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Outlook GTD plugin - next action/project combination

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  • Outlook GTD plugin - next action/project combination

    Hi everyone,

    I have been following GTD for a while using the GTD Outlook plugin and want to check that I am on the right track.

    I was about to do a weekly review and had been listening to some of the podcasts/reading a bit on the web to try and clarify the relationship between next acitons and projects.

    Chapter 7 in the book talks about 'Organizing: Setting Up the Right Buckets' and using the wikipedia summary it says:

    Once processing is complete, one needs a way to organize the output. Allen gives the seven primary places to keep output and tips and tricks on making these places work. These areas include: a "Projects" list, project support material, calendared actions and information, "Next Actions" lists, a "Waiting For" list, reference material, and a "Someday/Maybe" list. These categories should be kept distinct from each other.

    I have seen similar recommendations from forum members who stress it is important to keep the categories distinct, certainly when getting familiar with the process.

    It seems that the GTD outlook plugin blends these 2 categories. When you set up a project and add the next action, you also need to add a category to take advantage of the 'context first' principle when deciding on what to do next. So you have a project, with a next action that also has a category. I suppose this isn't a problem as long as you can review them seperately - ie as long as every task listed under a project also has an 'Action category' selected (ie @Computer, @Errand etc).

    I was listening to the 'Critical Success Factors: Weekly Review' podcast today and remember it was recommended to look at your next action list by category first and then have a look at your project list. With Outlook I think this would mean:

    - first select the 'active tasks by action' option as your current view and review (this step can be a bit tricky unless you have given the tasks titles that make sense without the project context)

    - second select the 'active tasks by project (or subproject if you use them) view and collapse all select 'collapse all groups' and then review simply the project headings to see if any need moving to 'someday/incubation', deleting as they are complete or new ones need to be added

    Am I on the right track?

    Best regards,


  • #2
    Yes, exactly. There are a couple of other views that I use frequently in order to identify things that have fallen through. For example I have an @Waitingfor view grouped by the Delegated To field in order to identify any @Waitingfor tasks that do not have the Delegated To field filled in. I also use Delegated To in @Agenda items where the name in Delegated To is really "Agenda For". For my direct reports I have a view 1:1 - Name which includes @Agenda items, @Waitingfor items and Projects that have been delegated to that person.

    Depending on your situation there may be other views you'll want to set up but the first two you mentioned are the most useful.