Monday, 29 March 2010

The importance of dates

I have recently started to religiously date all of my actions as they go onto my lists. For those that use electronic list tools, I’m sure that this is something that is done automatically by your tool. However, as a GTDer using paper this is something that I have rather neglected, to my cost. Since I started to add the date, I have found that it gives me a far better perspective on how important something is and whether it should really be on the list as a next action, or whether it should be a Someday/Maybe. It also gives me an early procrastination warning signal! If something has a date that is older than a month I ought to really check what I want from the action:

1. Is it phrased properly? (see my recent post on drilling down to the NA)
2. Is it truly the next action? (ditto!)
3. Is it important to me anymore? Is it a Someday/Maybe?

As life moves on and we drop and pick up responsibilities, some actions may even be appropriate candidates for delegation where previously they were not. I try to keep a watch on my actions in the weekly review but it can’t hurt to have extra aids, such as an entry date, to speed up the consideration process.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Drilling down to the Next Action

My @Office list had started to become an inbox and not a next action list. It happens really slowly so you don’t notice at first, but suddenly you find it more difficult to act on those actions; you read down the list jumping those that sound “difficult”. Using action words at the beginning of each point is so vital; I had things like “Meeting with X” and “Minutes of X meeting” on my list – what did that mean?! Arrange a meeting? Look at notes from a meeting? Consider the need for a meeting?

The feeling of relief gained from cleaning up my lists and really drilling to the next action has made them something I can work with again. And a real plus point: my list has shrunk by a third! There was a lot of stuff that actually should have been a project, or a Someday/Maybe, or were actually two minute actions (if only I had defined them properly in the first place). An hour later and my list is truly manageable and actionable again!

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Welcome to my blog about my GTD journey. I hope that you will find my musings both enjoyable and interesting!