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  • New and two questions

    Hello!

    I am new to GTD and to this forum.
    I am using GTD for my personal goals only. At work I am managing just fine.

    By the time I found David's book I was very much on my way with life goals, projects under them and actions under each project. David's book is helping me fine tuning my list and reducing my stress.

    Talking about stress, question #1. I am up to 82 tasks and most of them are stuff and need to be split on actionable tasks. Imagine how many i will end up with. I will be 40 this year, I feel I am late! I feel I can not much fast enough. Some things will be on the "not now" list for years! How do you cope with that, how do I accept that reality that I won't be able to touch some of my goals for 1 or 2 years!

    question #2. If you have 2 or more tasks that need to be deferred, but any of them can be the "next action" how do you choose.
    Let's say I am preparing working on a project and I could
    1.- Send an email regarding funding
    2.- Work on my blue print
    3.- Buy invoicing software.

    All are actions ready to be done and they are not depending on each other. do I make the three of them part of my next actions list?

    Thank you in advance for your help

    Action "post question on forum" complete- Just kidding...

  • #2
    Originally posted by Radiance7 View Post
    Talking about stress, question #1. I am up to 82 tasks and most of them are stuff and need to be split on actionable tasks. Imagine how many i will end up with. I will be 40 this year, I feel I am late! I feel I can not much fast enough. Some things will be on the "not now" list for years! How do you cope with that, how do I accept that reality that I won't be able to touch some of my goals for 1 or 2 years!

    question #2. If you have 2 or more tasks that need to be deferred, but any of them can be the "next action" how do you choose.
    Let's say I am preparing working on a project and I could
    1.- Send an email regarding funding
    2.- Work on my blue print
    3.- Buy invoicing software.

    All are actions ready to be done and they are not depending on each other. do I make the three of them part of my next actions list?
    Lots of stuff is normal.

    I've got things on my someday/maybe list that were initially started by my mother, over 35 years ago. I also will work on projects that cannot be completed in a single year because of the nature of my life. I've had active projects that have taken 12 years to complete. Heck single doable next actions that are really single actions not hidden projects can take 6 years to finish in my world.

    Right now I have over 450 projects in my S/M list and another 120 or so active projects. Some of those are several years into the doing of them and won't be complete for another few years. I have active current projects that I know will take generations to fully "finish". I'm over a decade older than you, just get used to always having lots of things on your plate. The only time you'll be done is when you die.

    As long as all the actions are truly not dependent on each other there is no reason you can't put more than one of them on your context lists. However, be careful. It's really easy to think that actions are independent but then when you actually try to do them they really aren't.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Radiance7 View Post
      All are actions ready to be done and they are not depending on each other. do I make the three of them part of my next actions list?
      Yes.

      Welcome aboard.



      Cheers,
      Roger

      Comment


      • #4
        re: Stress & Next Actions

        #1: On Overwhelming Number of Next Actions / Projects to Complete:
        Think of it more like surfing. You are riding along on top of your actions, getting what you can done and complete, but all of it is moving you in directions you need / want to go; and you can have fun doing it. Things change so quickly that your list of actions will have to adjust accordingly. It's less important how many of them you are getting done (or even whether you will get them all done) than it is that every one of them accurately leads you toward your desired outcomes. I currently have over 500 next actions on my list and over 100 projects in my Projects folder. It takes awhile to get used to maintaining this number of actions and projects, but if you treat it like the above, it gets easier. As long as you keep doing your weekly review - weekly - you'll have the perspective to keep everything on track.

        #2: On Next Actions - When to Defer
        The list of next actions you give indicate to me that they are part of a project (or at least some of them are). Better to attach these next actions with those projects - or at least short-hand the project name or outcome next to each of these tasks. As of right now they feel disconnected from why you have them on your list. With that 'why' specified it'll make more sense where they need to go and which one of them may need to be done first.

        Hope that helps.

        Comment


        • #5
          #1 You can do anything but not everything. #2 Yes.

