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Next Action Support Material

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  • Next Action Support Material

    Looking for suggestions...
    I'm at the initial stages of implementation, have processed my INs and have lots of Context lists detailing Next Actions.

    Some of my NAs have associated support material but not enough to warrant a separate file. If I'm reading the book correctly, I think DA suggests a "Pending" stack-basket for this.

    My question is: should this stuff be sorted or separated in any way? A couple of ideas come to mind and I'm wondering if anyone has tried any of these and could give me feedback. Other suggestions also welcome!

    First, I could have a file for each Context (emails, paperwork, etc.) although I'm afraid a lot of it will just fall into paperwork or misc.

    Another method (which I think is very anti-GTD), is to sort it by priority.

    Another thought is to go thru it during my Weekly Review and pull some things that I would like to (or have to) get done during the week and put those in a separate file on top.

    Part of the problem is that I keep looking at this basket of work and wanting to do it rather than looking thru those long lists of Next Actions. This is really not a good idea because my highest priority NAs are in Project files or email files not this Pending basket.

    Some examples of the stuff that's in there:
    * Stuff to send to my mother along with a card I need to write to her (need to do this week)
    * A catalog to review to pick out Alternative Gifts (must be done this week)
    * an email I need to respond to (usually don't print these, just put in an @ACTION email file; guess I printed it because I REALLY need to do it soon)
    * a recipe for swedish meatballs that I have to make for a church event this weekend
    * receipts to submit for reimbursement
    * several pictures that I need to refile in my son's photo albums
    * a letter I need to send to governor/delegates/etc
    * my labwork referral slip for bloodwork I need to have done
    * my sewing machine manual with instructions on cleaning and oiling
    * bank stmts to reconcile (for an acct that isn't used much)
    * Trader Joe's flier with stuff I want to buy marked

    As you can see, it's just a bunch of miscellany! I'm guessing (hoping!) that after 6 months on GTD, this will be a much smaller pile because I will be caught up and do more things immediately. In the meantime though, it's quite a stack.

    Thanks for any advice you can share....

  • #2
    I use tickler files for this sort of thing. Make a decision about when you want to act on these and throw the items in the appropriate tickler files.



    • #3
      Re: Next Action Support Material

      This is what I would do if that stuff was mine.

      I have a standing file, in it are folders one for each context list, plus the tickler file. I have a phone folder, a paperwork folder, a computer folder, a house task folder (though most house task supporting materials are located in the places in the house where they are put away), and an errands folder, though now that my errands list is always short, I tend to just put errands support material into the bag I carry with me everywhere. For a while I would just always take my errands folder with me when I went out, but I did most of the errands that needed the stuff that was in that folder. Those are my five main context areas for home work.

      stuff to send to mother - paperwork folder
      catalog to review - add to my reading material stack.
      printed email - computer folder
      meatball recipe - with my other recipes, to get out when I need it. The next action to make the meatballs would be on my house task context list.
      receipts for reimbursement - paperwork folder
      pictures for son's album - upstairs with the other loose pictures (ouch).
      letter to governor - paperwork folder
      labwork slip - phone folder if I had to call for an appointment, then to tickler file after I made the appointment. Or if I didn't need an appointment, into the bag I always carry with me outside of the house.
      sewing machine manual - file it away in the sewing room file cabinet under "sewing machine" or stand it up in the bookcase in the sewing room. If I had to read it I would put it with the catalog, on the reading pile.
      bank statements to reconcile - depends on how many. At this point it is < 2 minute task for me, so I just reconcile and file in the file cabinet. But if I had a whole bunch, I would make a specific project folder for this. If there weren't too many but I was going to defer, then into the paperwork folder
      Trader Joe's flier - in my bag if I was done circling items (been there done that). Otherwise on my reading stack.

      It took me a while to get away from using this stuff as a reminder to do it, even after I had lists of projects and next actions.

      I have an outbox too. My mother-in-law's husband was a former corporate executive, and when I told him about GTD he told me it was important to have an outbox. I consider this sort of a folder for errand support material as well.



      • #4
        Thanks for all the suggestions. I think having a Paperwork file and an Errand file will work for me, but I'm afraid to generate too many files since my procrastination-method of choice has generally been sorting papers and rewriting TO DO lists. I think I'll also distribute some of the items into my Tickler files to try and get them done. An Outbox is a good idea too. Thanks for the advice!