Someday/Maybe: Projects vs Actions

Ben S

Registered
I'm wondering what you all typically do with your someday/maybe lists? If a project is moved to someday/maybe do you move the next actions on that project to someday/maybe as well? If not, do you move them to some project reference or some other list? Do you have any other suggestions for how to track deferred actions?

Thanks!
 

Ben S

Registered
Also, a follow up question: Is it possible to have next actions from an active project in someday/maybe? I'm thinking that maybe once that point is reached, the project is by definition not a project, but an area of focus. I'd be curious what everyone's thoughts are on that assertion.
 

Oogiem

Registered
I'm wondering what you all typically do with your someday/maybe lists?
I keep all of mine in a separate system away from my active projects. I find it easier to review that way.

If a project is moved to someday/maybe do you move the next actions on that project to someday/maybe as well?
Yes. When a project, perhaps even one that has been active for a while, is moved into Someday/Maybe I also move all the actions that relate to it. Otherwise my next actions lists get cluttered with irrelevant stuff. My list manager tool makes that easy.

If not, do you move them to some project reference or some other list?
If I ahve other project support material in my system. I will move that back into the general reference filing system. I will put a link to that location in my S/M list so I know there is more stuff elsewhere. Those links may reference electronic data in a computer file or folder, or physical data or items that are located elsewhere.

Do you have any other suggestions for how to track deferred actions?
A deferred action is, to me, separate from a someday/maybe. So I do not use the above system for deferred actions.

An example of a deferred project or an active project with deferred actions would be something like this one that is currently active for me.

The project is Spring Vaccinations for the Sheep. It is a series of actions that happens once each year.

The project is set to kick off in February each year. Once of the first actions is schedule dates for vaccinating pregnant ewes. Since the start and end dates for the ewes will vary from year to year and can only be determined after I've taken the breeding rams out that's why the entire project start in February. We usually finish breeding in January. Another action is order vaccine from vet. and then waiting for vaccine to come in, go pick up vaccine at vet office and so on. Then there are a series of deferred aactions. The current one I am working on is Vaccinate pregnant ewes. It had a start date 6 weeks prior to our start of lambing date which is 145 days after primary rams in with ewes for breeding. It has a due date of 4 weeks prior to start of lambing. That's because that is the timeframe that provides best transfer of immunity from the mother's colostrum to the newborn lambs. That task for me for this year had a start date of 11 March and a due date of 25 March. Similarly the start and due dates for the vaccinations for the other 3 classes of sheep (ewe yearlings, ram yearlings and adult rams) is set back in February. I like to spread the vaccinations out because of the workload so I do them in logical groups.

a follow up question: Is it possible to have next actions from an active project in someday/maybe?
Not for me but that is because I don't ever think to look at Someday/Maybe for actions for current active projects.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I'm wondering what you all typically do with your someday/maybe lists? If a project is moved to someday/maybe do you move the next actions on that project to someday/maybe as well? If not, do you move them to some project reference or some other list? Do you have any other suggestions for how to track deferred actions?

Thanks!
I’m using a tool (Things 3) where a Project is a self-contained object with notes, next actions, scheduled actions, someday/maybe next actions inside. If I had project support material stored stored externally, then I would move next actions out of project support when the project was activated. I think those are your two best choices.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Also, a follow up question: Is it possible to have next actions from an active project in someday/maybe? I'm thinking that maybe once that point is reached, the project is by definition not a project, but an area of focus. I'd be curious what everyone's thoughts are on that assertion.
I don’t think so. I have someday/maybe stuff for projects all the time. They are not next actions because they are neither next nor necessarily well-formulated next actions. They are just ideas for how the project might proceed. I might buy tires from Firestone but maybe I‘ll see if I can do better at Costco. Not an area of focus.
 
