Connecting Projects to Next Actions, Plus...
I'm just starting the GTD process. I've gotten my in-box to empty for the first time, and have a project list, as well as several distinct next-action lists. While it feels good to get it all out and down, I'm left with several questions. First, how do I keep a bead on how next-actions are related to projects? It all seems too dispersed. For example, a project I have is setting up a behavior plan/structure for my autistic son. My next actions for this project are all over the place. A call here, read review material over there, computer activities, this agenda, that email. I'm finding it takes a lot of mental effort to keep track of everything related to this project, and how it all is relating together. I thought the point was to help free up this kind of having to hold it all. I'm thinking about setting up a system in personalbrain that connects it all, but is there something I'm missing with my current system (calendar, tickler, project list, and about eight distinct next-actions lists such as At Home, Computer, Errands, Agendas, etc.)? I complete an action, and then I have to back track it to the project it's part of, which may be obvious initially, but 5 generations down in my activity (without constantly re-associating it to the project) it's not so clear.
Secondly, all my lists are loooong, and I'm finding it difficult to priorities what is urgent with what is slightly less urgent. In other words, something important pops up on the list, but there may be something more important three pages in, but it's lost in the shuffle. How do I get to the place where I'm confident I'm making the right action for the right time if my head is stuck in a mind-numbingly long list of actions (something like eight notebooks worth)? Place on top of this a bunch of checklists, when do I actually take a confident action? I'm being a bit sarcastic, but you get the idea. The same goes for the first part. Actions become kind of diluted, and out of the context of the project when they sit out on one of the actions lists.
And lastly, well, those checklists. I see their value, but in going through the process, I'm like, "I'm supposed to keep all these lists up to date, AND make a checklist for everything I'm not sure about?" I'm getting stuff done, namely these lists and checklists, but not feeling more clear or confident about my actions, just more anxious about what I know needs to get done but is not.
Any suggestions or help? Thanks!