David Allen says to identify the next single physical action, but that isn't really what he means!! For example, "phone Susan about X": he counts making a phone call as a single action, when really it involves walking over to the phone, picking up the receiver, dialling the first number, then dialling the next number, etc. I think the reason he counts it as a single physical action is that it's doable: if we have on our list "phone Susan", we feel that we know how to do it and we'll do it.
Originally Posted by AlexanderChow
Maybe for you, larger chunks are doable actions. That's fine -- as long as the actions you write on your list are doable for you, and you actually do them. If you find yourself avoiding certain actions, then maybe you need to do some preliminary thinking as recommended in GTD.
When exactly do you experience the frustration?
Are you able to identify ahead of time what context you'll need to be in when you start?
About not being in the mood to think it through ahead of time: for me, this was a matter of willpower, and now it's pretty much a habit, so it takes less effort. For me, having a list of small doable actions is delightful and helps me get things done, so that helps me summon the energy to transform my stuff into doable actions for the next time. It may take about 1 to 10 seconds of serious thinking, the kind of thinking I would do if I were about to do the thing.
You can figure out what type of thing you'll want to see on your list in order to start working on something: a chunk of work that's not too big and not too small for you,
pre-defined just the right amount for you.
I also sometimes get frustrated if I've identified the next step, and then later when I go to do it, I've changed my mind and want to do a different next step. One way to help with this is to say e.g. "sort books in order to move them upstairs" -- that is, list both an action and a larger goal; that makes it easier to discard the action but still work on the same goal.
Last edited by cwoodgold; 12-21-2012 at 06:12 PM.
Inability is an abstract thing involving comparison with alternate universes; it cannot be experienced.