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questions re associating actions done and next actions, esp. with paper planner

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  • questions re associating actions done and next actions, esp. with paper planner

    I know we have had many threads on the topic of pre-planning next actions and also associating N/As with projects. If I correctly understand GTD, there are two guiding concepts.

    1. The first is only write on your N/A list the specific actions you can carry out in the particular contexts within which you work.

    2. To the extent necessary and possible, do project planning up front so that you have something to refer to as your guide to actions. The planning can range from a loose sketch to a really tight plan with hard deadlines if appropriate.

    Assuming my understanding is correct..... (feedback welcome!).

    If you are using a paper planner and work in different contexts (some without computer or on-line access) do you keep a project plan with you in the planner for your active projects?

    My problem is that I will complete an action in a context and then put the next N/A on its appropriate context list but I later discover that its just plain wrong. I did it already and forgot. Or, it takes me down another path which I already excluded when I was in a mode of deeper thinking. Or, I fail to recognize that the particular next action has a condition associated with it, such as date or time-window or tool associated with it.

    When are these "accidents" likely to occur?

    1. I have two or more similar projects going and they are in slightly different stages. I do make checklists here and it helps.

    2. The project is done across several contexts and different equipment is taken to the sites.Again checklists help or a project outline.

    3. There are deadlines associated with some of the N/As (e.g., must buy tickets by a certain date once we have a head count, get immunizations by a certain date, change work schedules once we have the doctor's appointments for the immunizations).

    4. There are a lot of independent actions but some of them occur in contexts that are "rare" (get luggage handle re-sewn but the place is a long drive and out of the way).

    5. Competition between N/As due to their urgency, relative unpleasantness, etc.

    6. A particular N/A is more demanding to execute than expected.

    7. Waiting For results in "unexpected" consequences (could have been anticipated but we did not get that far).

    I also have the problem of having to give (and get) very short-notice status reports, so it is helpful for me to have the N/As completed at hand.

    Any thoughts on best or even just plain good practices for handling the above using paper.

    Thanks in advance, I have always found the forum responses to be helpful, whether they were challenging, thought provoking, or humbling !.

  • #2
    Paper Trail

    My response is more Bumbling than humbling. Completed NAs on a list would be crossed off or otherwise checked as completed. A review of these crossed off items would then result in the Progress Report you need. I would not take the time to write them on a separate list unless it's the Report itself.


    • #3
      yes and no

      Yes this works when your projects are small in number, are done in a shaort ime span, and in only a few contexts. Perfect when we are on a vacation or back 25 plus years when 98% of my job was the same thing over and over, and maybe one project a quarter.

      In my all-too-real I have 6 contexts, 60 projects, and some projects are very slow moving. That's a lot of pages to review.