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How Often to Update Next Action Lists?

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  • How Often to Update Next Action Lists?

    I am a GTD newbie. From what I understand, most lists are updated at the weekly review. But I find that I most do reviews more often since I get assigned a lot of projects durign each day that require a host of next actions. How often do most people update their next action and project lists? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • #2
    The process relies on following the workflow. I know that when I stick to it, then everything works well for me. When I don't, then things fall apart.

    You should "capture" the next actions as soon as they reveal themselves to you. Make sure that your capture devices are hole-proof.

    I have a couple - yellow legal pad, in tray, and voice recorder on my Palm. And of course voicemail and email.

    When I get back from a meeting, the notes go into the in tray. They do NOT go straight into a folder about the particular project/subject. I clear my voice recorder onto a page from my legal pad at least once a day, then add that page to the intray. Same goes with voicemail.

    Email of course is its own entity.

    Then, usually once a day, at the end of the day, I clear the in tray, updating NA lists as I go, filing the notes once completed. I scan the notes, and make sure that all NA's are organised.

    But, as DA says, if I can't get to it for a day or several, I can relax knowing that everything is in a trusted system.

    Urgent or small NA's I sometimes "Capture-Process-Organise" as a single step straight into my Palm

    The weekly review is a much bigger task, going through everything.

    And I am at the stage where my weekly review is actually starting to happen regaularly - three weeks out of every four!

    Good luck with your journey


    • #3
      Processing and organizing...

      In our coaching, we make an important distinction between "collecting" and "organizing". Collection is just getting everything into some bucket you'll process sooner than later, deciding relevance and actions.

      Organizing (which I think you're really talking about) is done to maintain an objective review of all the actions and outcomes you could be renegotiating with yourself on a regular basis. You'll review these at the right time and in the right context. Most people find they add to their lists many times through the day.

      You just need to ensure that you review your entire system in enough drilled-down detail, as frequently as you need to, to clarify next actions you need to be reminded about.

      Bottom line to all of this: Do what works to keep you going. For folks who don't miss-agree (say they'll do something and then "forget"), for folks who talk positively to themselves, for people who are already "there" whereever there is, this methodology is going to be real nice, icing on the cake of personal productivity.


      • #4
        Updating Next Action Lists


        You might find the discussion in this topic useful.;highlight=


        • #5

          This is all very helpful information, thank you. I set up a system in Microsoft Onenote using note flags that makes it easy for me to create next action lists and waiting for on the fly. Basically, I have listed all the upcoming steps for a project in outline-form bullets underneath the project heading. I flag the next action or waiting for items with a special flag. Then I use Onenote to find all items with that flag. It works very well and I process as I go.


          • #6
            Very cool use of OneNote

            GTDSteve: That is a very innovative use of flags in OneNote. Good thinking. I use the flags in Outlook 2003 in a similar fashion but it had not occurred to me to do that in OneNote with a project outline. Do you remove the flags after a step is completed or just leave it checked?


            • #7
              Re: Very cool use of OneNote

              Originally posted by mochant
              Do you remove the flags after a step is completed or just leave it checked?
              Yes, I clear the flag by clicking on the clear flag button. In addtion I sometimes use the Notes Flag summary to create a new summary page based on the search. I also format the text as strike out (ctrl -) to mark it as done. When the weekly review comes around I purge it all from the project lists.


              • #8
                I update my Next Actions list once a week

                It's part of my weekly review and evaluation process.