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Defining Project Steps and Next Actions

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  • Defining Project Steps and Next Actions

    Hello I am new to GTD. I have read the book, and I am not sure I understand defining projects. Do you list all steps for the project and choose one as the next action, or do I only define the next immediate action. What if there actions that can be performed in parallel and are not dependent on a previous action? Thank you in advance for your responses.

  • #2
    Originally posted by wpearson4 View Post
    Hello I am new to GTD. I have read the book, and I am not sure I understand defining projects. Do you list all steps for the project and choose one as the next action, or do I only define the next immediate action. What if there actions that can be performed in parallel and are not dependent on a previous action? Thank you in advance for your responses.
    Really it depends on the project. For simple projects, the immediate next action will be obvious, and once that's done, the others will follow. For more complex projects, the first action may be "write action plan." GTD's idea is essentially "just in time" planning: plan as much as you need to, but no more because circumstances will change anyway.

    There's nothing wrong with having multiple next actions if they truly are independent of each other.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Excellent questions!

      You can work out all the steps for a project, but you only need to list the next one. The Next Actions lists should contain work that you can do now, so any dependent actions should stay off it (unless you're handling it electronically and have a way to automatically hide those).

      Multiple parallel actions can be put on your NA lists, but there is a concern here. It's easy to fill up a list with tons of Actions, and be overwhelmed with a huge list. Better to be a bit more judicious, and somewhat limit the number of Actions per Project that you have open at once on a Project.

      (In other words, if you could honestly do any of 10 actions next on a given Project, all other things being equal it's arguably better to make maybe 3 of those Next Actions. But it's a judgment call.)

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      • #4
        WPearson, there is a lot about this in the forums and/or in GTD Connect - you can join for a free trial period at first.

        Basically, the most important things for a project are: a description of what would mean 'wild success' for you and a 'next action' (that you can do immediately and can see yourself doing - this may need breaking it into 'small steps' that are manageable enough!)

        Everything else is as you wish - I get too overwhelmed with too many 'next actions' so it's better to put just one or two really 'next' actions on the NA list, and trim them weekly, and put others into project support material/project file, if needed (and/or into 'later' or 'someday/maybe' if they are whole projects that don't need to be done this week).

        It's important to differentiate between sequential and parallel actions, yup.

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