View Full Version : Action lists: do you plan time or wait when it appears in your calendar?
10-23-2011, 05:27 AM
I have a list of next actions sorted by contexts. Ready to start doing. I opened my calendar for tomorrow. I'm booked 100% leaving no space for even looking at my next action lists. Should I review my action lists today to find what should be done tomorrow to find some time in my calendar to squeeze that in? Or I should wait when I have a slot of "free" time in my calendar to start looking into my action lists?
10-23-2011, 07:05 AM
I'm booked 100% leaving no space for even looking at my next action lists. Should I review my action lists today to find what should be done tomorrow to find some time in my calendar to squeeze that in? Or I should wait when I have a slot of "free" time in my calendar to start looking into my action lists?
If something has to be done tomorrow it should be in your calendar already.
If your calendar is really totally full of things you have committed to then you need to look at how to delegate, or otherwise get rid of some of those. You have to have time for processing and doing. Now if it's just a single day that is totally booked that's another matter.
I'd say that's a big wake-up call to you to re-evaluate all your projects, actions and commitments and see if they all still make sense.
10-23-2011, 09:40 AM
I would agree with Oogie - if this is a regular occurrence then you need to have a good look at where your commitments are (a mind map of your areas of focus might be a good way to handle this) and decide whether you are overcommitted. If this is more of a one off, I would recommend trying to block out space on the following day to catch up with your processing. I often block out time in my calendar on the first day back after holidays or courses, just to make sure that I give myself enough space to get back in control.
10-23-2011, 10:58 AM
I'm booked 100% leaving no space for even looking at my next action lists.
If you are booked 100% you have no time for Next Actions. It is even worse - you have no time to process, organize and review your system! That's a problem.
10-23-2011, 11:45 AM
whether i'ts a problem also depends on your type of activity...
I'm a trainer/consultant, and my days usually are booked either 100% or 0% (with some exceptions of course)... either I'm working at a client's place or I'm giving training (= 100%), either I work from my home office (=0%)... in the first case this means that whatever urgent matter or processing will have to be done in the evening... this is not a big problem, it's just how my work is organised. I'm self employed, so processing in the evening might mean reading e-mails next to my husband on the sofa, or in front of the television!
I could have a whole week in a row going on 100%, although I try to avoid this. One thing GTD has thought me is to try keeping at least one day every week to work from my home office. If I do have a week like that, my weekly review the week before will help me make sure I am as ready as I can be...
10-23-2011, 03:10 PM
If this is a common occurrence then you need to think about how you can still get things done. If you are attending a training course that has a one hour lunch break and two half hour breaks, you might be able to squeeze some small tasks into those times.
Also for meetings, do you need to be actively involved for the whole meeting? Sometimes I go to meetings where I only need to be involved for 2-3 items on the agenda, ask the others if it's ok to tune out at other times in the meeting to check your blackberry (if you have one) or do something else, better yet, leave after your issues are done.
Also consider blocking out time in your calendar to do work, so you don't get overbooked too often.
10-24-2011, 12:34 AM
I had a crazy meeting schedule as well as was never getting to pre-defined work. My ah-ha moment was when I had to reached out to David Allen for their coaching services and I was lamenting to Julie about this and she mentioned the Three Fold Nature of Work. Now I was thinking she was going to give me some ah-ha about contexts, 20k, 30k, calendars, something so the three fold nature of work really threw me off. But it was exactly the reminder I needed.
I would suggest you re-read that chapter in the book and really figure out how it applies to you and your regular schedule. You will need time for all the three in your normal 'work time' so it does not start seeping into the hanging-with-hubby or watching-tv time. :)
10-24-2011, 12:49 AM
How is your calendar controlled? By that I mean - do you have an assistant who accepts meeting requests from others? If so, give them instructions on how much time you need each day for your own tasks. If not, then make sure you are carving out time each day to complete your tasks. Beyond that - definitely reflect on your approach to accepting meetings and appointments - and pushing back more unless you absolutely have to be in attendance.
10-24-2011, 11:12 AM
I read carefully through all of your suggestions! They were great. Do you think I would be more successful with doing when I block let say 1 hour for doing and 1 hour for processing daily?
10-24-2011, 03:28 PM
Yes, find that if I have some time blocked out in my calendar, and others want to schedule a meeting, they'll often call first "Hi, I want to book a meeting on Tues 2pm but I see you're busy..." so you at least get a courtesy call and then get an opportunity to decide what's most important. It gives you some more control over your time.