When do you work through Next Actions list?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Joshua, Mar 13, 2019.

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  1. Joshua

    Joshua Registered

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    I have a pretty good grasp on my GTD system. I would say I'm a red belt in capturing, keeping my inboxes empty on a regular basis, weekly review, clarifying next actions, organizing/managing my lists, and most of the other basic priniciples of GTD.

    My issue is I do not have a good system for actually getting to my Next Actions lists and actually doing them. (I'm using the plural sense for lists because I'm referring to my Waiting For list, Call List, and the other lists discussed in the GTD world.) We talk a lot about clarifying the next action and putting it on the approriate list, but I'm looking for clarity on when and how you go about actually doing the things on your lists.

    I understand if it takes 2 minutes or less to do it right away.
    I understand delegating tasks you are not the right person for.
    How do you handle the remaining tasks? Do you schedule them on your calendar during your weekly review? This seems like it would go against the idea of only putting things on your calendar that have to be done at a certain time or day

    Right now I'm mapping out an ideal month, and I am realizing with all of the important things I need and want to spend my time on, there is not really adequate time to budget for working through my next actions lists, which means there are projects that are well thought out and organized, but they may never actually get done. I have a some day maybe list, but not all of my projects are ones I want to put off indefinately. I also do want to fill my calendar and feel like I'm failing every day.

    How do you actually work through the Next Actions lists?
     
  2. kelstarrising

    kelstarrising Kelly Forrister

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    Hi there. If it needs to be done ON a day, it goes on your calendar. If it needs to be done BY a day or can be done ANY day, it goes on Next Actions lists.

    The best practice is to look at your calendar often throughout the day for those day- and time-specific actions. And choose from your Next Actions any chance you get.

    I just did a webinar for GTDConnect.com members today on the calendar. You might consider joining or doing a free trial to listen to the replay when it’s up. And there are a ton of other resources on Connect around the calendar too, like the Black Belt series.

    Kelly
     
  3. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    This confuses me a bit. As I understand the system, all of those important things that you need and want to spend your time on should be represented by actions on your Next Action lists. It sounds like you're not including that work in GTD?
     
  4. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    I think you spend too much time in the wrong area of the threefold nature of work. It looks like you spend so much time to plan and plot that you do not have enough time left to do all your predefined work. It is normal that you have tons of projects that you would like to complete but you do not have the necessary time. That’s what the someday/maybe list is for ;)
    My advice is: do as much planning as you need, but don’t overdo it. It is absolutely ok to stop planning once you feel comfortable with that project. That way you should have more time left to actually work on your projects.

    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Registered

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  6. kelstarrising

    kelstarrising Kelly Forrister

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    Thank you for the advice Kelly. I'm a huge fan of yours.
    >>Thank you! Very kind of you to say.

    Are you ever concerned that Next Actions that have a deadline but do not need to be done on a specific day may not get completed in time?
    >>The key is to make sure you are looking at your lists often. Trick yourself into looking at them if it’s not a habit (like an old school sticky note!). And if something is ticking closer and you’re not getting to it, consider blocking time on your calendar to work on it.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  7. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Aha - yes! Scheduling a time block. Cheers! :D:D
     
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  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Some say: "Not scheduled - not done" but they are certainly not GTDers... ;)
     
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  9. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    However, it is perfectly fine to block time on your calendar for a project or major next action if you need protected time to get it done. I do not see this outside of GTD whatsoever. :)
     
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  10. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    It's perfectly fine to do so. And it's also perfectly fine not to do so. If your choice works for you, then it's a good one.

    There's a human tendency to want to elevate one's personal preferences to the status of universal principle. And I think that unfortunate tendency has been at the heart of some unnecessarily contentious arguments in these forums.

    I realize I have not been blameless. Far from it, in fact. Although I'm trying to learn and do better.

    One of the nice things about trying to keep an open mind is that it makes it easier to learn. I once considered myself "against" time-blocking. I can now see a use for it -- albeit for different reasons than @Longstreet has.
     
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  11. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    Of course - it is perfectly fine NOT to time block if it does not work for you! If choosing what to do moment to moment works best, then by all means, do it! I was just simply saying that time blocking is NOT outside of GTD. We all have to personalize our approach to what works best for us. :)
     
  12. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    My remarks weren't directed specifically at you. I certainly don't think you're saying everyone should always use time-blocking. But I think you've done a good job of making the case that time-blocking can be useful and also consistent with good GTD practice. You've persuaded me.
     
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