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When to stop the action?

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  • When to stop the action?

    Hi all,

    So, I'm a bit unsure when I should stop an action. Here's an example of my predicament:
    • My next action is "download manual for office phone". The project it is tied to is "Learn to properly operate office phone".
    • I download the manual from the website.
    • Instead of stopping there, I keep going and start reading up on how to properly warm transfer.
    • I end up spending 2 hours reading through the manual and working on the phone.

    So in the end, I got the phone working the way I wanted to but I just spent two hours on it. In my mind, I should have stopped at "download manual for office phone". At the same time, that seems too mechanical to me and I feel I should work the project to completion if it's front of me.

    How do you all deal with this? Do you work a "small" project to completion like I do? Or do you only do that next, definable action and move on to something else.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  • #2
    Well, I don't see a general "should" either way here. Downloading the manual is one action. Reading it and learning how to use the phone is another action, or maybe two actions. There's nothing inherently wrong with doing the two (or three) actions in sequence.

    On the other hand, a two-hour action isn't that "small" to me. Whether I do it would depend on what else was going on today and where "learn to use phone" fell in my priorities.

    If I'm busy and snatching at rare bits of spare time, then "download manual" might fit into the five minutes after finishing up a programming task and before dialing in for a meeting. And "read manual" might fit into an hour on the train going home at night, if I happen to get one of the spots with laptop power on the train. (Or I might plan on reading the manual on paper on the train, in which case I'd add a task "print manual".)

    On the other hand, if I'm less busy, then getting the whole project done in a sequential series of actions might give me a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

    I guess the only "should" here is to realize that the tasks can be divided, and that you're choosing to, or choosing not to, do them all at once.

    Gardener

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    • #3
      It was the most important thing to do.

      Originally posted by Mischka View Post
      So in the end, I got the phone working the way I wanted to but I just spent two hours on it. In my mind, I should have stopped at "download manual for office phone". At the same time, that seems too mechanical to me and I feel I should work the project to completion if it's front of me.
      The decision what you should do is based on the intuition that is built during your reflection time (Weekly Reviews). If you decided that studying the phone manual is the most important thing to do - it was the most important thing to do.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mischka View Post
        In my mind, I should have stopped at "download manual for office phone".
        Nope, doesn't need to work that way. You did exactly the right thing!

        The Next Action is a bookmark. It's a reminder of where to start next in each of your Projects. If you complet an Action, then push forward and finish a Project, great! The Next Action is there simply to nudge you towards completion of all your Projects.

        The point here is to Get Things Done. In your example, you finished your Project. Great!

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        • #5
          Thanks all!

          Yea, I had a feeling I was making it too mechanical. I don't spend time on the weekly reviews, and I realize now the importance.

          The phone project was actually really low on the list of "important" projects. I should have done a weekly review to affirm the priorities for each project.

          Comment


          • #6
            Trust your intuition and your calendar

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