Oops. Double post.
I'm with you here. I will resist "scheduling a meeting with Fred" till the cows come home but "calling Fred" is a piece of cake. However, for some projects, my next actions can be bigger chunks. I'm a programmer so will often have tasks such as "Fix that bug in my code". Now, this can be broken down in steps such as:For myself I won't allow actions like "schedule meeting with Fred about X", because for me that is not action (Schedule is action only if we have shared calendar). I haven't thinked it through. It would end up as "Call Fred about meeting about X" or "Email Fred about meeting about X". Maybe this is just blind following of Davids definition about next action and project.
write tests to capture bug
change code to make tests pass
refactor code to bring it within standards
check tests still pass
But I have done these steps so many times that for me "fix bug" is an actionable item. Maybe one day I'll become as skilled at arranging meetings as I am at fixing bugs.
Wasn't it David Allen who recommended not having a "to be filed" pile because
it tends never to get filed? (I could be getting him mixed up with someone else.)
Seriously -- it sounds like you've got a system that works well for you, and that's
great. I do somewhat more processing, and doing, while emptying the
physical inbox. Maybe it's more like a 5-minute rule (approximately) than
a 2-minute rule. I find that this works better for me. For example, if I decide
to file something, I prefer to file it while it's still on my mind, i.e. immediately,
rather than come across it later and have to go through thinking "oh, yeah, that.
I still need to file that." Filing immediately works better for me in terms of
mental energy and motivation. The same applies to doing some quick actions
while processing the inbox. For other people, maybe filing a bunch of things
at once, perhaps when in a filing mood, might work better. Possibly I'm minimizing
the number of transitions from one task to another, or something. I suppose
it depends a lot on personality, and also somewhat on the types of things to be filed and
the physical space, such as how far away the filing cabinet is. When do you
decide where exactly to file it: when you put it in the 'to file" pile, or when you
take it out of that pile? Or is where to file it always obvious to you?
I have a file on the computer to index my paper files. I file a thing alphabetically
in the filing cabinet, and then, because there are multiple possible keywords I might have filed it under, I type a line into the computer file describing the item and listing all the keywords. When I want to find it, if I can't quickly find it in the filing cabinet,
I can quickly search the computer file (using vi) for a keyword or phrase.