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Understanding "Next Actions"



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Proximo

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: 3



Understanding Next Actions

One of the powers of GTD is the amount of flexibility in making it work for your life. There is no law that says you must implement GTD 100% as David Allen teaches it, but I do believe some basic fundamentals are important for all to understand and implement them as intended.

I will share how I understand Next Actions from Allen's book.

Next Actions

David Allen stresses the importance of having all of your actions and next actions out of your head.

This is where I think some people are not understanding what "Next Actions" are.

There is a difference between Actions and Next Actions. Some people think that Next Actions are only relative to Projects and not to individual Actions. I went back into the book to read up on this again and get more clarity.

You have two main areas where the stuff in your head goes if you determine it's Actionable. If it's a single task that needs to get done, it goes in your Actions list and if it's something that takes multiple steps to complete, it goes in your Projects list.

Not all items in your Action list are Next Actions. The Action list is simply a list of everything you determined needs to get done as soon as possible. It's not possible to do them all at once, so you must decided from this Action list, what you will tackle next. That task or tasks that you decided to tackle become your "Next Actions".

Next Actions are not just for Project list but Action list.

During your weekly review, you determine what you will accomplish during the that week and this can dynamically change as you make progress.

Project list contain all your Projects. Anything that takes multiple steps or task. Any active project should have one "Next Action" to move it forward. You can't complete a Project, only the next step that will move it forward.

So Next Actions are used for both Action list and Project list.

When you process your inbox and get things out of your "psychic RAM," you free yourself from having to remember everything that you have to do in your life. Since you have it in your trusted system, you are able to focus your mind on whatever task is at hand.

Your mind does a bad job as a reminder system. It never reminds you that you need eggs when you are in the Grocery store. You remember that when you open the fridge and realize that you have no eggs. That is the wrong time to be reminded.

The techniques that are implemented in GTD are not revolutionary. Revolution comes with the change in mindset to think about the next action that you need to do to accomplish your goal.

With this said, the Weekly Review is the single most important part of GTD, because it allows you to identify your "Next Actions" for your Action list and Project list.

-Proximo


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 1



Not all items in your Action list are Next Actions. The Action list is simply a list of everything you determined needs to get done as soon as possible. It's not possible to do them all at once, so you must decided from this Action list, what you will tackle next. That task or tasks that you decided to tackle become your "Next Actions".
It seems that you are saying that if you have, say, 30 actions on your list, then you determine which of those actions you can complete today and those become your "Next Actions". Is that what you mean? If yes, then I think that's different from what David Allen says.

From Making It All Work:
Once you have determined that an item is actionable, you must then apply a critical thought process to it — one that represents a real secret for productive work and life. It is the essential clarifying activity for a vast majority of what grabs everyone's attention, and it comes down to the two questions:
What's my desired outcome? What am I committed to accomplishing or finishing about this?
What's the next action? What's the next thing I need to do to move toward that goal?

These two questions, which I recognized years ago and put forward as the key determiners of the "work" that needs to be managed, remain at the core of the thought processes of the Getting Things Done models. What does "done" mean? What does "doing" look like, and where does it happen? These questions are almost never both answered completely when we encounter "stuff" that we know we ought to do something about. We have to apply intentional thinking and decision-making to get them clear.
A "Next Action" is not the next thing you'll do from your list of actions. It is the next thing that needs to be done to achieve a particular outcome or to complete a "Project". For single "non-project" actions, the "Next action" is trivial -- it is the action itself.

The concept of "Next Action" is useful when moving forward on a Project that seems overwhelming, or practically impossible to complete. Even if the Project is "impossible", the Next Action is do-able, and that's all that matters right now.

Perhaps we're saying the same thing.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



@Claudio,

We are saying the same thing.

You are correct. A "Next Action" is NOT the next thing you'll do from your list of actions. I did not say that or at least intended for it to be understood that way.

A Next Action is what you decide needs to have your focus for that day or week. When thinking about your Actions list, you may have 50 task to get done, but you still must choose what you will work on first. Not the first on the list, but what task you decided needs to be done first out of the entire list.

This is normally done in the weekly review and you use Context, Time and Energy to help you consider the candidates you will do next from that list.

