That works for some people, with very few projects, with not very many interconnections, that don't last a long time. I'm dealing with on average about 200 active current projects with about another 100 or so waiting for some time or thing to finish. My projects can span months, years, decades and in a few cases even lifetimes. I need to document where I was when I stopped (many are seasonal), what my thoughts are, the after action of what worked and what didn't (especially important for the really long term projects) and where I plan to go next with that project. I tend to document more next actions than most because I enjoy the feeling of checking off tasks and that keeps me motivated to get more done. But I also use next actions as placeholders.
Originally Posted by supergtdman
I disagree strongly that next actions are so obvious that you can generate them on the go. Not for most of my projects. Next actions can take a lot of thought. For example, we're grazing the sheep in a very tight fast rotation. Sure the next action seems obvious, "move the sheep to fresh grass every 12-36 hours", but the location to move them to is not. That requires thought and planning, looking at the calendar to see when I need the flock down near the handling facility to give wormer, or vaccinate lambs, or sort out slaughter sheep and also the grass growth, which is not even over the whole farm and also depends on where the irrigation water is moving to. I don't do the irrigation, my husband does, so I have to coordinate with him for sheep moves. Plus I have to account for the weather over the next few days, cloudy cooler weather means I can graze the pastures with little or no shade, hot dry weather means I need to make the grazing breaks big enough to include enough shade trees for all the sheep in that grazing group and they need to be in places with shade all day. I can't just walk out and decide to move the sheep I have to have a plan with contingencies for the next month or so. That sort of stuff can't be done on the fly and needs dedicated processing and planning time. And I need to document my reasoning and choices so that in the event of an emergency, illness or injury to myself or my husband, someone else can come in and work my plan and sheep won't die.
For long term projects, when I finish a task and move on to another project for a while it may be weeks, months or even years before I get back to the original project to move it forward again. I need to have it well documented as to where I am going. The next action I defined, and the reasoning behind that are necessary data points to capture. Sure, in a few cases the circumstances have changed and the next action is no longer the correct one but for me that is a very rare occurrence. It's not just the context that is important, Front Pear Orchard Pasture is a location and context but I need to know the next actions to be done there to be efficient: Mow willows on catch ditch, put up welded wire on county road gate, cut down dead rootstock tree, set traps to kill marmots digging holes in dam, spray thistles on dam face, burn brush pile and so on. Those are next actions for a bunch of different projects and it's more efficient to deal with them as next actions.
Another issue is I never have liked tagging, I don't think that way. There is an interesting book I read about the difference in how different people organize their world. Some people do much better with tags and others do much better with hierarchical systems. There were some tests to determine which way you leaned and I was so clearly in the hierarchical side that I don't think I had even one question answered in the middle much less on the tagging side. I can't remember what the book was but I found it really helpful to use as a way to adapt my GTD system to fit how I think.
Last edited by Oogiem; 08-12-2013 at 07:18 AM.
Reason: correct spelling errors sigh
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