In Next Actions, only the essentials

AUTHOR: David Torné
tags Weekly Review List Management Organize

Wanna play a game? Reducing as much as possible what you have in your FacileThings Inbox. I am not asking you to leave aside the projects and actions you have to do, but to apply the principles of GTD and use the resources the application provides to organize your workflow properly. You are going to realize how easy it is to overload your Next Actions list. I suggest you to answer the following questions, so you can reduce the burden of what is at hand:

Is there any action to be done on a specific day or time? Well, just assign it the day or time. By doing this, the action is moved to your Calendar and disappears from the current list. Mixing these types of actions is tantamount to introduce barriers to decide what your next action is. We break the natural filtering to choose the appropriate next action. In addition to the context, time and energy available, you must consider whether the time is right.

Is there any action that only can be done from a date? I do not mean things that have to be done on a specific date, rather those that we cannot do until then. You can have them on your Next Actions list, but you should have them inactive. Having them separate gives a new dimension to the control of your work. It allows you to stop thinking about those actions you cannot do right now, and acts as a tickler file (storing the stuff you still cannot put in your lists). This that help you lighten your GTD system, facilitating the management of your activities.

Are all your ongoing projects present in your Next Actions list? Otherwise, these projects with no next step action will get stuck. During the Weekly Review you will decide what actions need to be done and what ones can wait, but during the week you should worry about defining a next action every time you complete the preceding. Creating this habit prevents forgetfulness and reinforces confidence in your GTD. What is in the Next Actions list is what you must do.

Is it essential, a priority that has to be done this week? If not, send it to your Someday/Maybe list. If it is not absolutely necessary, you can keep it out. If you mix the actions you really have to do with the ones you would like to do, you are introducing interferences that prevent you from seeing your real work. If you can postpone it for a week, leave it aside for now and think again about it in the next Weekly Review.

It is the GTD game, the game with which you control your activity. It inspires me to think that I can take control of my life by following these simple steps. This little game, or questionnaire, allows me to simplify the vision of my work and rationalize it, minimizing the burden. Apply it and say goodbye to stress.

David Torné

David is a blogger who specializes in personal productivity and GTD. Professional software developer and vocational disseminator of everything related to productivity. Follow him in his blog.

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