How to choose a Next Action in the moment
David suggests to use 4 points model to choose a Next Action in the moment. I don't feel like fully understand this model. I assume the model should limit my options. Reality shows it doesn't. At least not always. Can you correct me or advice what's wrong in the example below:
1. Context. That allows to filter out 4 out of 40 Next Actions that I can't do @Work. Actually I can do them as well if I change the context itself. For example, I have a Next Action to brainstorm with my wife her birthday party. I can do it @Work over phone or take my car and go home to do that there instead of waiting when I get into @Home context to do that. Don't you think this filter (Context) is artificial? :???:
2. Time. I usually have 1-2 hours blocks of non-scheduled time. It allows me to choose any of my Next Actions. So how do you apply that filter??? :rolleyes:
3. Energy. That's the most interesting and useless one for me. First of all, I have quite middle energy level through the whole day. Second, my boss or customer doesn't care if my energy level is low; or if I had a bad weekend; or anything else that caused energy loss. The work must be done - that's why I was hired. How can I use that filter in these conditions where other people define my work?
4. Priority. That's the last chance for me :D Take the most important one. That's clear at least. But I find it difficult to sort through 36 Next Actions left after 1-3 points filtering...
Does it mean the model is not working for me or I just use it wrong???
Not lazy -- just able to enjoy the flexibility!
I don't think you are being lazy at all. Actually, I am jealous of you and those like you that can work so well from long next action lists and easily choose what to do next on the fly after scanning those lists....each and every time it is time for the next action. It just does not work well for me as I am one of those people that likes more structure -- like our colleague Ranier here, I make a daily list from my context lists each morning, and then either schedule them or work only from that list. A real "closed" list like Mark Forster's Do it Tomorrow approach. Of course, if something does come up unexpected, then I do show the GTD flexibility and take care of it....but for me, that is much more the exception than the rule. Once I have completed my daily list, then I turn to my context lists. Any new work that comes in goes on my context lists, NOT my daily list.
Best to all,
Need help, too, with n/a!
This thread really higlights the struggle I am having with GTD--choosing the n/a. While I have benefited from being explicit about desired outcomes and spelling out roles, responsibilities, areas of focus, purpose, etc. And, I do find it useful to spell out the inital n/as and classify them by context, either at the time of the weekly review or when conceptualizing projects. And listing actions across contexts works great if the projects are small and short-lived and there is a clear and predictable path between the actions. But, I am finding that unless I do some extra things, like a daily review, such as Ranier describes above, I have a really hard time using the lists of next actions. These are just so isolated from their previous and following actions and isolated from the flow of the day and various emergent needs that I can't choose, and when I do I have problems. And, I don't really know what to do to integrate them or how to do it, or when to ask myself what guiding or revealing question.
Imagine, I am in a context, and I have a dozen n/as listed for that context and I pick one and do it. Then I put on my list what I think I need to do next on this same project, either in that same context or another. That is ostensbily okay.
But here is the problem-- I don't have enough information at hand to know if I should stay in the context and work on the one I just listed or select other n/as or if I should switch contexts in order to stay on the project or work on another.
And, further complicating my decisions about selecting an n/a, if it is several days' time from when I entered it or several action steps away from the execution of the initial action, I have to think hard about the n/a because sometimes the n/a I have listed is wrong, because I did it already (from the list several actions back or intuitively), or when I created the n/a it seemed logical at that moment but it turns out it really isn't a next action and I don't realize it until I am part way through, or, even wrose, I am purseing an aspect I decided to defer or exclude but forgot I excluded it. The later genreally happens if I create an n/a right after completing one and don't have my project materials to refer to at the time.
But since I am in that particular context, I will look at the list and say, let's work through these items that I can get done while I am here and have certain tools or people available. But then I have a question come into my mind, "Should I stay in this context or change contexts?" I start to think that maybe I ought to check and see if there might be a good reasons to change contexts, like I want to just work on one project and its next action requires a different context or there are n/as on my list for other contexts that just migh be more urgent. So, how can I really make that decision, unless I have reviewd the day and week, and answered questions like, when and how will I get back to this context? Are any of these actions ones that if I don't do here and now, it will cause me problems? Are any of these n/as ones that if completed will set in motion a cascade of other needed actions that I will have to be ready to execute or respond to? Will I have the resources to complete these?By the times I have thought through all that, I need to be somewhere else.
So unless I have acess to project support material, or have thought the day and week through, and maybe even re-thought it a couple of times during the day, I have a problem with choosing the next action because my list by context is so separated from the milieu of my life and from the other projects.