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Too many next actions

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  • Too many next actions

    I also like docta have too many next actions. They number in the hundreds.

    I typically think of something, then it goes on a next action list in a context. Usually, there are multiple things on my context lists that are related, in that they are part of the same project.

    I am coming to believe that this is not a good idea. I.e., the problem is that I don't have a small number of next actions related to a project but a large number.

    I'd like to start forcing myself to ask whether something should automatically go on a next action list just because it appears in my head, or first go to a projects (or other higher level list, like objectives or responsibilities) so I can focus like a laser on those few things. That way, I won't feel overwhelmed by looking at my next actions....

    I'd like to get your input re: this idea.



  • #2
    Just a question to clarify...are you suggesting moving the LESS important or MORE important next actions to another list?

    I also have an unmanageable NA list at the moment. I just realized that I should move the less important stuff to my Someday list even if it is a single action. (I kept thinking of Someday/Maybe as projects.)

    I think if you have next action ideas that are related to a project but you don't want to clutter your NA list with them because they are low priority you should keep them in a separate list by Project, review weekly, and add to the NA list when they become needed.

    But I'm very new to GTD so I'm probably not the one to be giving advice! Good luck!


    • #3
      Not sure if this will help or not but --
      When you're getting oriented to the GTD way of doing life--you have to constantly remind yourself (I did ) that the "lists" are not a result of the process --you had those lists already but they were in your head or on various "todo" lists before. All GTD did was to gather them together in one place.

      I've been "practicing" GTD for 4 years and one lesson it's taken me a long time to learn is that there's no hard fast "system design" for GTD.

      It's all about getting the stuff out of your head and into some system of lists that you'll review at the appropriate time /context. I think David avoided going into great detail on system design because he didn't want to give the impression there was a "certain way " to do GTD.

      If your projects are very complex you probably want to limit yourself to listing only the "very next action" for each one on your NA lists, and keep the rest of the project plan elsewhere (a file --an outline etc ) too many parts visible at once can be a problem


      • #4
        Too many next actions

        Joe - it may help for you to distinguish between "next" actions and "subsequent sequential" actions. When you mention multiple next actions related to a single project, I take that to mean that any one of them can be done next (kind of like multiple independant pathways in a flow diagram). If that's truly the case, then perhaps you just have too many things to do

        If, however, some are subsequent steps dependant on completion of other items, then they're not truly "next" actions.


        • #5
          To follow up on what John said, you still can, and probably should, capture them. I do it in project-support materials, making lists of the things that need to be done and the order they need to be done in. Depending on your method, these can be captured on paper, in a project-support list on a palm, or somewhere else.