In Between Next Actions and Projects
Hi GTD Forum,
I've been practicing GTD for over two years. My system is based on my reading GTD and MIAW and listening to some podcasts. I still get hung up on some things, and I have improved my weekly review over this time frame. I would like your opinion on how to handle tasks beween Next Actions and Project, as shown in this example.
Let's consider an example where I have to write a report for a client. First, I start a project in my company's filing and accounting systems. Then I add the project to my GTD Project List called "Dallas - Water System Efficiency Report - due Friday June 25th". Then I start thinking through the possible next actions. Possible Next Action 1 - "I need to write an outline". Before I write an outline, I need to (Possible Next Action 2) "collect water use data" and (Possible Next Action 3) "collect billing records from the City". Also, I need to "get my graphic artist started on the report cover" (Possible Next Action 4). In order to "collect water use data", I need to (Possible Next Action 5) "set a kick-off meeting with my client". In order to start the report cover, I need to (Possible Next Action 6) "draft the text for the cover" and (Possible Next Action 7) "select some photos for the cover". I will have a young engineer working on this project, so I need to (Possible Next Action 8 ) "invite young engineer to kick off" and (Possible Next Action 9), "schedule internal kick-off with young engineer and quality control engineer".
After thinking through these 9 possible next actions, I decide to write (Possible Next Action 5) "call Joe to set a kick-off meeting" on my Calls List, and I write (Possible Next Action 6) "draft the Dallas Report Cover" on my Office List".
So, here is my question. What do I do with the 7 possible next actions that didn't make my next action list? I've already thought through these actions, and I don't want to think of them again. They don't represent a complete plan for the project according to the Natural Planning Method. They don't belong on my next action lists, because they have other actions that must happen before I can get them done.
I hope this example isn't too convoluted. I appreciate all your opinions.
Use project support materials
Something that GTD doesn't talk about much is project support materials. I think this was done on purpose. This can be a very big bucket depending on the size of your project/creativity, but just writing stuff down and filing it into a project related folder that you can check on later is very calming.
For example, I use Things for Mac and when I have many possible next actions but the order is still unclear, like yours, I file them in the project but put them in the inactive category. That way they don't show up in my Next list and distract me, but they are still accessible if/when I need them.
Follow Up Question about Projects and Next Actions
I think this question -- which I've been struggling with for some time -- is related to this thread. If it's not, please let me know, because I don't want to hijack someone else's thread.
What if I create a project similar to the way M Shelton described, but instead of 9 potential actions, I have 30, and 10 of them can be done right away. They don't have to be done in any particular order, and they can all be done at my office. Some of these might only take 5 minutes to do, but I need to write them down on a list when I think about them, or I'll forget them and that will cause significant problems. So, should I just write them all on one piece of paper dedicated to the project (in the Plans/Notes tab of my GTD Organizer) and cross them off as I go? Or do I need to first write all of the them there as I think of them, and then write one task at a time on my Next Action list, do it, cross it off the next action list, and then write another?
I know this seems like a trivial question, but for some reason this has been a real stumbling block to me for full GTD implementation.