One aspect of implementing GTD I have struggled with is how to associate "Next Actions" when they are in "@" contexts with their parent projects and vice verce. For example, let's say I have a project named "London trip" that has several next actions.
It would look like this in my Outlook task:
Subject: London Trip
Category: Active Project
1. NY car reservations
2. LN car reservations
3. Dry cleaning and laundry
5. Notify alarm company
Desired Outcome: Have a stress-less trip to and from London.
1. Stop mail - 6/25
2. Stop newspaper - 6/25
Now, I need to have several next actions in motion because there are a few things I can do on any given day in any order. For example:
Subject: NY car reservations
Subject: LN car reservations
Subject: Drop of suit to dry cleaner
I have a few questions about how I am setting myself up. These questions express some of my frustration of how to easily associate hundreds of items with each other without opening tasks repeatedly. Keeping track mentally is not workable and goes against one of the GTD principles of having a trusted system and not having to mentally track things.
- Is it "dangerous" to have more than one "Next Action" active in my "@" contexts at once?
- Does anyone have suggestions for how to associate a next action with its parent project so it can easily be identified?
- How about a simple way to "know" that a next action listed in the project entry is active in an "@" context or needs to be added?
I just started playing with the following ideas
- Keep project titles short and use them in the "Next Action" subject, i.e. "LN Trip > NY car reservations"
- Use the exact text of the "Next Action" subject, minus the project name" for what goes in the notes of the project task, i.e. "1. NY car reservations"
My main concern is I am leading myself into a cross-referencing tangle that will frustrate me more. I'd love to see some "worked examples" of what successful GTD'ers do.