          Originally posted by Radiance7 View Post
          Talking about stress, question #1. I am up to 82 tasks and most of them are stuff and need to be split on actionable tasks. Imagine how many i will end up with. I will be 40 this year, I feel I am late! I feel I can not much fast enough. Some things will be on the "not now" list for years! How do you cope with that, how do I accept that reality that I won't be able to touch some of my goals for 1 or 2 years!
          You can do anything but not everything. You can do more when you focus on one project at a time.

          Originally posted by Radiance7 View Post
          question #2. If you have 2 or more tasks that need to be deferred, but any of them can be the "next action" how do you choose.
          Let's say I am preparing working on a project and I could
          1.- Send an email regarding funding
          2.- Work on my blue print
          3.- Buy invoicing software.

          All are actions ready to be done and they are not depending on each other. do I make the three of them part of my next actions list?
          Yes.

          Comment


          • #6
            #1: Realistically, were you going to get them done in that time frame anyway? At least now you can look at your projects and see all of the other things that you DID get done!

            #2: Yes, they all go on the list - assuming that you have already decided what invoicing software to buy, who to send the email to, and what the next thing to be done on your blueprint is - otherwise they are still "stuff" and need to be clarified.

            Comment


            • #7
              First...

              First off, welcome to the forum.

              1) You asked how to cope with the understanding that you won't be able to reach some of your goals within 1-2 years. The simple advice David Allen gives on this is "you will only feel good about what you are not doing when you know what you are not doing." This topic is of particular interest to me recently, so I hope you don't mind my sharing ideas at some length.

              Something to consider is that most people do not have an objective view of how many irons they have in the fire, nor do they relate the gnawing sense of anxiety they feel with their trying to accomplish more than is possible.

              We often take on more tasks than we can actually accomplish because we want to contribute to the benefit of others... we end up committing to more projects than we (can?) take true responsibility for. This may not be a welcome insight, but it is a consistent reality for many of us.

              Here is a way to look at this that has helped me:
              a) If you were to think about where you'd like to be 6 months from now (think: things you want to be, do, or have), what single task (pref 1/2 hr or less) would get you CLOSER to that than any other task?
              b) If you could, for whatever interruption, accomplish only ONE task today, which task would have you happy with your day?

              Please note that the task that answers these questions is probably the task that will be a) the least comfortable one to do (i.e. one you dread doing), or b) one you have avoided doing by keeping busy with other things.

              Example: I may have a report to write for a client. I dread the complexity and undefined areas of the project, or, alternatively, dread my client being less than thrilled. I therefore, may spend the morning doing such things as organizing Outlook contacts, or cleaning out my desk, or running errands, or any of the other projects I want to do (from Projects or Next Actions lists) but that have less urgency than this report. Please note that this is many (most?) busy people's default state.

              You can obtain 10x more results than in the past by simply starting your day uninterrupted with that single task (not checking voicemail/email, etc., until it is done) each day.

              As a reference, most people have 80-100 projects at any given point. They may also have 150-200 Next Action tasks. I have about that number, but in the beginning I had far more, as a result of lacking sophistication in what I committed to doing. The less you do, the greater your results. When it comes to reaching your goals, it is not about volume of efforts but quality of results.

              2) Yes. Put a Next Action on the appropriate list for each of the "moving parts" or non-dependent actions that can be done.

              In time, you will happily have Next Actions on your lists for a long time and they will cause you no stress at all, because you know that accomplishing them is not the best use of your time.

              JohnV474

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                In time, you will happily have Next Actions on your lists for a long time and they will cause you no stress at all, because you know that accomplishing them is not the best use of your time.
                Yes, getting over that "crossing it off equals win" mentality ingrained by the classic todo-list. Think of the NA-list more like the departures-display at the airport: Mhm, which flights are available to me now? Standing at gate @computer .... ..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you so much everybody, this really helps.
                  I am taking big breaths and just keep moving forward, blinders on!.

                  Comment

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