View Full Version : Adding new Next Actions in mobile electronic setup
I use Outlook and Windows Mobile (Palm Treo Pro) in my GTD setup. It's pure electronic. It works great. I think there's a small disadvantage I have in this setup that I'm not sure how to overcome. It would be great if I could add next actions when they appear directly into the system. It would allow to have next actions in system not waiting for daily review to put them in. Now I have to put them into a "collection inbox" (as a recorded message to myself or a hand written note) because it's not very convinient to type in using a keyboard of the mobile telephone.
Here's an example. Let's say I'm driving and have a call. When finished I have a Next Action recorded as a message to myself to move that project further. Then I go to the next call, the next and so on. Even when I'm at a place where I can process the notes I don't force myself to do it because I have a planned time in the morning for processing. So I'm devoted to Doing all day long. Should I have a way to put those recorded Next Actions quckly into the system I would have wider variety of options to choose from. I think paper system wouldn't work in this particular example either but it would work in non-car environment when I can add Next Action into the system right there (just write it down into the context list). But I don't want to go to paper system because of it's limitations and huge maintanance requirements.
How do you add new Next Actions in your mobile setup? Do you care if it takes too much time to type in a new next action?
06-21-2009, 09:47 AM
It would be great if I could add next actions when they appear directly into the system. It would allow to have next actions in system not waiting for daily review to put them in.
Could you send to yourself an email with subject the next action?
Then in Outlook click on it with the right key of the mouse, moving it on the tasks, it become just a task
I hope it can help!
Claudio, I can do. I worry about the timing when this new Next Action would be put into my system. In my case it would happen only on the next business day when I process my inboxes (paper, recorded and emails). I would like to have it faster but can't find a way except for spending some time and typing new Next Action into the system right there in the car. That's a little dangerous though. Sometimes those Next Actions belong to the same day calendar and that becomes even more critical from all points of view...
06-22-2009, 05:21 AM
I don't know where you live and work, so this may not be useful to you, but I use Jott. It's a system wherein I call a voicemail box, and whatever I record is transcribed and immediately emailed to me. I then process that when next I process my emails.
06-22-2009, 11:37 AM
I worry about the timing when this new Next Action would be put into my system. In my case it would happen only on the next business day when ...
Are you really sure, you need tomorrow all the informations to evaluate where you are? Do you do a weekly review every day to continuosly update your system?
Or if it happen it arrive a sudden high priority task could be enough calendarize it for tomorrow? I'm thinking to a situation where a person have already a basic plan for the tomorrow tasks and it's not in a such quick turbulence
06-22-2009, 04:05 PM
In my opinion, there really is no answer to your question. Your dilema, as I read it, is you want to put a new Next Action into your system without typing it in on the spot. How else could it get in there other than simply adding it to the correct context instantly?
I also use an electronic set up. I have a Palm and use it exclusively without Outlook or anything else. When I have a Next Action that comes up, I simply hit "new" under the context and type a quick 3-4 word sentence. I should also mention that I use the plain vanilla Palm task app.
I firmly believe you are spending more time by "jotting" it down or emailing it to yourself, and then processing it the next morning.
If I need to work out an action further I type it under the @Brainstorm context.
graphicdetails, nice piece of advice! I will follow that. It looks like there's no other way out but to start typing in faster :)
06-25-2009, 06:06 PM
mih, once you get used to it you'll be adding things very quickly. Your mind will get trained to instantly ask yourself...
1. is it date related? add it to the calendar.
2. not date related? ok, then where do I have to be to get this action done? And then add it to NAs under that context.
As I said previously, if it's a possible project, either I'll add it to @Brainstorming or possibly Someday/Maybe if I know it's not something I'll be doing right away but just want to get it out of my head.
I think you'll find the benefit of instantly adding it to your system very effective. You can add an emergency appointment for the same day and feel confident that it's in your system.
As far as driving a vehicle and something pops in your head, that's a tough one. I must admit that I add quick tasks under the context while driving, but I would think you could also grab a recorder as long as you cleared it out when you stopped driving. I just choose to add it quickly with one hand and be as brief as possible (even abbreviating many words) just enough so I know what it means when I look at it later.
06-26-2009, 07:24 AM
It seems you are trying to shortcut the five stages of workflow. My first question would be to ask if you see value in separating these DISTINCT activities. I do, thats why I am asking. Perhaps you dont, which is fine as well.
By consolidating Collecting, Processing, and organizing, you are not being as executive as you could be about what that STUFF means to you. IMO, you are being MORE inefficient by directly inputting than going through the proper workflow. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.
just imagine a friend of mine calls me. Out of that call I have an action I need to do. I collect that action in my RAM (aka my brain) :) Then I process it on the fly. Let's say this new action belongs to the existing project on my active list to make it simple. Then I try to do it (less then two minutes call) and get no answer. So I decide to differ it and organize it into my system (aka my Palm) to do it later. All that happens withing 1-2 minutes and goes through all DISTINCT phases as far as I understand. So my answer to your question is why not? :)
06-26-2009, 08:58 PM
Erik, I agree with mih, all of these stages are automatic. You can't actually add the action to any context unless you collect it, process it, and organize it to the correct NA context.
There is no time specification on each stage. You don't have to put something in an actual inbox before processing it. The more comfortable you are in the GTD process the quicker I've found I process stuff. Why write the thought in a notebook when I automatically know where it needs to be in my system?
Now, I do have a wallet notebook, but I use it more if I'm taking notes for something lengthy. Then I can break those notes down when I get the next chance. But nothing stays in my inbox very long. I think about what needs to be done and get it into the system where I know I'll do it at the appropriate time and place.
I've been utilizing the GTD method for a few years and the process is so smooth after I got comfortable with it.
06-29-2009, 11:41 AM
Yes, sometimes those small things are best handled on the front end.
IMHO, it's not about small itmes only. As David put it in the Ready for Anything: "Make decisions about actions required on stuff when it shows up". It means you could process as soon as you recieve stuff. How do you know that you can put that stuff into your inbox for later processing and not to start acting on it immediatelly then?
What is it? Is it actionable? Yes - do it now! delegate or differ it!
07-03-2009, 12:39 PM
I, too, tend to collect, process, organize, and enter the NA into @context lists. Thinking I was being more efficient. Until I realized that I was missing many good ideas and thoughts that were not captured because I lost the collection skill or habit. It used to be second nature for me to collect every idea or thought that come to mind. I don't censor or screen them first. Granted, most get thrown out later but I was collecting.
As I moved to process and organize my thoughts and enter them into NA lists (all in one phase), I stopped the actual collection process. I was only noting down ideas that passed the screening/processing stage to get to one of my lists. Even the @Brainstorm list was screened --- is that something I will want to pursue? Is it worth it for me to enter it ... nah.... Hence, lost ideas...
Some of you may be more disciplined and versatile to be able to combine the stages into a fluid continuous phase but that did not work long for me. It had the appearance of working in the beginning since I felt more efficient. But later I see the drawback. I am still trying to re-learn my collection habits :).
07-06-2009, 08:24 AM
There's nothing wrong with consolidating the phases provided you are doing all the thinking you need to do. The question is, did you really think enough? Is that action you came up with REALLY the next action? Or does something else have to happen first?
I prefer to separate the phases and not collect, process, and organize on the fly because too often I've polluted my action lists with vague undoable stuff or projects in disguise. Of course, I have the opportunity to address this during the weekly review, but I don't want to deal with dirty lists.
I only update my action lists directly on my Palm if the next action is 100% clear, and even then I hesitate because my screen is a little messed up and data entry is difficult.