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Too many next actions

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  • Too many next actions

    Advice and comments are eagerly welcomed:

    I have been a GTD practitioner for more than 2 years. I currently have 53 projects and about 550 total next actions in my next actions list. The next actions list has become so unwieldy that I cannot even review all of it at the weekly review. How do you keep the size of the next actions list under control?

    Thank you to anyone who replies.

  • #2
    Defer. Defer. Defer.

    Think about how long it would take for you to actually do all those actions. Even at just ten minutes each, that's more than 90 hours of effort assuming that nothing new comes in.

    Even if you think you're going to do all of them as soon as possible, you won't. You can't. Some things *will* get deferred, whether you like it or not.

    To regain control of your lists, you need to decide which ones you're going to defer (or even delete), renegotiate those commitments as necessary, and focus on the things that matter to you.

    With only 53 projects, I'm a little confused about how you ended up with so many NAs in the first place. Are you sure all of them are really *next* actions? The very next thing that you could do *right now* (in the proper context) to move the project forward? If not, then it isn't an NA, it's project planning and should get booted to your project support materials.

    Hope this helps!

    Good luck!



    • #3
      More than 10 NAs per Project?

      Originally posted by sroeder View Post
      I currently have 53 projects and about 550 total next actions in my next actions list.
      More than 10 NAs per Project? Or maybe you have so many standalone NAs?


      • #4
        I try to limit my workload to not more then 5-6 projects per week. If one of them is done or moves to @WaitingFor status then I can go to my Someday-Maybe list and add one project more. You can't do everything so choose what you really need to move the coming week.



        • #5
          Too many NA's...

          easy... get some things done!!



          • #6
            One thing that really helped me was to trim my list to the things that I have to get done. I was putting things on it that I'd like to do.


            • #7
              Sharpen the picture....

              If you have that many NAs then I bet

              (1) There are things in there that are staying and festering because they are not really Next Actions. Do the taste test: if you put the end of your pencil down on your list for the context where you are, do you feel good about immediately doing the action it lands on? If not it is not an NA. You need to go through and sharpen them.

              (2) There are things in there which you would like to do, but do not have the bandwidth for. That requires the discipline of making a decision that "getting face time with the folks in sales", "learning the violin" etc should be on your someday maybe list.

              Both of the above are things that I have to do structurally in the weekly review: I often find actions that I just don't seem to be getting done are ones that I have either failed to boil down to the real next doable movement OR that I have subconciously put them on the back-burner.

              The purpose of the weekly review is to keep your lists transparent, attractive and representative: give yourself the gift...

              Good hunting!