Suggestions on Sorting Next Actions


Yep. At least in the "geekier" circles, remember, GTD is older than the iPhone.

What helped me for a time was division by hardware.

So I had @keyboard, @mousing, @touchscreen. I also experimented with @offline for things that didn't need an internet connection and @mulitmedia-noise for things that I could do very well while listening to music, podcast or watching videos. And also @silence for things that I wanted to do in the silence of the morning (or late evening.)

Another thing that worked well for me was sorting by recency. So, every new NA would be added on top of the list, thus the first tasks tended to be from projects that were "hot", either brand new or I had worked on them recently.

The slower projects would wander to the bottom of the pile in a somewhat organic manner, to be picked up later at slower times.
Thanks for the tip!


Thanks for the feedback. After reading this last week, actually followed your advice and think it makes more sense now. Question - do you refrain from even looking at those lists in which you know you won’t be able to do given context? For example if you are not near a computer but on your phone, would you simply ignore @computer until you can?
I should have a disclaimer that I'm no expert and I fall off the wagon often. But being digital can help with this because you can go to one list (i.e. errands, quick filing) when you want, or go to a broader exclusionary list (i..e @computer @office @anywhere) when you like. If you are on paper, then you would have to stack/exclude lists manually.

I would also say that although digital has many benefits, including those listed above, it is very easy to get caught up in playing and fiddling with the tool. I find I'm also less thoughtful and purposeful about writing down clear next actions when I can just speed dump into a digital tool.


Thanks for the feedback. Your note about over categorizing is definitely been a challenge as I’ve been implementing the concepts. The main call out with the context based lists is that most of my work is email based and does not often require additional programs. Which then leads to many tasks falling into @computer. The way I’ve tried to break that down is by time @half hour+ / @quick hits, but it’s imperfect. Any tips?
One thing I've found is that when most of your actions are in 1 context, the best thing is to prioritize at your weekly review and move some things to someday/maybe. If I'm mostly in a context where I get to choose between almost all my actions, then the real limiting factor becomes priority. In GTD, that isn't decided by A, B, C or something like that necessarily but rather by what you choose to put on your Projects and Next Actions lists vs. what you choose to have in Someday/Maybe. The other thing to consider is how likely priorities are to change. If once a week (or how ever often you do weekly reviews) is often enough to make decisions on what to move between active and someday/maybe then you can keep your lists shorter and avoid have so many tasks to choose from.