I think of actionable as per the workflow diagram, ie an actionable item is some 'stuff' that needs a next action.
Anyway here's an example of notes from a call I had yesterday from my boss.
Call from Con, he received the PLT briefing note for the 55E cover and will look at it tonight. Overall we don't want to delay the project. Could get odour complaints as easily in March cf January.
Will chat before the LUS lunch.
EA for scientific studies - I'll send through tomorrow morning and can chat about that also.
Comments on TI report? Am working on it.
Hydromodelling - where is DGreer at?
Would be great to get some of that data to DMay to include in his report, send through the plots. Any chance we can feed the report/results through in time?
Con wants segment 7 done by summer - I think that will be difficult looking at the program. Whilst the schedule shows that is possible, they haven't built in any of the inclement weather allowance. Also while it may be built, it probably won't be tested and commissioned by summer. CV wants us to push for that, as then we can say we have built almost half the new cover and therefore built equivalent to the existing cover before removing it.
For example I tagged these items and then put next actions in my NA list:
PLT briefing note - chat to Con
Hydromodelling - call DGreer
EA - draft EA
For me I've started tagging as part of the collection process, and so I can process later (eg at home in the evenings) I can just go to the tags, work out a next action and put that on my list. This type of a tag would be temporary.
The thing I struggle with is how do I put a reminder in my system to tell Con I have completed these things, or how they went, or what the status is if not complete? Do I put them on an agenda list for him? NA list?
And yes, he does want to know all that detail.
For me, any project planning -- no matter how simple -- belongs in project support material. If my plans are so complicated that I have charts, feature lists, etc then I create a folder for it. If it is as simple as "Tell boss when I am done" then I put a reminder in the notes field of the action or project. Then when I have completed the action or project, I make a new action. It's usually "email boss to tell him project X is completed", but sometimes an agenda item is more appropriate.
I'm asking questions for you to think about, not necessarily expecting you
to post answers in this forum (unless you feel like it).
You've listed "chat to Con" as a "next action". You might want to think about questions like these: Is it really a "next action", or is it an "action" but not
Originally Posted by Suelin23
"next", i.e. not necessarily something you can do now? If you mean chatting
immediately before the lunch, that's more like an appointment. If you can
walk into Con's office anytime to check whether Con is available to chat,
then it's a next action. You could think about what times of day are better
for that. If it can't be done now, then according to GTD it doesn't belong on
the next actions list, which should contain only things that are doable now
(if you're in that context).
Re where to put a reminder to report back to Con: I think there are some other
questions to answer first. What will be the circumstances that will make it
time to report back? For example, as soon as you finish the last action,
then it will be a good time to report that you've finished. But you also might
want to report how far you've gotten, without having finished.
It probably wouldn't make sense to do that as soon as you start.
When would be useful? Once a week? Some other time period?
Whenever you've finished a significant conversation or other action?
Whenever you've done about 5 things? Whenever you've run into a problem?
After you choose how you'll know it's time to report to Con, then you
can decide where to put it in your system. Remember, only put it on
a next-action list if you can do it now. If you want to do some work before
reporting to Con on it, then reporting to Con is an action, not a next action.
You could put it on the list of actions for that project, to be reviewed
at weekly review. You could decide to report to Con after doing some
specific action, and after that action is done then remove it from your
next-action list and write "report to Con" instead. If you want to report
to Con at regular time periods you could put it on your calendar or in
a tickle file.
Before chatting with Con you might want to list the key points that
you'll want to cover in that chat: things you want to tell him, and
questions you'll need an answer to.
I really don't know what to do about chatting. I mean, it's like calling, but the person is actually there in person. I have an @Calls list, but I don't have a chat list, I just list those items on the appropriate context. Con works at Docklands, so 'chat to Con' would be on the @Docklands list. We have open plan offices, so I can see if he is at his desk from my desk. I also have a fortnightly catchup with Con, so the agenda list could work too - give us something to talk about these have NOT been going well. Cried at one recently.
I don't like doing chats or calls, and will always be repelled by any action that starts with Call xxx or chat to xxx.
Maybe I should just email?
But then do I email for each individual item, or a group of items?
I am repelled from sending him emails of my progress as I know he will print these out and keep them. What if he uses them as evidence of my insufficient progess?