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Managing next actions with a deadline

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  • Managing next actions with a deadline

    I'm a total newbie - just finished the book last week and discovered this forum yesterday.

    But I'm very excited by the ideas - they really seem like a full generation beyond Covey et al - and I can see how they will help me become more effective. I love the "next action" concept and finally understand why much of my "to do" list has been defeating me until now.

    Anyway, I have a question that I hope isn't too dumb... I am now entering tasks with a deadline onto my calendar (instead of my to do list). And I now have my absolutely massive next action lists (divided by @ computer, phone calls, @ work etc.)

    But here's my big question: If you have a task that's going to take some time to do (real life example: copying a whole bunch of material onto a series of discs) and you don't want to leave the whole job til the day of the deadline, WHERE and HOW do you enter it so that you get reminded to do a little bit of the job several days beforehand? If it goes on the calendar on the due day, that's no help. And if it sits on my massive "next actions" list, it an be really hard to spot in time.

    What does everyone else do about this sort of thing?

  • #2
    Maybe put a reminder in your calendar or tickler file
    several days beforehand?


    • #3
      Re: Managing next actions with a deadline

      Originally posted by Daph
      WHERE and HOW do you enter it so that you get reminded to do a little bit of the job several days beforehand?
      In your diary on each of the days on which you plan to do a part of the work.


      • #4
        Yes, for next actions that are more time consuming and have a deadline, it is helpful to plan when you intend to work on them and place those commitments in your calendar. You can use your tickler file or a floating event on your calendar to tickle the next action to your attention, but for next actions that require a larger block of time, I prefer to actually schedule the time to work on them as an appointment (just be careful not to fall into the trap of overscheduling your days).


        • #5
          OK - have decided to create an electronic tickler in my Palm (on the to do list - I call it @tickler)

          Using the Palm I can attach a date/deadline to it, which will automatically file the tasks in chronological order. The other advantage is that if I suddenly decide that something on my @phone or @desk list needs to be done right away, I can attach a date and move it to the tickler file with a fast click of the button.

          I hate having my calendar cluttered up with next actions, so this will prevent that problem, but still link the task to a date.

          Thanks for the suggestions everyone!


          • #6
            You're welcome. I use the due date function of the Palm task list as an electronic tickler. If I want to be reminded of a task on a particular date to be sure that it doesn't get lost in the shuffle, then I attach a due date. This is only a tickler date--my hard and fast deadlines are on the calendar. I generally only schedule a few tasks that require larger chunks of time (e.g., writing an appellate brief). The advantage of using the due date function as an electronic tickler is that your calendar is truly your hard landscape for your commitments.