Projects and Next Actions

Edward A

Registered
Hi All,

I'm getting on the wagon again!

Does every project have to have a next action if you are not ready to start working on the project?

For instance, I have a project called "All the Hard Drives are Either Used or Discarded"

It is on my projects lists. However, I don't have time to do anything on it at this point.

Can I just leave it there with no next actions or anything?

When I am ready to start working on it, then I add the next actions, etc?
 

Geeko

GTD since 2017
Every active project needs an item that will move it forward. This can be a next action, a calendar event or a waiting for.

Anything else should go on “someday/maybe” or – if you prefer – a “project on hold” or “not now” list. Just make sure that everything on your project list is actually active and has another item in your system attached to it.

Cheers,
Tristan
 

Oogiem

Registered
Does every project have to have a next action if you are not ready to start working on the project?

For instance, I have a project called "All the Hard Drives are Either Used or Discarded"

It is on my projects lists. However, I don't have time to do anything on it at this point.
If you don't have time to work on it now and it's not a priority then it's a someday/maybe item. Move it off your lists into whatever tool you use for holding things that are not actively being worked on It might be on-hold, or on paper or in something else separate from your mail task manager but whatever you choose get it out of your active lists.

Even though my list management tool, Omnifocus, allows for Projects on Hold that are hidden except when I choose to see them I found that for me I didn't like reviewing them in that tool. So I move all of my inactive projects out into DEVONThink. Evernote would also work. I use DT because my S/M items are written in txt files that correspond to major areas of focus and lists and I can sync them easily among all my devices and if I switch operating systems or machines I can also extract the data out easily. I am also cloud adverse so do not use cloud services like Evernote for that sort of stuff.
 

2097

Registered
Every active project needs an item that will move it forward. This can be a next action, a calendar event or a waiting for.
Yeah. Edward, is your hard drive project waiting for some other person or some event? I don't really understand what "is used or discarded" means. Or is the next action "use harddrives" or "discard harddrives"?
 

TesTeq

Registered
Yeah. Edward, is your hard drive project waiting for some other person or some event? I don't really understand what "is used or discarded" means. Or is the next action "use harddrives" or "discard harddrives"?
As far as I understand @Edward A 's "Hard Disk Project" is in the category "nice to be done". So it is waiting for some free time.
As far as I understand @Edward A has some hard disks that are not used so the project is about checking if they are still useful or should be discarded (erased and thrown away).
 

Edward A

Registered
Thanks everyone for the answers. It as been a slog to get through... Still working and trying to figure things out.

So I have a ton of projects that can't be active.

Do you recommend putting them in lists (I use trello) that would group them (ie. Personal, Finances, House, etc...) or just put them all in one list and just scan that list during my weekly reviews?
 

Tom_Hagen

Registered
Hi All,

I'm getting on the wagon again!...
What does it really mean - "I don't have time"? In fact at the present moment you have time to do only one thing. Does it mean you should have only one active project? Of course no! I prefer to have lots of active project with next action defined. Then I have choice about what I can do. Doesn't matter if I don't "touch" project lets say for month or two. But who knows? Maybe one day will be a "time gap" or I have will to move such a project forward. For me criterium for inactive project is some serious obstacle, which shall be overcame first, for instance - achieving some skills or equipment and so on.
 

MudStitches

Registered
Even though my list management tool, Omnifocus, allows for Projects on Hold that are hidden except when I choose to see them I found that for me I didn't like reviewing them in that tool. So I move all of my inactive projects out into DEVONThink. Evernote MyCFAVisit would also work. I use DT because my S/M items are written in txt files that correspond to major areas of focus and lists and I can sync them easily among all my devices and if I switch operating systems or machines I can also extract the data out easily. I am also cloud adverse so do not use cloud services like Evernote for that sort of stuff.
 