If you look at the "Things" app. for the Mac and iPhone. It has won many awards as a great GTD Software. The application has a section called "Next Actions" and it list items from the Actions List and Project List that are the focus at the moment.

This is what I am saying. You have an Action list with 50 items and after doing a weekly review, you decided that task number 5, 18, 26 and 42 are the most important to you at the time and you mark them as "Next Actions" for the week.

This is where Focus comes into play. You can't have focus by looking at a list of 50 task and decide on the fly what you want to do. One of the reasons for the weekly review is to go over the 50 task and pick out what you will do next.

That is what I am saying.

All the task in the Action list ARE in a sense the Next Action, because they are the only action for that task. They are not Projects. But I think many people are labeling them all "Next Actions" and that is what I don't agree with. You require focus and must choose what you will get done as Allen teaches.

Hope this helps clear up what I am saying. There are 3 GTD Specific apps. that lay out the interface with this in mind. They have an Actions List and Projects List and a separate section that pulls in all task marked as Next Actions from both into one easy to focus area so you can be productive.

In my example, lets say that I completed the 4 task I marked as "Next Actions" from my Actions list. Let's forget about the Project list at the moment.

Now I have 46 task in my Actions List and it's Wednesday. I have said many times that I also do what I call mini reviews during the week as things come up or task get completed. So now I will quickly go through my 46 Action items and pick out several as my "Next Actions". Let's say I picked another 4.

Now I have focus for the rest of the week on what I will be doing. Friday comes around and I am ready for my weekly review. I now have 42 task remaining in my Action List.

I know in the real world things get added during the week, but this is just a simple example.

I never look at the massive Action List and think that all this stuff needs to get done right now. That is not GTD. GTD is saying, what will I tackle next to move things forward.

Not sure if this makes sense, but I feel we are both understanding the same thing.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



@Claudio,

As I think more and more about this, I think an easy way to look at it is this.

Priorities: David mentions priorities but they are not hard coded into GTD. Meaning you really don't need a priority list, but you determine what you will get done based on other factors such as Context, Time and Energy.

Once you decide what is most important or high priority if you will. You know what to do next. So in this way of looking at it. The "Next Actions" for your Action List is basically what you determined are the high priority task.

GTD does not label them by priorities but they use the "Next Action" wording instead.

So "Next Actions" are more like your Priority or focus for your Action List and "Next Actions" for Projects are the very next task that will move the project forward, which is also your priority and focus.

Now we are getting deep into this.... :-)

Please remember that I am speaking from my perspective of what works for me based on GTD. I am not saying that I use a 100% perfect GTD system setup, because one does not exist. David is teaching a thought process that can be tweaked by the individual. The import thing is that it works for you.

I simply can't look at a list of 50 items and consider them all Next Actions. My head will explode. They are Actions that must get completed and I label the ones I will focus on as "Next Actions" using a Star.

Vitalist, Nozbe and Things does it this way.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



Deleted original post.

Just saw your post. I'll read it and then respond.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
The "Next Actions" for your Action List is basically what you determined are the high priority task.
I can see how that works, but that's not how David Allen defines "Next Action". FWIW.
GTD does not label them by priorities but they use the "Next Action" wording instead.
Who are "they"? ;)

Anyway, I think I made my point in my previous post. Turns out that we are not saying the same thing. :(

BTW, I have simplified my approach as a result of your posts on GTD.
Thanks.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



@Claudio

It's important to remember that GTD was designed to be very open so that each individual can take the core parts and tweak them so that it works for them. I started this post with this statement.

Look at the "Mastering Workflow | Processing & Organizing" from Davidco.

When looking under the "Defer it" section. Here is what David Allen says.

Calendar: For me to do, specific to a day or time

Next Action: For me to do, as soon as I can - Action Reminder lists/folders/trays

Waiting for: in communication system, and track it on - Lists/folders

In the Next Action step, David states "Action Reminder List"

Not "Next Action Reminder List"

The Action list contain single task that must all get done. This does not make them all "Next Actions" at that particular time for me. During my weekly review, I must decide what I will work on "Next" and these Actions become "Next Actions" from my Action Reminder List.

