43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

What next action?

Sometimes you reach a point with a project where you can't say that there's a single "next action." Or rather, if you can isolate a discrete "next action," it's one that's going to take several months.

One example: Writing a novel requires research, and so on, but there's a time when you sit down to write. What's your "next action" there? Write chapter one? But there's only an arbitrary mark dividing it from chapter two.

Or another: One of my projects is advancing my level of Japanese, and as part of that, I'm working on 6 characters per day. It'll take me several months to get through that, but every time I finish for the day, my "next action" is still exactly what it was before.

Is there something obvious that I'm missing?

stevecooper's picture

The Novel: I don't think...

The Novel: I don't think 'write chaper 1' is a next action; it feels more like a project to me, because it's not very specific and involves a lot of different types of work. I think you could break it down into lots of actions like 'Write the scene where Jake and Emily burn all the money, and Dexter loses the map' or 'copy-edit act 2, Scene 3 for more realistic dialogue'. Then you've got a concrete action to take.

Japanese: I don't think it -is- the same action; you're actually learning a new set of characters every time, so the actions are 'learn chars 1-6', 'learn chars 7-12', etc. Same thing might apply to 'go to the gym' or 'have a shower', maybe?

I dunno, but I don't think GTD handles repetitive actions very well. It's geared to projects that get completed and discarded, but you can't do that when it comes to maintenance activities you do over and over.

Any of that helpful?




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »