Next actions & filing issues
I write next actions but they stay on my list because I don't know how to do them. Or they generate too many other additional thoughts that overwhelm me.
For example, one on my list is - Send Richard the stakeholder engagement plan.
But when I look at it I think - where is the plan? In my email? or is it in my H drive? Did I save it into the document management system? Maybe I should do that while I'm at it? Did I put a copy into the hardcopy filing system and on P drive? And what about the other supporting documents that go with that?
And then I think - I really can't be bothered thinking about this, it's stressing me out.
But almost every other next action I have is like this or worse (I did pick an easy one) so I'm very stressed out at the moment.
Yes, there really are 5 different places to store things.
So how can I setup my next actions so they are better? Should I have had a different next action in the first place (eg - look for stakeholder engagement plan and file)
Should I go as detailed as 'file stakeholder engagment plan on document management system?' or just 'file stakeholder engagment plan on all systems' or just do the filing as I complete each next action?
If you had nothing else to do right now...
One of the things that really stuck with me from David's GTD Fast CDs was when he talked about how to determine what the next action really is.
The question he asked (paraphrased) was "If you had absolutely nothing else to do right now except for this one thing, what would I see you do? Where would I see you go?" In other words, what is the true next action?
In your example, I'm guessing I would see you go to your computer and check through your email to look for the document in question.
Therefore, I would put "Check email for stakeholder engagement plan" in the @computer list.
I ask myself these questions all the time when I'm processing. Somehow the idea of having "nothing else to do except for this one thing" really clarifies my thinking about true next actions.