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Next Action Chart that includes Projects?

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  • Next Action Chart that includes Projects?

    I have come up with an idea for a chart that combines the Next Actions for several contexts and the Projects list into one format, and I would like others' input on it. Attached to this post is a snapshot of it. Note that my Contexts are very simple because I work from home.

    After letting my GTD get waaay behind (without review and processing, it doesn't do much good!), I decided to go back to basics with a 3-ring binders and 8 dividers a la GTD Fast. While preparing my Next Actions list, I found that I was grouping NA's related to one Project in a box on one part of a page. This is done for tactical reasons--it helps me to remember all of the tasks associated with a given project (usu there are 2-8 per Project).

    In the left-most column, you write down the Project (if any) that a NA is associated with. Under that, you write the moving part (again, if any) that the NA is associated with. As you move to the right, you start writing the NA under the column associated with the proper context.

    For example, the project "Paint HOUSE" (with the keyword in all CAPS) on the first line may have two moving parts: Removal & Prep, and Supplies. Under Removal & Prep, I may have the @Calls __Call rental yard 555-1212 re: pressure washer. Under Supplies I may have @Errands __Sears: buy paint, and under neither moving part: __Choose new paint color.

    The idea is that, with a given hardcopy page, you could have about 50 NA's organized in a way that would be easy to "sort" or look up by Project, Moving Part, or Context. Because the NA is aligned with a column, you can quickly tell the context it belongs to.

    I haven't even used this yet, folks, as it's hot off the presses. I'm still weighing whether it would increase efficiency or convolute my buckets.

    Any input on reasons it might be good (or bad) to combine a Projects List with a Next Action list? Please note that the intention is not to replace my Project Plans (mind maps), which I'd keep elsewhere, but only to list the NA's by category (i.e. Project).

    Thanks,
    JohnV474
    Attached Files
    Last edited by JohnV474; 02-02-2009, 03:04 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
    Any input on reasons it might be good (or bad) to combine a Projects List with a Next Action list? Please note that the intention is not to replace my Project Plans (mind maps), which I'd keep elsewhere, but only to list the NA's by category (i.e. Project).
    John, this looks like a interesting idea. There are programs out there that like projects and actions, but this looks like a low tech way to do it.

    Of course, as per DA, this isn't *needed* if you are doing weekly reviews

    It would be interesting to see the image with an example or two.

    - Don

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    • #3
      I'd say go ahead and try it and see how you like it. I know people are constantly trying to tie actions to projects and, as said before, if you are doing your weekly review every week, you probably don't need it. I use the GTD Add-In for Outlook and I like having the project tied to next actions, but I ONLY see that during my weekly review unless I choose to see it more often.

      I might be the Weekly Review Queen. Honestly: once you get good at it and see how much it helps you, you'll stop resisting it. I actually get up very early on Sunday mornings just for the quiet time so I can do it. I look forward to it--honestly, I do!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
        Any input on reasons it might be good (or bad) to combine a Projects List with a Next Action list? Please note that the intention is not to replace my Project Plans (mind maps), which I'd keep elsewhere, but only to list the NA's by category (i.e. Project).
        See my thread, "The Dangers of the Projects List."

        Why do you think DA recommends creating a separate Next Actions list from a Projects list? One reason: We need to focus on the direct, physical stuff that needs to be done. If we only look at Projects, our brain gets distracted by outcomes rather than the physical work that can be done now.

        Put another way: Why constantly distract yourself with outcomes that you can't actually accomplish yet? Why not focus just on the work that has to be done next?

        (Note: Some folks successfully tie Projects to Actions. Great! However, there are also good reasons to avoid doing that.)

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