This is where anyone can interpret it differently. David calls the section "Next Actions" but clearly states "Action Reminder List".

Many GTD applications also interpret this as I do, because that is how their software is setup. You have an Actions List and you select which items become Next Actions for you to focus on. Then there is a Next Actions section that filters everything out, except the Next Actions from both your Project List and Action List.

Vitalist does it this way, Things does it this way, Nozbe does it this way and several others. So It's OK to use GTD as it makes sense to you. I am not alone in my interpretation but most importantly, this makes more sense to me.

I rather focus on several Next Actions from a very long Action List than to simply open the Actions List with 100 task and say, "Wow, What should I do next".

I already figured this out in my Weekly review and clearly marked them so that I can Get Things Done.

There is no right or wrong way of implementing GTD. I was only sharing my understanding of it and the habits I developed early on from GTD specific applications.

You have very valid points as well and it can work either way.

I will post some links for reference.

Workflow from Davidco.
http://screencast.com/t/rEvRWvVLl

Vitalist
http://screencast.com/t/KbKSgK5bD

Nozbe
http://screencast.com/t/ZBgsIgWrLx

Just some examples of GTD apps. setup the way I use GTD. Does not mean it must be done this way. Just making a point.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: 0



Proximo, I'm not disagreeing with the way that you've structured your lists. I'm just pointing out that "Next Action" is a core GTD concept and it seems to me that you are underestimating the importance of David Allen's formulation of the concept.

Another quote from Making It All Work:
If there is one litmus test to determine the degree of control, perspective, and clarity in any situation, whatever the number of people, it would be this: Is everyone involved in agreement about the subsequent actions that need to be taken, and who's going to be responsible for them? If that consensus exists, there is no need for further capturing, clarifying, organizing, or reviewing; there is no need to discuss or examine desired outcomes. You're on. That's not to imply that the resulting actions will inevitably be the right ones — it just means that positive engagement has been maximized in this particular situation, for all involved. Whoever is playing will be in the optimal position to direct his focus to the job at hand and to learn and course-correct while moving forward.

As all roads lead to Rome, all success comes back to action. It is the final of the five stages of gaining control, and the ultimate expression of all six horizons of maintaining perspective. If you simply took every item that has your attention, on any level, and forced yourself to determine the very next step to be taken on each of them, moving it toward some closure, you would be amazed at the clarity you would achieve.


This message was edited Aug 26, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 27, 2009
Score: 0



I agree and this is what I am doing. I don't under estimate my Next Actions, in fact, I make them the most important part of my focus.

I can't focus on a list of Actions that contain 100 task and simply say they are all Next Actions. This is just my Action List, my Actionable items. By marking the ones I will focus on that day to move them forward toward completion, I am using Next Actions to my advantage. Not just calling everything in my Actions List a Next Action.

David almost always mentions Next Actions from the perspective of a Project. There is only one Next Action for a Project. Once that action is completed, you can move to the next one on the list.

So why would I call all 100 task in my Action List "Next Actions". To me this goes against that very principle. This will be the equivalent of saying that everything in my Action list needs to be done all at the same time.

Not possible. My Action list contains many single actions that I must get done, but I should only focus on the very next move that will move that list toward completion. This is why I select the task I will accomplish or move forward that day, as Next Actions.

I would not look at a Project with 50 sub-task and try to get them all done at the same time. I require focus and this is no different for my Actions List.

"Whoever is playing will be in the optimal position to direct his focus to the job at hand and to learn and course-correct while moving forward."

Focus is determining the Next Action. You can't have focus if you have 100 items as Next Actions.

This is my point.

Like I said. GTD can be implemented in any way that it makes sense for you. I don't think I am underestimating the importance of Next Actions. I actually think I make them the most important part of my focus. For Projects and Action List.

I appreciate our great conversation and I have learned something from it.


This message was edited Aug 27, 2009.
Jarery

Posted: Aug 27, 2009
Score: 0



Your initial post statement includes: " There is no law that says you must implement GTD 100% as David Allen teaches it, but I do believe some basic fundamentals are important for all to understand and implement them as intended."


Then you proceed to change that to your own interpretation which to me is not as David Allen intended.

