Next Action with deadlines

Oogiem

Registered
Folke said:
It seems to me to open the Pandora's box even wider open, drowning you in dates. I want a clear, clean, stable view. I want the facts clearly visible, not obstructed by guesses and expectations, and the final decision is mine to make.
I also infer from your various postings that you never have to deal with a project that has hundreds or thousands of moving pieces whether you call the sub-projects or just several hundred individual projects, that you never have to do work that must be done by a specific time that can take high energy or many hours of concentrated time to do, that you never have to deal much with other people and scheduling things with them and that you can easily decide to ignore deadlines because you don't have any.

Personally I'd hate to have so little on my plate that I could do that. I like the plethora of choices I have and the many potential projects I can choose from to be working on at any given time. I like decently large lists from whihc to choose and I also like to allovate specific times to do critical work so that I don't get consumed by things that may be urgent but not important.
 

Folke

Registered
Incorrect inferences, Oogie:

Oogiem said:
... you never have to deal with a project that has hundreds or thousands of moving pieces whether you call the sub-projects or just several hundred individual projects
They have countless pieces - but I don't count them or even list them all, I may not even know what they will be until the project is further underway.

Oogiem said:
... you never have to do work that must be done by a specific time
I have lots of that. A promise is a promise. But I usually refrain from setting "artificial" sub-deadlines.

Oogiem said:
... that can take high energy or many hours of concentrated time to do
I have lots of work like that. But I don't see how writing it on the calendar would increase the time or energy available. I may sometimes tell people I will be busy certain days without telling them why (none of their business) - this is to limit interruptions, but it also puts some pressure on me to make the best use of that time.

Oogiem said:
... you never have to deal much with other people
Most of my work involves other people. This is one further reason why everything is hard to predict.

Oogiem said:
... scheduling things with them
Scheduling is a necessary cornerstone of collaborative work. The agreed time plan becomes my hard landscape input. A promise is a promise. But I do not schedule my own work - I just make sure I meet the agreed deadline (delivery point).

Oogiem said:
... you can easily decide to ignore deadlines because you don't have any.
I generally do not self-impose deadlines. To me, a deadline is just a fact about the task, not a priority or commitment, nor a planning instrument. Important deadlines, such as contracted delivery dates, I take very seriously. Unimportant deadlines, such as last day to sign up for a conference that I am not even sure I want to go to, I often ignore.

Oogiem said:
... little on my plate
How did you manage to infer anything about quantity from any of the above?

Oogiem said:
I like the plethora of choices I have and the many potential projects I can choose from to be working on at any given time. I like decently large lists from whihc to choose and I also ... don't get consumed by things that may be urgent but not important.
Me, too. Nice to agree on at least something. (Except I don't feel the need to allocate time, which is the part I left out in the above quotation.)
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
"They have countless pieces - but I don't count them or even list them all, I may not even know what they will be until the project is further underway".

I think the point is the kind of complex projects that have detailed actions plans with many components that ARE KNOWN AND PLANNED is what chirmer and Oogiem are talking about. I too have many of these. This is completely different than a project that may be complex, but you hop along one or two next actions at a time. I have some of those too..
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
"I have lots of work like that. But I don't see how writing it on the calendar would increase the time or energy available".

It is a mindset and a philosophy. There is a LOT of research that clearly shows that scheduled work in this regard has a much better chance of being completed. If it does not work for you, then of course, fine. THAT is YOUR style. But YOUR style does not work for a LOT of people. And yes....we are actively engaged in and are card-carrying members of the GTD club. ;)
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I am sorry, Folke. I am coming across WAY too argumentative. Just know that I have deep respect for your approaches. I share many of them and standard GTD is at the heart of everything I do. Cheers!
 

Oogiem

Registered
Longstreet said:
I think the point is the kind of complex projects that have detailed actions plans with many components that ARE KNOWN AND PLANNED is what chirmer and Oogiem are talking about. I too have many of these. This is completely different than a project that may be complex, but you hop along one or two next actions at a time. I have some of those too..
EXACTLY! Most of my complex projects are well defined, well known and do not change. I may not be able to move those project forward due to energy, $, season, weather or other issues but the basic plan does not change at all or very little once planned.
 
D

Disis

Guest
Thanks for the great discussion about highlighting critical items !

My opinion is that planning our week in our calendar (by scheduling events with ourselves to complete specific tasks) to ensure things will happen (and, in some cases, to effectively force context switching) is a technique that comes in addition to GTD principles rather than being a non-GTD thing.

