Projects and next actions

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Coachrubi, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. Coachrubi

    Coachrubi Registered

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    When you create a project, do you have the next actions for that project in the same notebook or page with that project, or does it go on a separate next actions list?

    If it does go on a separate list, do all next actions for each of your projects, let's just say you have 10 projects you're working on, go on one single next actions list?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Store each Project plan in its reference document/note/notebook/page. Put Next Actions on @context lists.
    Put Next Actions on @context lists. You will rarely have more than one Next Action per Project.
     
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  3. thomasbk

    thomasbk Registered

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    For something straightforward like "fix the car" that may be true, but I've found that complex projects often have simultaneous tasks occurring. For instance, different teams can be working on discrete pieces that need to come together on a specific date.
     
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  4. thomasbk

    thomasbk Registered

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    It sounds like you're using a paper organizer. It's been a while since I've looked at it, but I recall that the setup guide was extremely helpful with concrete examples. It's definitely worth downloading if you haven't already.
     
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  5. Coachrubi

    Coachrubi Registered

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    Thanks for your reply TesTeq. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a project list is a list of all your projects like an index. For example, plan vacation, organize my office, buy ingredients for chocolate cake, and so on.
    But what is a project plan? How does that look? Are there any examples online that you can point me to? I bought the projects audio but I'm still confused on what a project plan is even though they had PDFs with pictures, it still doesn't explain the project plan in detail.
    Also, what do you do if you have three next steps that you have to take care of? For example I have to call three different contractors to follow up whether or not work was done for a home buyer as an example. Do you list them all as next actions like, call the , call the stucco company, call the cabinet company. I know these all go on the calls list, but what if they don't? I hope that makes sense.
     
  6. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    A project plan contains all necessary actions to complete the project. Only a small fraction of these will be next actions and some actions might not be in your project plan since they arise during the work on that project.
    One important rule here: do as much planning as necessary but don't overdo it ;)
    You should be able to make progress in most projects without defining a project plan. Just make sure that every project has a next action.

    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
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  7. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I think it is probably better to talk about project support rather than a project plan. Project support is everything about the project that’s not a next action. Important dates, constraints, phone numbers, meeting notes, possible future actions, everything. David Allen says no two projects require exactly the same kind of support, and I think that’s right. GTD focuses on next actions, and favors planning only as much as is needed. You don’t want to get hung up on some ideal plan you came up with when you started; typically you learn progressively more as you go along. The natural planning model is an iterative model that helps keep projects on track.

    Where does project support material go? This gets a little tricky. Big projects tend to require more support material. A folder of papers, a document on your computer- there’s no right answer, and most people use more than one method. If you use a digital list tool, you should use one with a note field. This is a handy place to store small amount of project support information.

    The weekly review will help you tie together the next actions on your lists with the status of your projects. Some people like the capabilities of specialized tools which can tie projects and next actions together. Omnifocus and Things are well-known for this on macs and iPhones. My own preference, paraphrasing Einstein, is for a system that’s as simple as possible, but not simpler.
     
  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Yes. The Project list is just a list - an index.

    Project support materials/plans are perfectly described by @Geeko and @mcogilvie above.

    A Next Action is an action that you can do NOW without any dependencies on other actions or conditions (in a given @context).

    So if you can call the stucco company and call the cabinet company independently you've got two Next Actions in the @call context.

    But if you need information from the stucco company when you call the cabinet company - only the "call the stucco company" is the Next Action. And now - what about the "call the cabinet company" action which is not the Next Action? You can use three methods:
    1. Put it in the Project's support material. The drawback? You would have to somehow know that you should review the Project's support material looking for potential Next Actions.
    2. Put it on the @WaitingFor list. Theoretically reasonable but you would also have to somehow know that you should review @WaitingFor list at this moment.
    3. Combine both dependent actions into one Next Action: "call the stucco company AND THEN call the cabinet company." That's what I would do.
     

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