"Actions" versus "Next Actions"
Very simply, I don't understand the difference. I'm versed in GTD jargon, but don't understand Action vs. Next Action. There's a seperate option for it on all GTDGmail labels. Is "Next Actions" for project actions and "Actions" for just general project-unrelated actions. So
Call Sara for Dinner.
Project -- Decide Budget
Next Action -- Call Tim from Accounting
So Calling sara, is unrelated to a project so it's just an Action?
And Calling tim is project-related (to the project "Decide budget"), so it's a "next action"?
Please help clarify this ambiguity. Thanks
Thanks for the Swift and Helpful Clarification on "Next Actions v. Actions"
Thanks everyone. This clarifies it! Thanks. So to reiterate and kind of reconstruct the definition, EVERY action that gets accomplished is a next action right before it's accomplished. In other words, every "accomplished" action once existed as an action and a next action and a next action is just the "most timely and relevant, based on the current context" action of an action sequence. Thanks that's helpful. So every next action is an action, but every action is not necessarily a next action.
Timperu, I think you and I shared a similar definition in relation to projects. I was confused on with or not you have non-projected-related next actions. In other words, do you make "next actions" exclusive to projects only?
This is helpful because I've used "next actions" for a LONG time when I just create a number list of actions to accomplish a project (like a website:
1. Design Site
2. Figure out best coding and web design program.
3. Code it.
4. Upload it.
5. Debug it.
6. Double check all the links.
7. Reference a domain name to it.
And then if I had two other projects, I would only have (likely) 3 next actions. Design site and the first next action from the other projects. That's cool. I like the "next action" concept. I've been using "next actions" for a long time but materializing it into that standard concept is helpful because you (if you're, for example juggle three projects) don't see this amorphorous web of "project todos and actions", but instead see 3 simple next actions. So the next actions gives you the control of "whittling down" all the actions to accomplish a project without being overwhelmed of all the necessary actions for all projects.
Again, to plug this into my own mental schemata, the next action concept is like a FIFO (or LIFO depending on how you visualize it) stack in computer science. All you "see" is that next action (firt most action you put in, or the first step in the project sequence), even though one stack (or project) could have dozens and dozens of actions. All you see is the next action.
For some reason, the analogy of "Next action and a LIFO/FIFO project action stack" reminds me of some statistic of visualizing ALL the food you'll have to eat in a lifetime. This amount is roughly 60,000 pounds, which is equivalent to about 6 elephants or 17,455 80gb ipods (in weight). Envisioning all that food is enough to make you sick! :D haha! So we, as humans, just only think of a our "Next Action Grocery Shop" or maybe even with less distant perspective our "Next Action Meal" or "Next Action Morsel Bite". The point is that we NEVER envision ALL the mini "Eat Action Steps" for all the food we'll have to eat. For survival, nutrition, we automatically do the "Next Action" process and blind ourselves to subsequent (can't yet do) actions. We definitely do not do that with projects. We (I've done a ton of this) see "all the action steps" of multiple projects simultaneously, and it makes us feel about as sick as having to envision eating 6 elephants in a lifetime! haha:mrgreen: So thanks for clarifying the Next Action concept. By integrating that into my GTD system, I'll be sure to only take on the next bite-sized action steps of projects instead of elephant-sized overloads of "can't-yet-be-accomplished" actions.