If your single action list has 100 different items, none of which are interrelated or else they should be a project, then finishing any one of them will reduce your list. How can there only be certain ones which if completed reduce your list as you imply with "My Action list contains many single actions that I must get done, but I should only focus on the very next move that will move that list toward completion. This is why I select the task I will accomplish or move forward that day, as Next Actions". This just makes no sense to me.

If you have 100 separate single action items, then they all do need to be done 'as soon as possible'. Your right, you cant work on all 100 at once. Isnt that what context helps reduce? If your in the mood to spend some time on the phone you filter those items to show the phone ones.

All you appear to be doing with your interpretation is prioritizing some over the others. Why not just use the built in priority that Toodledo has built in? I must be missing something.


This message was edited Aug 27, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 27, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
I don't think I am underestimating the importance of Next Actions.
I should have simply said that I am emphasizing the importance of David Allen's formulation of "Next Action".

Identifying and doing the "Next Action" is what drives a project forward, and almost everything that we do consists of projects and not single actions. Allen starts with the big picture but emphasizes the next immediate physical "do-able" step - the Next Action. Choosing which action to do now is a separate issue, and it's what I think you are addressing in this thread.

Thanks again for your comments and your help.


This message was edited Aug 27, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 27, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Jarery:
All you appear to be doing with your interpretation is prioritizing some over the others. Why not just use the built in priority that Toodledo has built in?
I think that Proximo uses Star instead of Priority because it is faster and simpler.

The application Things uses Star to move a task to Today.
Nozbe and Vitalist use Star as a shortcut priority.

But, these applications do not define "Next Action" as being an action that has a Star. That's Proximo's definition.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



@Claudio & Jerery.

I appreciate both your inputs and have learned from them.

I decided to read these sections of the book again and I want to start this by saying that you are both correct.

David Allen teaches the Next Action but he does so when talking about Projects. He is never very clear on what to call Individual Task. Every time I read the book about Next Actions I always find him talking about Projects. So a project has several task and only one can be done at a time to move it forward. This particular task is called the Next Action so that you can focus on it and move the Project forward.

This is very clear to me.

When I read about Individual task that don't fall into the Project category, David says to "Defer it" to your Calendar, Delegate it to someone else or add it to your Action List (Next Actions) of everything you must get done as soon as possible.

This is where you guys are picking up the Next Action terminology for individual task. David is never really clear about your Action list as it relates to the Next Actions but he does label them as Next Actions in his diagram. So you are both correct.

Now that I got that our of the way. Here is why I don't call my Action List "Next Actions". I don't think David is clear enough on this, so I implemented what does makes sense to me.

To me, just because I have a list of Actions that must all be done, I don't consider them ALL Next Actions. If I look at my Action list as a Project with many task. What should I do to move this project forward. I should decide what my Next Action is.

By calling them all Next Actions to me is the equivalent of trying to do all the task to a project at the same time.

I am saying this to explain why I don't call them Next Actions by default. I understand the Action list is not a Project.

What David does mention about your Defer List or Action list is how to decide what you will do next by using your context, time, energy and priorities. So what I simply do is use my Next Action indicator, which in my case is a Star, to identify the task I will do next.

This makes sense to me since I need to understand what I will be doing for that day. By calling them all Next Actions will imply that I should be doing all of them at the same time. That makes no sense to me.

If an Action has only one step, how could it be the Next Action? It's the only action. There is no choice.

But looking at all the single step Actions as a whole, I must choose what I will do next.

Individual task are all Next Actions according to David Allen's definition of Projects, but I don't think this makes sense for individual task that are Not Projects and I also don't think he clearly covers this as it relates to Individual Task. I keep reading but can't find where he explains this clearly. I think it contradicts what he is teaching about projects based on the definition.

As I complete task, I go back to my Action List and filter through it again and choose what I will tackle next. I flag the task with a Star, which in my case is a Next Action. As I shared above, many GTD apps/services understand it the way I do and designed their software in the same way.

hope that makes more sense.

Both of you are correct in that the book considers them all Next Actions, but I think this goes against what the book teaches about Projects with multi-steps. The task in your Action list don't have multi-steps and I don't think calling them all Next Actions by default makes any sense.

