Next Action with deadlines

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Vincent Sung, Sep 14, 2015.

  1. Vincent Sung

    Vincent Sung Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2015
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi All! I have been practicing GTD for the last 2 years, but was always a bit unclear on this one thing. Lets say you have a project that has a deadline, for discussion sake, lets say the project is piano recital on October 1st. The next action defined for this project is "practice piano". Should "practice piano" be put on Calendar? or on the Next Actions list? the practicing doesn't need to happen on any specific date or time, so it doesn't feel right putting it on the calendar... but if it's in the next action list, how do I make sure I will get to it in the sea of other next actions from other projects that may not have a deadline?
     
  2. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    First, try always adding a verb to your projects. So your project could be Complete practicing piano for upcoming recital. As for practice times, I would schedule those directly into your calendar. I suspect you practice the piano every week and perhaps every day, I do not know. Why not schedule those times in the calendar so they are protected times? As for your project, perhaps there are other actions that are different that would go on your next actions lists, such as obtain the music folder(s), notify friends of the recital by email, have formal clothes cleaned, etc.
     
  3. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    If you follow my advice above, the project may now be "Complete preparations for upcoming recital".
     
  4. Roger

    Roger Registered

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    505
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This comes up from time to time. My advice is to consider this bit from (the old edition of) the book:

    I would suspect that "Piano Recital: Oct 1" is information that may be useful to me on several dates approaching that event.

    Cheers,
    Roger
     
  5. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Messages:
    4,174
    Likes Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Really? :shock:

    When I was playing a lead guitar in a rock'n'roll band and then when I was a "Bob Dylan"-style singer I was practicing every day 60-90 minutes. It was a very "hard landscape" element of my life. I didn't need to schedule it - it was a part of my daily routine!
     
  6. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    ”"And when he wasn´t painting Bacon* lived a life of hedonistic excess, eating multiple rich meals a day, drinking tremendous quantities of alcohol, taking whatever stimulants were at hand, and generally staying out later and harder” than any of his contemporaries. And yet, as biographer Michael Peppiatt has written, Bacon was ”essentially a creature of habit” with a daily schedule that varied little over his career. Painting came first. Despite late night Bacon always woke at the first light of the day and worked for several hours, usually finishing around noon.” (ibooks, pages 24, Daily rituals - How great minds make time, find inspiration and get to work, my italics)." *Francis Bacon, one of the most famous abstract painters of the 20:th century.

    I read a great book: ”Daily rituals - How great minds make time, find inspiration and get to work” by Mason Currey and I highly recommend it.

    It is clear that the vast majority of the famous people in the book, from Mozart to Einstein, has deeply structured rituals (even the drunkard Bacon in the quote above) to get their deep work done. Ok, I´m pretty sure that they did not schedule in a calendar, but non the less - the act as they did - most of them have a highly fixt working schedule during the week that they, like Bacon, stuck to no matter what.

    Of cause we have to be flexible and adjust our schedule to new circumstances, as David Allen says. A lot of the great minds and artists produced their work with a big personal cost.

    But - in our age of distraction, I think you just have to schedule if you want great creative work done. Otherwise you will just run around and doing lower level tasks. At least - START with scheduling. Then, when it is an ingrained habit - you can loosen up with the scheduling and, perhaps like Bacon above, ”wake up at the first light of day” and no matter what get great work done.
     
  7. Folke

    Folke Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    There have been many other threads on this subject - or probably I should say these two subjects, because there are two entirely separate kinds of issues here that have been discussed very often and where people's opinions tend to differ a lot:

    1). To what extent do you (we) even write down familiar, repetitive actions? Some people write down even the most commonplace things, like eating meals, watching movies, reading novels, taking their daily medicins etc etc, whereas others (I am one of those) try to limit this. I think it is much easier (for me) to just sometimes assess such things in retrospect - have I exercised enough, have I eaten nutritiously enough, etc.

    2) To what extent do you use the calendar for ordinary next actions? Some people put next actions, that are not inherently date-bound in any way, on their calendar to give it extra focus or prominence. Longstreet apparently has taken up that habit and nowadays argues for its benefits. I myself not not use that practice; I find it counterproductive (for me).

    In your specific case, wanting to remember to practice enough before your recital on October 1, I would probably manage without much administration at all. I would probably write "Piano practice" on my next actions list, make sure it is visible (high up on the list or color marked etc). I would not check it off until the recital, so there would be only one action line representing all the instances of practice.

    I would also put "Piano recital" on the calendar for Oct 1. The recital itself unquestionably is a GTD hard calendar date.

    I would probably remember to practice even if I did not write it down anywhere, but with these two entries I would definitely be confident that I will see this thing (and be reminded of it) often enough whether I look at my next actions list or at my calendar. I would not bother to create separate items for each day's practice.
     
