Wording of Next Actions -- getting close
I'm going to assume that you'd want to renew the subscription several weeks before it expires, but you run the risk of missing an issue and being pestered by the publisher.
Because it's date specific, this belongs on a calendar. Note: I'm making up a date for this.
1. On Calendar for November 1st, 2012. "Renew (via online) GSA Magazine - expires 12/15/12".
The wording of this is specific enough to give you all the info you'd need to be completely reminded -- it's hard-deadline, what it is, how you're going to do it.
Question: You can make up an answer, because this is public, but how do you handle tracking passwords -- online renewal stuff is great, but you still need to find the password, which can delay the process, leading to procrastination.
2. @Computer - "Write sediment and microbial (Sed Dep Carrib)".
I don't want to be the source of all truth for this one, because there is some latitude, and the GTD book will explain it better. I'm leading with an action verb, giving enough for the mind-job (sediment and microbial) and cross referencing to which paper (Sed Dep Carrib), just in case you're working on multiple projects. Sometimes it's not required to put the Project within the Action statement - up to you.
I asked where you would be doing the work because if you must be at home because of needing various physical action support (where you always have a computer) then there is a judgment call of entering within context @Home or @Computer. For example, I have a ton of computer work to-do, but (if it's work-related and has to be done in the office) it's all within @Office. If I have something to do on the computer, and it can be done anywhere, then it's within @Computer.
The paper's timelines (deadlines, etc) belongs within Action Support. It's your judgment of what you should be putting within your Calendar for deadlines, milestones, etc. I've been using the calendar for hard-edged dates and Project/Action Support for workflow stuff where the date is somewhat fluid.
Another somewhat subtle thing is are you working on a single project or multiple sub-projects (aka sections). In general, I would say you're working on one project, but your action support would probably break it down into sections. For example, I'm doing a single project - Domino upgrade - but in truth it's a bunch of smaller sub-projects. I'm using MindManager, so I don't completely lose it...
Another interesting this is that you're mentioning writing. I'm sure a part of writing this paper could be some research. This is where GTD shines -- you need a reference, so you: Go online and do a search (@Computer); find a book (@Computer); need to go to the library (@Library); read the book (@Read/Review); realize you need to speak to a professor (@Agenda); etc... etc... Do you see how you could possibly have multiple actions in different contexts popping up while "Writing" a research paper? If you're entering real actual next actions, then GTD does a marvelous job of keeping this all flowing.
3. @Phone "<Relative's name> - ask about Electromechanic contact name and number re: radio and cellphone charger"
This was an interesting one, because the focus was on contacting an Electromechanic, but the Next Action was to contact someone else.
I'm using the @Phone category for this, but there's also the context @Agendas. This is also useful. Let's say that, over time you accrue stuff that you need to ask/confer with said relative. If the conversation can be postponed and grouped together with other items, then you could create an @Agendas list and start with the person's name and then a reminder of the detail. This concept of @Agendas is extremely powerful when you consider its use -- things you need to discuss with your professor, etc. You'll find that your future meetings go much smoother because you'll rattle through your list, capture the various next actions -- whether they are for you or the other person, capture various waiting-fors, etc. Good stuff.
The key takeaway with the @Phone list is that, if you enter stuff there, ensure you are specific -- name, phone number, reason. Reason being is that if you are stuck in the bank line for 20 minutes with a cellphone and your @Phone list says, "Call Bob" -- unless you can remember who that is, what's the number and why you're calling, then it's not really useful.
You asked about wording of a project. This is really up to you, and it will improve over time. Ideally there is a verb someplace (Meg Edwards and Marian Bateman have a great audio on this topic). Something like:
EPS Section written.
By saying "written" I'm putting this in the past tense as if it's already done -- what does it look like. By saying "written" I know the action is about writing. I'm saying EPS Section so I know what it is -- hopefully "Section" is adequate. You want to ensure the Project is written so that it's enticing and doesn't "repel" you.
Hopefully that helps. You're on your way. Looking forward to more chats. Feel free to reply with questions on things I may still need to expand on or explain.
Originally Posted by zff
Director of IT
David Allen Company