Why life is so confusing, and what list managers have to do with it
I think this minor GTD puzzle illustrates some of the issues:
My wife and I are in an unfamiliar city, and she asked me to pick up a vitamin she takes. In our home city, I usually buy it at Whole Foods, but I don't know where they are here. On the other hand, there are many other places that might carry it as well. So I have two next actions:
@Out: buy vitamins for wife
@Computer: locate store that sells vitamins
It looks like the first is dependent on the second, so in some fancy-shmancy tool like OmniFocus, I can set it up this way. On the other hand, I might come across the vitamin at the local grocery store (probably not, it's small) or at a drug store or health foods store. So there is no dependency. But if I haven't found them somewhere soon, then I need to look online for sure. So I should put a due date for the second action. But wait!. Looking online is a two-minute item, so I should just do it, right? Then I can record whatever I find in the note field for "Buy vitamins." Whew, that's a lot of thinking for buying one single item.
This past weekend, our son was married to a wonderful woman. It was lovely, but multiply this one little not-really-a-project item into hundreds of not-really-projects, and you get a sense of the scale of the wedding weekend. I'm not sure any tool is the "perfect tool" for something with that scope.