  8. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Franklin/Coveys new book ”"The 5 Choices - the path to extraordinary productivity”" (see an earlier post by Longstreet) is intended as an update of the classical theories of Stephen R Covey. The authors says they have gathered a big amount of data in order to ground their work in science (the new brain science included). The work has taken several years to finish. Therefore I think their take on scheduling is worth considering:

    "Scheduling a specific time and place to do something represents a higher-level commitment, and dramatically increases the likelihood that you will do it. This is because increased specificity cues your brain to take action when that time arrives. It also helps you manage your time against Q3* distractions, which can occur when somebody pops into your office because your calendar sees free. (ibooks, page 172, my italics)." ”Q3”= activities that are urgent but not important. "The quadrant of distraction."
     
  9. Folke

    Folke Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Yes, GTD-Sweden, I believe the vast majority of "structured people" hold the view that such scheduling is indeed beneficial. Longstreet is only one. You hear lots of people voicing that opinion, especially outside GTD circles, where it seems to be the absolutely predominant view, perhaps especially among people who are versed in project management methodologies, and perhaps it afflicts intellectuals more than intuitively oriented people. It seems that David Allen and his true fans are still in the minority compared to the massive hordes of intellectuals who put their faith in such routine scheduling.

    Roger pointed out a few posts earlier in this thread what David actually summarized in his first book regarding what types of stuff should go on the calendar. Not very much. And I agree with this much more restrictive approach. To me, that's one of the main points about GTD - it is what makes GTD acceptable to me and which also makes it stand out.
     
  10. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Welcome to the bleeding obvious:)
     
  11. Folke

    Folke Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
  12. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    4,202
    Likes Received:
    87
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Gender:
    Female
    I would do it one of two ways. If there are considerations on timing of the practice, not in the afternoon, not after 10pm or whatever then I'd probably block out time on my calendar for regular practice at whatever schedule I think I need with the notation "?practice for 1 Oct recital". The ? means it's nota hard commitment but rather one that I need to be in the right frame of mind to do so have blocked some specific thinking/practicing time on it. If the act of piano practice is only something that needs to be in the piano space to do I'd have a repeating action in my next actions list "practice for piano recital" that repeats X many days after completion with a stop date of 30 September. That action is part of a project that I'd rephrase as "Complete 1 Oct piano recital with glowing reviews" or something similar that indicates the result I want.
     
  13. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    " David actually summarized in his first book regarding what types of stuff should go on the calendar. Not very much. And I agree with this much more restrictive approach".

    And yet, David made it clear in the post I shared with you some time ago that it IS OKAY to schedule and block on your calendar as long as you are willing to renegotiate if things change. ;)
     
  14. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    And the debate continues:)
     
  15. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    No debate, I am just pointing out a recent post by David Allen on this topic. Each of us has to follow what we think is best. If matters not what someone else is doing.
     
  16. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I meant the debate weather one prefers scheduling or not. Obviously there are arguments for and against.
     
  17. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2002
    Messages:
    793
    Likes Received:
    90
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Professor of Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
    Location:
    University of Iowa
    Yes, we seem to have two camps on this. But I know for a fact that David Allen is okay with a scheduling approach although his books do not state that. But what I meant is that it does not have to be a debate. Each of us has to proceed in the manner in which they are most productive. If it means no calendar items except appointments or for actions that must be done that day -- fine. The only thing that bothers me if someone claims that a person who schedules time blocks on the calendar for doing -- whether it be for projects, next actions, whatever -- that person is not doing GTD and is breaking the rules. Interestingly, there is a wonderful webinar on GTD Connect entitled just that -- breaking the rules. And I do believe these coaches are "doing" GTD. ;)
     
  18. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    @Longstreet: what seems to happen is that when someone asks weather to schedule or not, each camp gives advice after his conviction. Then it becomes some kind of debate. And why not? The world, and the forum, would be a boring place without discussions...
     
  19. Folke

    Folke Registered

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2013
    Messages:
    845
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    16
    I have been breaking rules all my life. One such example, pertinent to this discussion, is when all the time management (scheduling) philosophies began to flourish in the '80s I broke all these new mantras by simply refusing to adopt them. I kept refusing, and it sometimes seemed I was absolutely alone in on the one hand striving for a clear structure but on the other hand not accepting any of the established planning structures. I wanted something based on hard facts, not on projected estimates, hopes, wishes and guesses. Then in 2011 I realized there was this other guy on the planet who apparently had very similar opinions and who had even written a book about that ten years earlier, and who had a large following and that there were ready-made apps for it ... wow; that was good news.

    Screwww scheduling ... haha ;-)
     
  20. GTD-Sweden

    GTD-Sweden Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     

Share This Page