This is my perspective. By that definition, you should be doing all of them at the same exact time.

In any case, I think this thread was a great discussion and I hope I am clear that both of you are correct. At the same time I hope you can see why I implemented this part differently.

One of the biggest arguments about the first book was that it left too many details out and left too much of the system open ended. Some say that is what makes GTD great.

I am simply exercising the openess of the system in this area because I think it's not clear and missing some details.

Thanks and let's Get Things Done.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
One of the biggest arguments about the first book was that it left too many details out and left too much of the system open ended.
That's why there's a second book. :)

David Allen's formulation of "Next Actions" is a key part of what differentiates GTD from other "time management" systems. Any attempt at re-defining "Next Action" will dilute the importance of the concept.

Of course, you can come up with any system that works for you. David Allen isn't the ultimate, infallible authority on stress-free productivity. But there is power in some of his key principles.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Claudio:
Posted by Proximo:
One of the biggest arguments about the first book was that it left too many details out and left too much of the system open ended.
That's why there's a second book. :)

David Allen's formulation of "Next Actions" is a key part of what differentiates GTD from other "time management" systems. Any attempt at re-defining "Next Action" will dilute the importance of the concept.

Of course, you can come up with any system that works for you. David Allen isn't the ultimate, infallible authority on stress-free productivity. But there is power in some of his key principles.


I agree and I need to get the second book. But if I stop and think for a second. Regardless of what David thinks. Calling every task in my Action List a Next Action simply does not make sense to me.

I can only do one at a time, so why call them all Next Actions. I can't do them all right now. I need to pick one. So I do. I mark it with a Star and get it done.

:-) This is so simple in my mind.

I also wish David would write his book in a more clear cut fashion. Sometimes you have to read what he is saying several times to understand it and then you are not sure if it really makes sense. :-)

Bottom line is that I am extremely productive and accomplish hundreds of task a month. I have more single action task than I do Projects. So using a Next Action indicator for what I will be working on is very key to me.

Once I read the second book, I may think differently, but the most important thing is to think and not just follow everything that makes sense to someone else. Always make sure you are doing things so they make sense to you and make you productive.

Thanks again. You guys are great.
Jarery

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



"I can only do one at a time, so why call them all Next Actions. I can't do them all right now. I need to pick one. So I do. I mark it with a Star and get it done."


If at any given moment i review my list, decide on one, star it, and then do it....well the starring action was just an addition with no purpose. If im going to review, pick what i want to move forward and complete, then why take the time to star it as a first step in completing it?

At any given moment, your time available, energy level, etc is different than it is at a different moment. I cant review in the morning and decide what i will be working on in the afternoon with any accuracy.

If it works for you in your system, then great. But when i read your initial post it seemed to come off as if you trying to tell us the correct way, not an alternative way according to your own interpretation.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



@Jarery,

Many of my single task will take longer than a day to complete and I also have Projects that I am moving forward as well.

I use a custom search that filters everything to only show my "Next Actions" for projects and actions. By adding the Star, it prevents me from forgetting what I was doing the day before if I did not complete it and it's also useful for my custom search view so that I can focus on the 2 to 3 task at hand.

In the real world I never have the luxury of only working on one thing and completing it. I usually have 2 to 3 Next Actions that I have to jump between through the day to make progress.

So this works perfectly for me. Looking at my entire Action List with no indication of which one I decided to work on would not work because chances are I may not complete it in one day.

Besides this, I just have a problem with accepting the wording of "Next Action" for everything in a list that I could not possibly work on at the same time. So it's just a wording issue with me. It makes no sense, so I don't call them that. :-)

Next Actions are the things I am doing Next. What a concept. lol
Claudio

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
I have more single action task than I do Projects.
...
Many of my single tasks will take longer than a day to complete and I also have Projects that I am moving forward as well.
This is a bit strange, within a discussion of GTD.

Do you have an example of a "single task" that takes longer than a day? And, could you compare it to something that you identify as a Project?

It seems that you've created your own version of GTD vocabulary.


This message was edited Aug 28, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Claudio:
Posted by Proximo:
I have more single action task than I do Projects.
...
Many of my single tasks will take longer than a day to complete and I also have Projects that I am moving forward as well.
This is a bit strange, within a discussion of GTD.

