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Projects, Next actions, weekly reviews

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  • Projects, Next actions, weekly reviews

    Say you have a project with a sequence of actions 1 then 2 then 3.

    You do your weekly review, well, weekly.

    1. is your *next* action, so you put it in a next action list.

    You complete 1. but have no trigger to do 2. until after your weekly review. So the project is stalled for the remainder of the week (unless your unconscious triggers you -- but that misses the point of GTD).

    So you only get triggered to do one next action per week on this project -- and the project would implicitly take you at least three weeks to complete...

    Maybe I'm missing the GTD zen on this one -- how do you folks avoid this problem?

    Thanks,
    Bob

  • #2
    re: Dependent Actions

    With respect to projects, the minimum requirement is to put the very next, kickstart action on your action list (i.e. something you can do now). The maximal limit is to put down every action from your project that can be acted on now. People vary in how many next actions they feel comfortable with on their next actions list. You need to keep as many on your list as you can without that list becoming so large that you go numb to it and avoid it.

    There are three types of project categories:
    Mission-Critical
    Key-Milestones
    Deliverables

    These three categories correspond to the three ways of organizing project components:
    (1) By Priority - Mission-Critical
    (2) By Sequence - Key-Milestones
    (3) By Degree - Deliverables

    Category (3) means sorted to the degree necessary - however organized you need the components to be. The only project components that require 'dependency' (i.e. one action can't be done until the other is done first) is category (2).

    If you have an software program like Ready-Set-Do!, Omnifocus, or ThinkingRock, that does it for you, that's the way to go. If you use a paper-based system, you should develop a special mark you can put on 'dependent' actions so you know when you finish them to go to your project and grab the next action.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 11:39 PM.

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    • #3
      Bob,

      As Todd points out, if you are using electronic lists, many programs offer the ability to create sequential lists that will not reveal action 2, until action 1 is complete.

      But I think the real crux of the matter is that you are interpreting the system too rigidly.

      The next action is often just a placeholder for where to pick up a project, and the action after the next action will flow organically from the next action.

      If the project is "get new tires", the next action is "call tire store to make appointment", once I call the tire store and make the appointment, the next action is to write the appointment in my calendar, and I'll do that automatically after the call.

      If this example doesn't make sense to you, please suggest another example, and I'm sure the folks on the forum will work through it with you.

      - Don

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by boblevy View Post
        Say you have a project with a sequence of actions 1 then 2 then 3.

        You do your weekly review, well, weekly.

        1. is your *next* action, so you put it in a next action list.

        You complete 1. but have no trigger to do 2. until after your weekly review.
        Sure you do. As soon as you complete 1, you check the project support materials to see what's next, and either do it immediately or put it on your NA list.

        The weekly review is a safety net. DA never suggested it should be the *only* time you update your lists.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          I can figure out what to do next in most cases.

          Originally posted by boblevy View Post
          You complete 1. but have no trigger to do 2. until after your weekly review. So the project is stalled for the remainder of the week (unless your unconscious triggers you -- but that misses the point of GTD).
          Are all your projects so complicated that it is impossible to figure out on the spot what to do next?

          For most of my GTD projects Next Action is just a bookmark to trigger the project execution from the place where it was stopped.

          I can figure out what to do next in most cases.

          If I can do more progress in the current context I do next logical steps. If it is not possible I write the next action as a new bookmark on the appropriate context list.

          Comment


          • #6
            You don't work only from your Next Actions lists. You also work from your Projects list. That's your trigger.

            Just like you don't look at your Someday/Maybe list only during your Weekly Review. As you have ideas for neat projects, you can/should put them directly into your Someday/Maybe list.

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