How to handle depended task

Hasan Bjaili

How to handle dependent tasks in GTD. For example:

Task 1 (Check if product 1 or product 2 is the right one)
Task 2A (Buy product 1)
Task 2B (Buy product 2)

Other example

Task 1. RND buy a X car.
Task 2. Go to car dealer and buy X car

I know that task 2 (in the car example) depends on Task 1. How to handle it? When I start actioning my tasks task 2 pops up.

What the best practices in GTD.


Hasan, are you using a software program to manage your GTD system?

As a best practice, only the very next things that can be done should go on your next actions lists (or if time sensitive, your calendar). Any dependent tasks you have outlined should be stored as supporting project materials until they are needed. Review this outline during your weekly review or whenever the way ahead on the project is unclear.

Hope this helps!

Jodie E. Francis

GTD Novice
RS356 is right, typically only the very next action would be in the Next Action list, the rest belong in Project Support. But David Allen also says you need to plan as much as you need to, in order to get the project off your mind. I find it cumbersome to move subsequent actions from Project Support to Next Action list, so often have extra actions in my NA lists... which can get messy.

Yesterday in the Todoist implementation guide for GTD I read the suggestion to assign context only to the very Next Action - a few more NAs could be listed against the Project, but because there is no Context assigned they won't show up as a 'choice' on your Next Action lists. Note this approach only works for software that supports both Context and Project views of your Next Actions, but may be something to consider.

In your example you could also try throwing Task 2 into your Waiting For list... and catch it during your Weekly Review if not before.