PeterByrom

Registered
As you'll have read on this thread, the key thing you need to decide about your project is whether it's:

  • Active
    • in which case, it should always have at least one next action or waiting for against it, to ensure that it's moving forward. You'll pick this up in the weekly review if you haven't during the course of the week.
  • Inactive - which could be either:
    • On Hold
      • You've made a commitment to get the project done, but you just can't get to it right now, so it's on hold and then during a weekly review you'll decide whether to re-activate the project or re-negotiate it (e.g. do you need to delegate the project to someone else or cancel it altogether if you can't re-activate it). No next actions need to go against anything on hold.
    • Someday Maybe
      • You've not got any commitment to do or finish the project, so it's entirely up to you whether you feel like you want to start / keep going on the project. You'll be able to decide this in the weekly review. No next actions need to go against anything which is in someday maybe.
"On Hold" is a third option that David Allen only recently conceded, so really, the fewest lists to keep are just two:

  • Projects which are active (commonly referred to as just the "projects list")
  • Projects which are inactive (usually referred to as "someday maybe").
Even keeping just those two lists will make a huge difference.

The rest is all to do with how you split those lists out.

For example, you could divide them into "personal" or "professional" areas of focus, or indeed, categories like "health", "finance", "family" etc.

The way you choose to split them out is entirely up to you. My favourite tool is Things 3, because it allows you to group projects by those areas, but also switch them between "active" and "someday" while preserving their place in those areas.

My recommendation would be, try to get by with as few lists as possible, and then expand them into those further categories when you feel like you need to.
 

Oogiem

Registered
ven though my list management tool, Omnifocus, allows for Projects on Hold that are hidden except when I choose to see them I found that for me I didn't like reviewing them in that tool. So I move all of my inactive projects out into DEVONThink.
I do exactly the same thing and for the same reasons, not liking to review on-hold projects in OF. DEVONThink gives me some needed separation between S/M and active so I really think it through before moving a project into active.
 

gtdstudente

Registered
As you'll have read on this thread, the key thing you need to decide about your project is whether it's:

  • Active
    • in which case, it should always have at least one next action or waiting for against it, to ensure that it's moving forward. You'll pick this up in the weekly review if you haven't during the course of the week.
  • Inactive - which could be either:
    • On Hold
      • You've made a commitment to get the project done, but you just can't get to it right now, so it's on hold and then during a weekly review you'll decide whether to re-activate the project or re-negotiate it (e.g. do you need to delegate the project to someone else or cancel it altogether if you can't re-activate it). No next actions need to go against anything on hold.
    • Someday Maybe
      • You've not got any commitment to do or finish the project, so it's entirely up to you whether you feel like you want to start / keep going on the project. You'll be able to decide this in the weekly review. No next actions need to go against anything which is in someday maybe.
"On Hold" is a third option that David Allen only recently conceded, so really, the fewest lists to keep are just two:

  • Projects which are active (commonly referred to as just the "projects list")
  • Projects which are inactive (usually referred to as "someday maybe").
Even keeping just those two lists will make a huge difference.

The rest is all to do with how you split those lists out.

For example, you could divide them into "personal" or "professional" areas of focus, or indeed, categories like "health", "finance", "family" etc.

The way you choose to split them out is entirely up to you. My favourite tool is Things 3, because it allows you to group projects by those areas, but also switch them between "active" and "someday" while preserving their place in those areas.

My recommendation would be, try to get by with as few lists as possible, and then expand them into those further categories when you feel like you need to.
"On Hold" while appreciating what you expressed . . . like to see/read the source of this addition. Thank you
 

PeterByrom

Registered
"On Hold" while appreciating what you expressed . . . like to see/read the source of this addition. Thank you
It was given during a GTD Level Two training seminar I attended in the UK, lead by Next Action Associates. They said that over the years, David found that a number of people had expressed discomfort with mixing together their "must do but can't get to now" projects with "bucket list" ideas, so he's conceded that a third category could exist called "Projects on Hold". This makes sense to me, and I was doing this before I even attended the seminar. It seems natural that one would place "commitments I have to fulfil" in a different "inactive" category to "commitments I haven't even made yet".
 

