Your question is a very good one and I was confused on the same issues when I first started (over 10 years ago). I hope my answer is simple enough to help you.
Originally Posted by Eternal Optimist
A "next action" really is nothing more than a placeholder for a project. Ideally, when you finish one action in a project, you add the next one....you don't wait until the weekly review to do that because it will really slow you down.
You can also have multiple "next actions" going at the same time, as long as they are completely independent of each other. Using an example from my personal projects list: I'm working toward remodeling my kitchen. My successful outcome is defined as "Kitchen Remodel Completed". Three next actions, all independent of each other that I can take right now are:
- Make a list of all the items I know I want to include in the remodel
- Surf Pinterest for design ideas
- Check Consumer Reports to vet appliance brands
This might be a project with dozens and dozens of next actions before it's over, so I'll create a mind map (or a list) of all the next actions I can think of before the project will be complete. But I won't load those future "next actions" into my system yet, because I will blow a fuse! Those future next actions are called "project support". During my Weekly Review, I'll take a look at that list or mindmap and see if I'm ready to add any more next actions to my contexts lists at that time. But I ALWAYS make sure I keep at least one action step loaded and ready to go.
Does that make more sense to you?
I am the Party