Next actions and timelines
I am very new to the GTD system and am struggling with my actions list. Currently it contains things that can be done whenever (such as organizing my family photos) to other actions (most part of a larger project) that I wish to have completed by a certain date.
I am curious how others organize and act upon actions that have a variety of deadlines. Right now, I'm looking at the list and I'm really lost and feel a little paralyzed as a result.
Thank you in advance
I track deadlines separately in a mind map
Also weekly review is important. Next actions isn't a place to go for strategic planning about deadlines
Last edited by bobbyman; 06-07-2011 at 04:33 PM.
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
Do you, at some point, migrate items on your mind map to the 'next actions' list? Or is the mind map an additional list that you work from when planning?
(sorry if this is a second response. I replied earlier, but do not see the post now)
Mind map with an overview of important deadlines and upcoming stuff is only an additon to all standart gtd lists and calendar, it doesn't replace them. The purpose of this mind map is to make sure I can see the big picture without having to remember it. And to give me a sense that nothing really big and important is hidden somewhere and might get missed.
I initially tried setting up due dates for interim tasks, but ended up with so many they would clog up my lists and I would see too many overdue tasks, so I've moved away from that and only use real deadlines.
The weekly review should help you see if you are doing things frequently enough to meet deadlines, but if this is not often enough to ensure things are progressing I put an action in my tickler file to review the project plan.
For example if I do my weekly reviews on a Sunday but I have a Friday deadline and lots to do to meet it, I might put a note in my tickler file for Tue/Wed to review the project plan to help spark some more action towards the deadline. This gives me the reminder before the deadline to get it moving.
due date vs wish date
My NA-lists are in Excel, and I have two columns containing dates. A due date, where I fill in hard deadlines (must be done by that date) and a column with a wish date (would be nice to get it done by that time). For some items I have both filled in, for other items only one of both. This way I see in one look all of the actions with upcomming deadlines (dealine less than 1 week colors orange, less than 3 days colors red, automatically).
I don't put hard deadlines on my calendar, it just doesn't work for me.
For intermediary actions I put the final deadline for the project in the due date column, and the time I would like to finish the intermediate action in the wish date column.
During weekly review I go over my list, and adapt wish dates if necessary according to new priorities.
You might find this article interesting on this whole due date issue:
The Insanity of the What-by-When | HolacracyOne:
That's a great article Kelly. So many times I have agreed to due dates with others knowing that I think it's unrealistic and have no idea how to make it happen.
I keep a separate list call @DEADLINES where I keep all of my due date information. It is part of my daily routine to check that list. I also have the option to put them on my calendar if I want to add an extra layer of security
NEVER plug in self-imposed deadlines for projects. Way too easy to do, and it is waaaaaaaaaay to easy to just blow them off. If you start to ignore those deadlines, you will ignore most of them (now which is a real deadline and which is just "like to finish by"?)
Only use REAL deadlines:
- I promised by customer they would have it by
- The presentation is scheduled for
- I will get fired if...