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Not tying next actions to plans

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  • Not tying next actions to plans

    So, I've bitten the bullet and I've given up software do-dads, secret prefixes, PigPog, etc. and am not doing anything special to tie next actions to projects - other than try to make the next action explicit enough. Supposedly, I'll do this during the weekly review. Supposedly, David Allen does this. I find this unlikely but hey, why would he lie.

    Kidding aside - has this actually worked for anyone?

  • #2
    Re: Not tying next actions to plans

    Kidding aside - has this actually worked for anyone?

    It's pretty cool, and pretty fast. Yes, it all comes together; not only during the weekly review, but during the week as well.

    I mean hey...."Call Marseille (212) 333-2323 re dinner on 10/29" connects (in my mind) to the project "Enjoy New York trip with Jodi."

    All my next actions "float." I use the [re] throughout the system to keep it easy to review and do my next actions.

    And, you're right...the weekly review is the time to look at the whole game, projects, next actions and everything in between.


    • #3
      Hm! I'm pretty interested in this topic because I've been PigPogging for a month. But then you have those situations with multiple next actions for a project ...

      I'm curious about what you meant by "I use the [re] throughout the system to keep it easy to review and do my next actions. ".


      • #4
        Initially, when getting started with GTD, my concern with this approach was those times when I want to work steadily on a specific project (mostly at work, where almost all NAs are in a single @Office context). However, I've found that when I do that, instead of working off the NA context lists, I work off my project list.

        I'd be interested in knowing how things work out for you, furashgf.


        • #5
          How do you separate work and personal projects on your palm? I don't like them mixed together because I like to use my work project list for staff meetings to keep my team updated on various projects. Currently, I use an outliner on my palm to facilitate this and it keeps work projects separate with their next action(s) listed as children in the outline, but I admit it can be cumbersome to manage at times when I get really busy. Also, I own my own business and work mostly from home so I want to stay focused on just work tasks from 8am - 3pm. How do you separate work calls from personal calls when they are in one @calls list together? Same for @internet and @computer, etc. Do you rethink each call or just call all of them and clear the list? I just want to ensure that I am putting enough time into work instead of home stuff at the proper times. I tried just an @work list and it didn't work because I missed a few 'little windows' like being able to drop off some books and mail a package because it didn't show up on my @errands list because it was work-related and was on my @work list. I need some boundaries - any suggestions or should I let it all blur together and let the weekly review be the guide as to whether the right focus is being maintained?


          • #6
            How often do y'all clean up the list.

            e.g., You've got your project support material (tree, plan, outline, na list). You finish an NA for it, and realize that you now know more, and propably need to do a mini-reorg, at least for that deliverable.

            Do you:
            a. go back to your support material, update, build na, then work the na
            b. just create a new next action right then and there in your lists
            c. don't worry about it - at you're weekly review you'll see the deliverable isn't done, and you'll brainstorm then.

            I've found, personally, that it's easier for me to brainstorm/outline a project iteratively e.g.,:
            1. do first outline, pretty much to the deliverable level
            2. get a na for each deliverable
            3. as I finish the Na, go back and see if anythign else needs to be done to finish the deliverable, or if there are new deliverables, if so, brainstorm & organize next actions.


            • #7
              How do you separate work and personal projects on your palm?
              I name my home projects with a "z" prefix, like "z Lawn Mowed." This way, they all sort together and at the bottom of the list.

              Regarding mixing work calls and personal calls, I put them all on the @calls context, and use my judgment to select which calls to make when I turn my attention to the @calls list.



              • #8
                All you need is a placeholder to ensure that you have a next action designated for each project. A simple, handwritten project list will work for this purpose. During the weekly review (or more often if you deem it necessary), you simply run down your lists to make sure you have a next action for each active project. Some people find this tedious and time consuming, especially if they have a long list of active projects, and enjoy the ease of using software programs that connect projects to next actions. The software programs can be great, but you can also easily get trapped into fiddling with the program features, looking for better programs and not getting things done. Sometimes it helps to go back to the basics and many people find that that works best for them.

                I like to preface all my next actions with a shortened project name. For work, this often is the name of a client. A typical work project might be: "+Smith: Draft correspondence to opposing counsel." A typical home project might be: "+Maintain Car Insurance: Complete renewal forms." I use a slight variation on the pigpog method. Instead of limiting myself to a single next action for a project, if I want to have additional next actions for a project I use the number 2 in the next action. For example, another next action for the Smith project might be: "Smith: (2) Telephone call to client regarding terms of settlement." I keep my project support information, any future next actions and any completed next actions that I want to keep track of in the note section of the main next action for the project (in the task application of the Palm). Any next action with a (2) in it can be deleted when complete or during the weekly review. I don't delete the main next action for a project, I just write in a new next action when the previous next action is complete. Since I have been using this method, it has not been necessary for me to keep a separate projects list, because my next action lists show all my projects. I use the + symbol to preface the project name so that I can easily find projects using Palm's global find and also scan my lists when I sort them alphabetically. All the project-related next actions will sort to the top, thus giving me a quick project list automatically without the necessity of keeping a separate list. When the project is complete, I can delete or archive the main next action.

                I have been using Can Do to sort my tasks alphabetically and to create filtered views. During my weekly review, I can easily view all my next actions under the +Smith project. This has been working well for me. I find that I can complete my weekly review in an hour or less and can even do a good percentage of it when I'm on the run as long as I have my Palm with me.

                I prefer to use the Palm because it's very easy to move things around throughout the various programs, to store hundreds of addresses and phone numbers and all kinds of reference information and to carry it with me wherever I go. But I certainly think that working on paper or using a blended system of PDA and paper is a workable solution for many.