

              - Don

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              • #8
                I downloaded a program called Actionistic which syncs to my IPOD which may help with some of this. It is set up for GTD and lets you create contexts projects and next actions. Now I have to decide if it's doubling my efforts to write things on an actual action list AND on my computer so I can see them on my ipod. I don't have a blackberry so I can't just write directly to my electronic collection vehicle (i.e. palm etc) Anyone have an inexpensive electronic list manager that might sync to an ipod ( I like that because it also syncs to I Cal as I"m on a mac)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by michaela View Post
                  Now I have to decide if it's doubling my efforts to write things on an actual action list AND on my computer so I can see them on my ipod.
                  Yes, it is.

                  YMMV, but in my experience any system that requires duplicate entries is unsustainable. Unless the synchronization is automatic, either you'll abandon one system in favor of the other, or you won't be able to trust either.

                  Katherine

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