Thursday, August 30, 2007

Organising actions and projects

As I continue to develop my GTD-based system for organising my life, I find I have to keep making adjustments and trying new things. This is to be expected, and I wouldn't have assumed that I'd drop into a system that did everything the right way for me first time.

One of the things I've noticed is how easily it is to write an action that is actually a project. When you push yourself to consider what the "next action" is, the absolutely next thing you must do to take a step forward, I at least begin to see that more things are projects than they are single actions. I do have single actions: "Send Matt the contact details fro the architect", is a single action, but I also have some things that look like single actions, but quickly emerge as projects in their own right. For example, I created an action to build a new team for a particular ministry at church. I very quickly realised that there were several steps that needed to be completed in order to build that team, so I set about turning this apparently single action into a project and then I worked out what the true "next action" needed to be.

With this in mind I took a long look at all my "inactive" actions, actions that do not have a scheduled date or a delegated flag, or even a "Do ASAP" flag for them. I decided that I needed to organise these, which I do as part of my regular review. Some of these actions are inactive because they are future events, but I don't want them to drop off my radar so-to-speak, so I keep them in my current projects and actions. There are some actions which I've completed, but in fact are not completed. I know that sounds crazy but for example I have a task to connect with another local Christian worker. This I've done through a 'phone call, but I got their answering machine. So I've half done the task because I'm waiting for a response. These inactive tasks, or incomplete tasks clutter my actions list (remember I'm using Thinking Rock). So, I decided to use some gtd terminology and delegate these tasks to a series of @x tags. So I now have tags for actions that are waiting for a response (the classic @waiting for gtd tag), @review, for actions I need to pay attention to and schedule at some point, @maybe for tasks that are, well "maybe tasks", you get the point.

What's nice about doing this is that I can filter my actions by "delegated" and sort them once filtered. This allows me to see at a glance what tasks are waiting for something or someone else and I can decide how to follow that up.

I'm conscious that I may be over complicating things, so I'll have to test drive this for a while and see if it's a help for a hindrance, but I thougt I'd drop the idea into the mix.

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