GTD states that it's not effective to manage your to-do list in your calendar because you will most probably end up rewriting your to-do list every day hence the purpose of the Next Action list which is (basically) your to-do list of things that don't need to be done at a specific day/time.

Personally I consider the fact of scheduling critical Next Action in the calendar (which also stay in the Next Action list) in order to 'force' things to happen, or to have a better overview of the priorities as another productivity technique that some people might find useful, so long it doesn't clutter the hard landscape.

GTD doesn't mention morning/evening routines, 3 most important tasks for the day, pomodoro technique which are other productivity techniques. It doesn't mean that using them is non-GTD. The calendar is a sacred space, maybe that's why it is a sensitive topic !
 

fwade

Registered
TesTeq - just to addin a resource. Peter Gollwitzer from NYU has perhaps done most of the work in this area. He calls tasks-that-have-been-given-a-scheduled-time-for-completion "implementation intentions" for short. I recommend his work highly to everyone, plus that of many other researchers he has either collaborated with or guided.

There's a big jump , however, from scheduling the occasional activity to scheduling all of one's activities. There, the quality of our tools lets us down.
 

Folke

Registered
A word of caution as regards conclusions: TesTeq's example above (Dan Ariely) clearly suggests something, but it is hard to say exactly what it suggests most.

The whole setup of the experiment reminds me of "cheap" (textbook) sales tricks, which all aim at getting somebody to commit to another person (the salesman) to do something. There are plenty of such tricks, many of them based on first creating at least some desire for the "thing" (vaccination in this case), then creating an (ofted staged) impression that the opportunity to say yes only exists now, and finally to get some token of commitment (or a legally binding commitment) right now. If you ever bother to hear a salesman out when they call you, you will notice that there is a range of variations to this theme that they typically use. In this case committing to a specific time is "harder" than just promising to "keep it in mind" etc.

The question is still open whether a person would see the same effect if he booked something with himself only, e.g. make an appointment with himself to go shopping tomorrow between 3 and 4.

I think if it really works for someone to make appointments with himself, it is probably good for that person to do so (unless the person is "selling himself short" using that old canned trick rather than figure out something that would work even better for him, e.g. formulating more useful contexts.) But I agree with fwade that it makes a big difference if this scheduling is done only occasionally or whether it is done all the time as the predominant method. It also would seem to matter a lot if there are in fact at least some "hard" elements in it, or if it is totally arbitrary. And, as fwade said, "There, the quality of our tools lets us down."
 

TesTeq

Registered
fwade said:
TesTeq - just to addin a resource. Peter Gollwitzer from NYU has perhaps done most of the work in this area. He calls tasks-that-have-been-given-a-scheduled-time-for-completion "implementation intentions" for short. I recommend his work highly to everyone, plus that of many other researchers he has either collaborated with or guided.

There's a big jump , however, from scheduling the occasional activity to scheduling all of one's activities. There, the quality of our tools lets us down.
1. Great resource, thank you!

2. As far as I understand we all agree that scheduling can help us get some things done but overloading our calendars with stuff is just an unproductive wishful thinking.
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
TesTeq said:
1. Great resource, thank you!

2. As far as I understand we all agree that scheduling can help us get some things done but overloading our calendars with stuff is just an unproductive wishful thinking.
I agree completely with TesTeq! Scheduling should be used very carefully. The vast majority of my "scheduling" is project and areas of focus blocks on my calendar. And even those, I use sparingly. There is a reason why intuition in the moment is powerful in GTD.
​
 

GTD-Sweden

Registered
Alvin12 said:
These are truly fascinating inquiries, extraordinary post. I have constantly discovered the time-setting vitality less demanding to get a handle on than the fourth need in GTD. For me prioritization - and concentrate on the essential - is the center of efficiency. What's more, it would be profitable if the GTD-onion would be peeled a bit futher around there.
This post is also a duplicate (some of the words are replaced with same meaning words) of my post; #68 "These are really interesting questions, great post. I have always found the time-context-energy easier to grasp than the fourth priority in GTD. For me prioritization - and focus on the important - is the core of productivity. And it would be valuable if the GTD-onion would be peeled a bit futher in this area."
 

davidcoforum

Administrator
Staff member
GTD-Sweden said:
This post is also a duplicate (some of the words are replaced with same meaning words) of my post; #68 "These are really interesting questions, great post. I have always found the time-context-energy easier to grasp than the fourth priority in GTD. For me prioritization - and focus on the important - is the core of productivity. And it would be valuable if the GTD-onion would be peeled a bit futher in this area."
Thanks for pointing this one out. Post deleted.
 
Top