Having completed a "next action", then what?

PatrickRe

Registered
Hi there,
I'm currently implementing GTD in my life. There is still one bigger question left for a best practice for which I haven't found an answer in the book:

Let's say I have a project that will likely need 10+ separate actions to complete. In the beginning I put the project in the project list and define the next physical action that I put on a corresponding next action list.

After having completed this action I delete it from the next actions list and then what? Do I immediately define a next action for this project and put it on the corresponding next action list? Or will I define a new, next action the next time I review my project list (e.g. weekly review)?

I know that I can do it however I like but in the beginning I'd like to stick to the best practice and later adjust it to my needs when I've had some experience.

Thanks,
Patrick
 

Gardener

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I believe that the best practice is to add another Next Action, and the Weekly Review (among all the other things it does) catches the projects for which you forgot to do that.

But I could ever so easily be wrong.
 

TesTeq

Registered
Hi there,
I'm currently implementing GTD in my life. There is still one bigger question left for a best practice for which I haven't found an answer in the book:

Let's say I have a project that will likely need 10+ separate actions to complete. In the beginning I put the project in the project list and define the next physical action that I put on a corresponding next action list.

After having completed this action I delete it from the next actions list and then what? Do I immediately define a next action for this project and put it on the corresponding next action list? Or will I define a new, next action the next time I review my project list (e.g. weekly review)?

I know that I can do it however I like but in the beginning I'd like to stick to the best practice and later adjust it to my needs when I've had some experience.

Thanks,
Patrick
VVVVV
Since it's a common misconception maybe it should be addressed by @DavidAllen. I hope he'll write a short essay titled "What to do AFTER the Next Action". In the GTD book we've got instructions what to do before the Next Action - how to decide which Next Action to choose. But I can't find any tips what to do when the Next Action is done. @John Forrister @Oogiem
 

vaughan76

Registered
Personally I just define the next action right then if I know what it should be. If I’ve got time, sometimes I’ll go ahead and do the second next action right then as well. Why wait?
 

Tom_Hagen

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When I define project I try to - if possible - write down every next action in logical order. After completing one I mark next action as "active". Sometimes it is not possible to define all next actions. It means that in some point I don't know what to do next because it depends on "story development". It also means that when I complete last known action I am able to define next - and I do this immediately. Works for me.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Let's say I have a project that will likely need 10+ separate actions to complete. In the beginning I put the project in the project list and define the next physical action that I put on a corresponding next action list.

After having completed this action I delete it from the next actions list and then what? Do I immediately define a next action for this project and put it on the corresponding next action list? Or will I define a new, next action the next time I review my project list (e.g. weekly review)?
I usually add as many actions that I can define well at the beginning and my software tool automatically puts the next action ready for me to work on when I have finished one. If I come to a point where I don't have any more actions defined I'll try to add one then at that point. Other people will keep working on a project and use next actions more like a bookmark and often don't check off the various actions in between because they didn't write them down or add them to their lists.

Waiting until the weekly review isn't a good idea. That should be only to catch those projects you missed keeping updated during the week. Many projects would get hopelessly behind if you only added a next action to them once a week.
 

biscuittoman

Registered
A more concrete example would help I think.

Let's say you define the project as, "Go to a movie this week". Your "next action" list would be:

- Search on the internet for the movie schedule at a movie theater nearby

Having found a movie that you would want to watch, the next action should be:

- Book the movie "x" at the time slot "y"

At this point assuming there are no actions to do left for this particular event, you would just put this event on your calendar. But let's say this requires a few more steps due to the event time, such as, you would need to feed the cat before leaving the apartment. Then, you could add a next action to this project as:

- Feed the cat before leaving the apartment

And additionally you could add a reminder on your calendar/task list for this next action. For a project with sequentially arranged tasks such as this one the next action defines itself. For a more detailed project the number of next actions could be many more. And these next actions do not need to be completed within same context. (e.g., you could do one while your are doing errands, and the next one could be at home) Then, you could just pick any action to do when you are in the relevant context. It could be an action from this particular project list, or any standalone next action that don't belong to a project. You have the freedom to choose.
 

Sarahsuccess

Registered
After having completed this action I delete it from the next actions list and then what? Do I immediately define a next action for this project and put it on the corresponding next action list? Or will I define a new, next action the next time I review my project list (e.g. weekly review)?

I know that I can do it however I like but in the beginning I'd like to stick to the best practice and later adjust it to my needs when I've had some experience.
I think if it takes less than 2 minutes to add the next action, then add it. If it takes less than 2 minutes to do the next action then do it.
 
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