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  • Multiple NAs for a project?

    Quick question:

    Is there any reason not to list multiple NAs for one project, if either one can be acted upon next?

  • #2
    Not at all... in fact, doing that is a best practice. If you can do multiple steps of a project right now, then they should all be on the Next Action list.

    For example, if you're painting your living room, there's no reason why "Choose color" and "Buy paintbrushes" can't both be on the NA list and done in either order.

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    • #3
      Excellent, thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        I wonder if you could make a slight proviso and say that you should only have one NA for a project per context? So "choose colour" might be @home, but "buy brush" would be @errands. Seems to me if you have more than one NA in the same context, you might get a bit bedazzled about which you should do next!

        Of course, there might be multiple NA candidates for a context, but you need to pick ONE to be your absolute next thing to do so you have something to get you started.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by El_Stiff View Post
          I wonder if you could make a slight proviso and say that you should only have one NA for a project per context? So "choose colour" might be @home, but "buy brush" would be @errands. Seems to me if you have more than one NA in the same context, you might get a bit bedazzled about which you should do next!

          Of course, there might be multiple NA candidates for a context, but you need to pick ONE to be your absolute next thing to do so you have something to get you started.
          If a project has more than one errand, I'd definitely want to put them all on my @errand list. I'd be pretty annoyed if I got back from doing @errand buy brush and found that the next action for the project was now @errand get paint samples.

          Many of my projects have clusters of related tasks -- a list of several phone calls, for instance -- if all the tasks are on my NA list, I can tackle them in a batch. I can also still move the project forward if one of them is temporarily blocked -- wrong time to call Europe, for instance. If they aren't, I can't.

          If a project has more than one immediately doable Next Action, then *any* of those actions will move the project forward. Why not list them all?

          Katherine

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kewms View Post
            If a project has more than one errand, I'd definitely want to put them all on my @errand list. I'd be pretty annoyed if I got back from doing @errand buy brush and found that the next action for the project was now @errand get paint samples.

            Many of my projects have clusters of related tasks -- a list of several phone calls, for instance -- if all the tasks are on my NA list, I can tackle them in a batch. I can also still move the project forward if one of them is temporarily blocked -- wrong time to call Europe, for instance. If they aren't, I can't.

            If a project has more than one immediately doable Next Action, then *any* of those actions will move the project forward. Why not list them all?

            Katherine
            Good point! I suppose it's that in my system, all those buying things would be under "buy painting supplies" in @errands, and then a note would be attached with a list of stuff to get (I use my Palm for my GTDing). That way I can differentiate it from other @errands stuff that's not project related (and may be less/more important).

            As I say, I'm just cautious about having too many NAs for a project on at once, because the idea is by having one, your mind is focused on that and you don't panic and become overwhelmed by the diffuse nature of a project. As long as that's not happening, then having them all listed definitely sounds like a good idea to me!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by David Cain View Post
              Is there any reason not to list multiple NAs for one project, if either one can be acted upon next?
              I can't think of any downside to listing all next actions, in the appropriate context if they truly are independent and do not depend on anything else.

              Not to do so would slow progress on projects down to a crawl.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by David Cain View Post
                Quick question:

                Is there any reason not to list multiple NAs for one project, if either one can be acted upon next?

                I complete my projects by completing the Absolute Next Physical Thing to do as DA has instructed us to do (page 130, 4th paragraph). By listing multiple Next Actions per context morphs into a hybrid system.

                I currently have 99 projects (open loops) & 99 next actions that correlate to the projects in the different context categories.

                In the analogy of reading 99 books with 99 bookmarks to know where to continue from.

                Pablo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Having lots of NAs per project can make it harder to move the project forward because when you want to start working on the project, you have to then figure out which of your "next actions" is actually the next one you're going to do.

                  I still often have a couple of NAs per project though too, it just seems to make the most sense sometimes.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rangi500 View Post
                    Having lots of NAs per project can make it harder to move the project forward because when you want to start working on the project, you have to then figure out which of your "next actions" is actually the next one you're going to do.
                    If the next actions are truly independent or in different contexts then it really won't matter. My own multiple next actions are typically in different contexts but I do occasionally have some ion the same context. In those rare cases it doesn't matter which order they get done it, I have all the tools and info do to either when I am in that context and all need to be done to move the project forward.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                      I can't think of any downside to listing all next actions, in the appropriate context if they truly are independent and do not depend on anything else.
                      The downside is overloading your lists with hundreds of independent Next Actions.

                      If the average person has 50-100 Projects, and many of those Projects have multiple independent Next Actions, you can imagine how large the context lists can become. One can quickly go numb, and be unable to review one's lists effectively. Especially during short windows of opportunity.

                      In other words, it's easy for an important Action to get buried amongst several hundred NAs.

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                      • #12
                        Well, here's the thing, in my opinion: Projects don't really exist.

                        I mean, sure, they exist as an organizing tool. But a project just consists of actions and reference, more or less.

                        The value in a NA list is in its completeness, so I'd be hesitant to start leaving things off of them just because I've already got some NAs from the same 'project'.

                        Does this make the lists bigger? Sure. Making a list more complete is always going to make it bigger.

                        All that being said, different people are going to implement different systems that work best for them. If you want to defer some NAs based on project, the GTD Police won't be coming after you.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by David Cain View Post
                          Quick question:

                          Is there any reason not to list multiple NAs for one project, if either one can be acted upon next?
                          No reason whatsoever. If two NAs can both be done independent of the other, then they can both end up on your Action lists at the same time.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Brent View Post
                            The downside is overloading your lists with hundreds of independent Next Actions.
                            OTOH if you don't put independent next actions on your lists you waste time when in the appropriate context and all your hundreds of projects move more slowly.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                              OTOH if you don't put independent next actions on your lists you waste time when in the appropriate context and all your hundreds of projects move more slowly.
                              Hmmmm.

                              Let me ask this question: Do you ever complete all the actions on a Context List? Completely empty it? I certainly don't. I'm lucky if I get to most of them before my next Weekly Review!

                              So, if I never get to the bottom of my Context List, how will I move faster by having 100 items on there instead of 30, if I'm only going to complete at most 20 of them per week anyway? (Random numbers there, of course.)

                              But maybe that's just my own experience.

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