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Converting project tasks into next actions

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  • Converting project tasks into next actions

    Hi there,

    I'm new to this forum and I'm happy about it. So many fellows

    This may sound ridiculous for most of you professionals, but I'd really like to know how to convert project's tasks into next actions.

    Creating a project is easy: task1, task2, task3. Then regarding locations where to do them is also easy:

    project x
    task1 (@home)
    task2 (@computer)
    task3 (@call)

    Now I know task1 belongs to the next action list subcategory @home, because I have to do this at first. But what about the other tasks? Is it good to write them immediatelly down to their context lists? Then it may confuse me because when I'm in front of my computer, I cannot "do" task2 because I haven't already finished task1.
    Or should I wait? Only when I have done task1 @home, then I can put task2 to the @computer list? In that case it nevertheless looks like a fragment. Waiting till weekly review may endure too long time. So what to do? Maybe inserting at task1 within the @home list an additional information to put task2 into @computer after solving task1?

    next action
    task1 (project x, subsequently put task2 to @computer)

    And when I've done task1, I write down task2 to the @computer list (here also with advice to put task3 to @call)?
    - Or maybe I'm completely in wrong way of GTD...

    What do you think is the finest method to jump from one task to another by using your next action lists? Which techniques (or tricks) are most effective for you?


  • #2
    I assume you are organizing with paper and pen. Then:

    If task1 need to be done before you can proceed to task2 and task3, don't put task2 and task3 on your next action list.

    If you are using a electronic organizer, maybe:

    There's a priority function (I don't know the exact name) where you can set to hide task2 and task3 before task1 is completed. then, after task1 is done, task2 and task3 will appear sequentially like magic.

    Btw, I am using MyLifeOrganized, a computerized list manager with this function if you wanna know more.

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      Hi Shaumi, welcome to the forums.

      This is my personal opinion, so please don't take it as the "right" way to do GTD.

      For large projects I have found that it's more efficient to write down just the very next actions that I plan to do as soon as possible (like, today or at most tomorrow). Otherwise I "go numb" to my next actions lists and start to ignore them, because they contain outdated and unnecessary things as my plans evolve and change. Because of this, I rely on project notes and regular (even daily) reviews of certain projects to keep me on track and to feed myself "fresh" next actions.


      • #4
        It's a good idea to put task2 in @computer list after you have done task1 @home. The fragmented feeling will go away as you get used to this way of working. The weekly review is a safety net which will catch you if you forget to add task2 in the @computer immediately after completing task1.



        • #5
          good point

          great call, i found the same thing.

          If i know im doing it (bear in mind things change) I write the action down but dont tag it, i.e. I dont copy it to my NA list.

          The reason for this is that I prefer to think up all my actions in one lump, then do them all later. If i dont write it down, especially if I already know what it is, then its in my head, or i have to rethink in the future.


          • #6
            In Omnifocus there's a feature that allows you to specify if a project is sequential or parallel. I think in the given example we are talking about sequential projects.

            Conversely, in a parallel project it may be so that Task 2 can be 'next action' together with Task 1.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Schaumi View Post
              But what about the other tasks?
              First of all welcome Shaumi, so one more fellow! Great!

              ..some one ( Brent?), I think, use the someday category to park future next actions. I prefer not to list all the future next actions....because...after an action you could develop a slightly different consequent next action thanks to the new experience you had.

              So I think that the project list and the weekly review has to drive the future....

              As other said...this is my two cents if it help...
              Last edited by clango; 02-24-2010, 11:50 AM.


              • #8
                Thank you all for your tips.

                They are very inspiring.

                My own method (even before I used GTD) is to give estimated duration to every task. This has a double effect: 1. it shows whether it's actionable or not (enough time available?) and 2. it gives a motivation kick - I'll try to get it done in less time, just like in a competition game with yourself.

                When I began to adopt GTD, I feared to give up this manner. But then I detected that both ways don't exclude but complement each other. Since then I benefit from both