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ivanjay205

Registered
The system I use also moves the next actions with it. So If I set a project to on hold or future I dont see the next actions. i think thats important as sometimes I want to plan it out but I am not ready to implement it. With what is going on right now for example related to coronavirus a few projects got put on hold in my world and will resume in a few months
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
I'm wondering what you all typically do with your someday/maybe lists? If a project is moved to someday/maybe do you move the next actions on that project to someday/maybe as well? If not, do you move them to some project reference or some other list? Do you have any other suggestions for how to track deferred actions?

Also, a follow up question: Is it possible to have next actions from an active project in someday/maybe? I'm thinking that maybe once that point is reached, the project is by definition not a project, but an area of focus. I'd be curious what everyone's thoughts are on that assertion.

Thanks!
It may be helpful to start with what goes on Someday/Maybe. For anything on that list, you have made no commitment to do it. The only commitment is to review the list regularly to see if you want to delete or activate any item.

Anything on my next actions lists is either for an active project or is a one-and-done. If I move a project to Someday/Maybe, I add any next actions for it to project support.

For me, the Someday/Maybe list would not have any items for an active project. If the item needs to be done to complete the project, it's either do-able now (goes on a next actions list) or dependent on something else happening first (goes in project support).

If you have anything on your next actions lists that is dependent on something else happening first, you'll slow yourself down having to mentally eliminate those items as you look at your lists to choose what to do.
 

Ben S

Registered
Thank you all for your great suggestions!


It may be helpful to start with what goes on Someday/Maybe. For anything on that list, you have made no commitment to do it. The only commitment is to review the list regularly to see if you want to delete or activate any item.

...

For me, the Someday/Maybe list would not have any items for an active project. If the item needs to be done to complete the project, it's either do-able now (goes on a next actions list) or dependent on something else happening first (goes in project support).

...
thanks so much for this clarification. Ive been using someday/maybe to also hold actions that I don’t have bandwidth for right now but have committed to do, and I think that’s the root of this problem. Where would you put actions that you plan to do but don’t plan to do right away? It’s not that there are prerequisite actions, I just know I won’t have time for a while and it’s not urgent but is important.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Where would you put actions that you plan to do but don’t plan to do right away? It’s not that there are prerequisite actions, I just know I won’t have time for a while and it’s not urgent but is important.
That to me is still someday/maybe. I plan to do it someday but not now. That's how I interpret made no commitment to do it. I am not ready to do it now. Commitment to do it means I am ready, able and willing to do it now.
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Thanks so much for this clarification. Ive been using someday/maybe to also hold actions that I don’t have bandwidth for right now but have committed to do, and I think that’s the root of this problem. Where would you put actions that you plan to do but don’t plan to do right away? It’s not that there are prerequisite actions, I just know I won’t have time for a while and it’s not urgent but is important.
I'll describe what I do, but please adapt to what works for you. The main thing to observe is whether your system gets stuff off your mind.

I'm comfortable with fairly long lists that have items I may not do for quite awhile. I often find that my predictions about when I will get to something are inaccurate, because circumstances change. On Tuesday of this week I recorded with David Allen about working from home. When I started on Monday that was not on my calendar or my projects list. Around 10am I got the idea and pinged David. Next thing I know, it's on my calendar for Tuesday at 8:00am and I'm planning the project on Monday afternoon. As of today I've spent several hours on that project, even though I thought I'd be working on other things when I began this week. Today the opposite happened as well. My dentist called to postpone my appointment from next week out into April. So unless something changes, I now have about two hours to work off my lists next Tuesday. Oh, this week I've also spent about four hours on two trips to the vet that weren't on my calendar a few days ago. My take on the old saying is, "Man makes plans; dog laughs." (The dog is fine now.)

If you like working from shorter lists and nearer time horizons, then moving some things to Someday/Maybe could work very well.

I also use a Projects On Hold list. I'm committed to doing these projects within 12 months, but I know I won't move them forward for at least a month. My Projects list has the near-term outcomes that I review often during the week. I only need to review Projects On Hold weekly.
 
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