gtdstudente

Registered
It was given during a GTD Level Two training seminar I attended in the UK, lead by Next Action Associates. They said that over the years, David found that a number of people had expressed discomfort with mixing together their "must do but can't get to now" projects with "bucket list" ideas, so he's conceded that a third category could exist called "Projects on Hold". This makes sense to me, and I was doing this before I even attended the seminar. It seems natural that one would place "commitments I have to fulfil" in a different "inactive" category to "commitments I haven't even made yet".
GTD-World shattering . . . thank you!
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I think “On Hold” is more of convenience than a necessity. If you have a project you plan to start in 3 months, you can use a tickler: “August 1st: Start Moldavia invasion.” You can make it a question: “August 1st: Restart degree in pandemic studies?” and defer something as needed or desired. Or you could throw a Project onto Someday/Maybe with a condition: “Run for office when partisan politics subsides.” As long as your system works and you react to triggering conditions appropriately, things will not fall through the cracks. That’s why I see nothing wrong in using convenient app features like start dates. Whatever you do, ignoring the trigger condition will lead to problems.
 

Ariadne Marques

Registered
It was given during a GTD Level Two training seminar I attended in the UK, lead by Next Action Associates. They said that over the years, David found that a number of people had expressed discomfort with mixing together their "must do but can't get to now" projects with "bucket list" ideas, so he's conceded that a third category could exist called "Projects on Hold". This makes sense to me, and I was doing this before I even attended the seminar. It seems natural that one would place "commitments I have to fulfil" in a different "inactive" category to "commitments I haven't even made yet".
I am one of those people that doesn't like to mix things I've decided to do "but just not right now, please!", from things I haven't even committed too, like "someday/maybe". Happy I am not alone!

That's why I love the "Later" option available in Nirvana HQ as project/next action State. So I like to have on my system:

Active:
  • Next => definitely doing it, on my radar for the week
Inactive:
  • Later => will do it, but it's on hold for some reason. I review the list on the Weekly Review to decided if I need to active anything.
  • Someday/Maybe => bucket lists items, no commitment so far. I usually review every two weeks, not something I look at every Weekly Review (if I have time or feel like I need to/want to, then I do)
 

Gardener

Registered
I suspect that part of my issue with having too many projects in my active lists is trust, or lack thereof, in the later impact of my own decisions. That is:

-- I can't cope with having too-long lists.
-- So stuff has to disappear.
-- It can disappear through my entering deferral dates or filter values or all sorts of other things that let that stuff swim around with my active lists.
-- OR I can move those things to to Someday/Maybe.

I trust my decision to move things to various Someday/Maybe lists, because that's usually a considered decision done during a review. So I feel no need to do a 'just in case' scan through Someday/Maybe.

But deferral dates and other similar decisions are often made in a hurry when a too-long list is driving me crazy. So the result is that I do feel the need to regularly go through EVERYTHING that isn't in Someday/Maybe. So the result of that is that I put as much as humanly possible into Someday/Maybe.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I suspect that part of my issue with having too many projects in my active lists is trust, or lack thereof, in the later impact of my own decisions. That is:

-- I can't cope with having too-long lists.
-- So stuff has to disappear.
-- It can disappear through my entering deferral dates or filter values or all sorts of other things that let that stuff swim around with my active lists.
-- OR I can move those things to to Someday/Maybe.

I trust my decision to move things to various Someday/Maybe lists, because that's usually a considered decision done during a review. So I feel no need to do a 'just in case' scan through Someday/Maybe.

But deferral dates and other similar decisions are often made in a hurry when a too-long list is driving me crazy. So the result is that I do feel the need to regularly go through EVERYTHING that isn't in Someday/Maybe. So the result of that is that I put as much as humanly possible into Someday/Maybe.
Know thyself is the first, secret commandment of GTD. ;)
 

Longstreet

Professor of microbiology and infectious diseases
I am one of those people that doesn't like to mix things I've decided to do "but just not right now, please!", from things I haven't even committed too, like "someday/maybe". Happy I am not alone!

That's why I love the "Later" option available in Nirvana HQ as project/next action State. So I like to have on my system:

Active:
  • Next => definitely doing it, on my radar for the week
Inactive:
  • Later => will do it, but it's on hold for some reason. I review the list on the Weekly Review to decided if I need to active anything.
  • Someday/Maybe => bucket lists items, no commitment so far. I usually review every two weeks, not something I look at every Weekly Review (if I have time or feel like I need to/want to, then I do)
And this is exactly what I do in my Nirvana setup! Cheers! :)
 
Top