Yes . . . using more specific Verbs sounds very helpful. Thank youA good next action can usually be written as a concrete verb with a clear object:
Take Fluffy to groomers.
Draft Declaration of Independence.
Study Ch. 2 of Necronomicon.
You might find some next actions too big, so you correct to:
Draft first paragraph of Declaration of Independence.
You are making the object more manageable.
Some verbs are tricky. You may think “plan” or “develop”
are concrete enough, but they often are not.
Perhaps it is clearer to “Take notes on” rather than ”Study.”
If you have any doubts about doing a next action, take a look at how it is phrased.
Love the 'break-down' technique and the "just do" vs. "but first" Thank youFor me, a next action is something that I can "just do", that I know how to do, and something that I can do in one sitting. Not everybody has the "in one sitting" requirement.
And if there's a "but first", it's not the next action. For example, maybe you want to make chocolate cupcakes, but first you have to get the ingredients. Then "make chocolate cupcakes" is not the next action. And if you don't know how to make cupcakes, it's not a next action--your next action would probably be something about researching how to make cupcakes.
Read all the works of Rumer Godden: Project.
Make a list of all the works of Rumer Godden: Action.
Get a copy of An Episode of Sparrows: Action
Read An Episode of Sparrows: Maybe action, or maybe your action would be a repeating action of "Read a chapter of An Episode of Sparrows".
Grow my own pumpkins for Halloween: Project
Ask Joe how to grow pumpkins: Action
Buy compost: Action--unless you have no idea how or where to buy compost, in which case it might be a project.
Make appointment with Joe for digging pumpkin bed: Action
Order Orange Rave pumpkin seeds: Action
Love the break-down and the "just do" vs. "but first" Thank you
H U G E: "That's the sort of thing that hangs people up. "Change oil in car" may be dependent on a bunch of other stuff that you *can't do right now* every time you look at the list, and without figuring out the dependencies you may never get it done.DA uses "change oil in car" as a great example. He says that's not the next action unless you have tools in hand, and you're dressed for grease.
"Change oil in car" *FEELS* like a next action, but it's not. What do you have to do? Do you need an appointment? Great, where? Frank at work had a place he was suggesting. Do you remember where it was? No? You need to contact Frank. If it's 9pm, you probably can't call Frank - but you can talk to him at work the next day. *That* defined action gets parked in your system - "Ask Frank where to get oil changed".
The next day you talk to Frank. Once Frank recommends the place - Jim's Kwik Lube - you know "where", but you need to make the appointment. Do you have the phone number for Jim's Kwik Lube? Nope, but you can get it online. Maybe you can't do that until 5pm when you get done with a huge project. *That* defined action gets parked in your system - "Look up phone number for Jim's Kwik Lube".
5pm blows by, you don't get home until 8:00, and you look at your list. You Google for the phone number, but you can't call because Jim's is closed. *That* gets parked in your system - "Call Jim's Kwik Lube for appointment - 555-555-5555".
The next day you make the call, and set up the appointment for Friday. *That* goes on your calendar.
That's the sort of thing that hangs people up. "Change oil in car" may be dependent on a bunch of other stuff that you *can't do right now* every time you look at the list, and without figuring out the dependencies you may never get it done.
Or if you're sitting next to Frank when you realize you need to change the oil, you might be able to breeze through all of those steps in about 5 minutes. But realizing that there *are* all of those steps is the Big Win.