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Multiple Next Actions for a Project

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  • Multiple Next Actions for a Project

    I think this is a common question but I thought I'd put it out there again for comments.

    Is it a "sin" to have multiple Next Actions for projects? I'm using Outlook and the GTD add-in and when I look at my task list in the Project view I can get a glimpse of all the NAs associated with each project. For some projects I have more than one NA.

    I was thinking though... if I were to strictly follow what David Allen suggests, shouldn't each project have just one NA? But what happens if there are any number of things you can do for a project at any one time that don't depend on one another. I'm thinking of these things that I want to do -- how do I put a "string on my finger" so to speak to remind me of them?

    Also, in terms of sequential tasks - i.e. I can't do action B until I complete action A -- I've been putting a reminder for the next task(s) at the top of the action A task message. Are there other preferred ways of keeping reminders of subsequent tasks in outlook?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

  • #2
    Go ahead and put any actual NA's on your lists. Everything I've heard or read from David says that you should have AT LEAST one NA for each project. Just don't put things on your lists that you can't do yet.
    -Mark

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    • #3
      Excellent -- thanks for clearing that up! If anyone has a different view point or has thoughts on recording in Outlook steps that are subsequent to the "Next Action" post away! I'm taking it all in...

      Trent

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      • #4
        I generally agree. I can conceive of a point, however, where some people could be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of N/As. I work in a heavy project (technical sense, not GTD sense) environment, and I've had hundreds of N/As on my list at some times. A couple of those times I've had to cull through and pare the list back just to avoid that overwhelmed feeling. But, punch line, I still vote >1 N/A per project is fine. FWIW.

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        • #5
          Slightly off-topic Project/NA question

          I'm still working through the book, but here's a "dumb" question that has probably been asked before:

          How do you track all the (potential?) NAs associated with a project?

          For example:

          1. You are not supposed to track NAs in a project list (just the projects)
          2. You can track outlines of all the tasks (as noted in the book... you can even use GANTT charts, etc)
          3. However, you are not supposed to track the outlines/GANTT/project NA in the project list or supporting folder?
          4. Where do the tasks go.... ie... I have tasks 5,6,10 that depend on 1,2,3 that I can take action on... how does this all get tracked (ideally)? I am starting to get a sense that the GTD/Outlook software does this for you?

          Originally posted by Bryan
          I generally agree. I can conceive of a point, however, where some people could be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of N/As. I work in a heavy project (technical sense, not GTD sense) environment, and I've had hundreds of N/As on my list at some times. A couple of those times I've had to cull through and pare the list back just to avoid that overwhelmed feeling. But, punch line, I still vote >1 N/A per project is fine. FWIW.

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          • #6
            For complicated projects, you should have a "projects folder" that outlines all of the details of a project that you find helpful for you. If that includes detailed timelines and a projection of all next actions, that's fine. Your project "folder" could be a physical folder, a notebook, or just the notes section of attached to the project item on your project list in Outlook or your PDA, etc.. I think the general idea is simply not to clog up your next action list or your project lists with too much unactionable (or not next-actionable) stuff. In otherwords, keep those two lists as streamlined as you can and put the rest of the stuff hidden out of sight until you need it.

            C.

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