Do you have an example of a "single task" that takes longer than a day? And, could you compare it to something that you identify as a Project?

It seems that you've created your own version of GTD vocabulary.


Claudio,

I implement GTD in almost every concept from the book, but not all. One of them is the wording of Next Actions.

If you could convince me why this wording makes sense, I will change over to it.

As for task that take more than a day. Wow, I work in an environment where some task may take 30 minutes, others will take several hours and some will take 2 to 3 days.

An example:

1. Change the inventory code for outsource parts from one location to the other. It's one task, but can take 2 days to complete. Hundreds of parts on a long list.

2. Generate a custom report from our database for an analysis. Sometimes I must create a new Query for the information I need and must run the Query to prove it works. This may take several hours, but if I get a phone call or my boss tells me to jump on something new. I won't be able to finish this task and it will filter on to the next day.

I can go on and on.

Project Examples:

Implement a Product Data Management System. This will require several task to accomplish.
1. Test the collaboration process between Manufacturing and Engineering
2. Determine what PDM Software choices I have based on their feature set.
3. Map out the implementation requirements for each of the PDM choices.
4. Determine the custom data requirements that will work with our SOP.
5. Get a price quote on the purchase of the software and training requirements.
6. Create a schedule for the implementation phase.
7. Create a schedule for the training phase.

etc.

Not sure if this helps. I am open to any suggestions.


This message was edited Aug 28, 2009.
Claudio

Posted: Aug 28, 2009
Score: 1



Well, actually, it does help. Thanks.

It's clear that you know what you're doing. I'm quite sure that you don't really need any help in getting your things done, but I'll offer some suggestions for fine tuning.

David Allen asks: What does "done" mean? What does "doing" look like, and where does it happen?

In your two multi-day "single tasks," what did you accomplish after the first day? More than nothing and less than all, right? It could useful to break down the inventory task into a multi-day project, for example, change the inventory code for 300 parts, or whatever you think is a reasonable number for one day. This way, you can mark it off as complete because it is "done". And, then, do the remaining parts the next day.

In your custom report example, the first thing to notice is that you haven't identified the specific, physical tasks that are part of "generating a custom report". Does the report consist of only a query or do you also have to modify the layout and format of the report itself? Do you create the specs yourself or do you get them from someone else? Do you design the report first or do you create the design "on the fly"? Seems to me that there's probably more than one step, especially if it's taking more than a day to complete.

In your Project example, you've identified the steps but not the "actions". Again, you don't have to follow Allen's ideas, but, the GTD methodology is based on identifying and completing physical actions. Remember the example of a dental checkup? You can't actually do the checkup. All you can do is phone your dentist's office to book the appointment and then go to see the dentist. Perhaps you don't have the phone number and you're not sure where it is, and that's why you've been delaying the appointment. (Or, at least, that's one of the reasons ...) In that case, the Next Action is "Call or email [whoever knows] to get the dentist's phone number".

In your example, how do you test the collaboration process and how do you know when it is completed? If I were looking at you when you were doing it, what would I see you doing? As it is, I don't know what you actually do to test the process. Okay, I don't need to know, as long as you know, right? But, what if you are not sure, and, because you're not sure, you delay in moving ahead with the project? What's the "action verb" that identifies what you need to do? Are you meeting and talking with someone? Are you examining some reports? Are you running some diagnostic tests?

Likewise with "Determine" and "Get a price quote". Do you actually mean "List the requirements" and "Call suppliers A and B to get price quotes"?

Again, the power of Next Action is greatest when you are hesitating, procrastinating, or when you just don't know what to do next. Once you identify the Next Action, you release all the "psychic energy" that was preventing you from moving forward with the project. Sometimes, realizing that it is a "project" and not a single action can be a relief. "Yeah, of course I thought it was tough -- I was trying to do too much in one step. A small step is more manageable. It's "do-able". And I don't need to figure out all the steps now. I just need to do the next one now. After that, I'll do the next step."

The approach is very much rooted in the present. It minimizes worry and guilt, two of the least useful emotions.

Hope that helps.


This message was edited Aug 28, 2009.
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