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.

Don't totally understand NAs

I'm new to GTD. Just read the book over the weekend, and spent today collecting and beginning to process.

There is still something I don't understand about next actions. Let's say I have a list of 50 projects, and I go through each one and decide what the next physical action is... am I going to end up with a list of 50 actions, work through those, then generate 50 more?

Would I be kind of spinning my wheels as I rotate through all 50 projects, rather than focusing on one, and doing more actions on that one?

Or am I missing something? When I list NAs, should I list all the NAs I can do on a specific project?

Thanks for the help,


emuelle1's picture

Some projects may need several...

Some projects may need several next actions associated with them. On other projects, you may only be able to see what that one next action is that you need to perform to move forward, then you can come back and look at what else must be done.

I'm taking classes at the University of Phoenix. What I try to do when I start a class is review the entire syllabus to get a feel for how the assignments will build on each other, then during my weekly review I pull out what next actions have to be done within that week. I still peek ahead again because I've learned the hard way to keep focused. If you go off track during the assignment on week 2, it can be hard to get back on track for the final paper in week 5. But on the other hand, week 5 has to take care of itself and the current week should be the focus of my planning.

Like I said on some projects, you may only be able to think of one action that can be done next. You may have no clue what happens after that, but getting that one action out of the way can clear the bushes so to speak and allow you to see beyond. I got lazy and sidetracked last year and did not get the cover put on my pool by the end of summer, so I've had leaves and rain and snow and ice falling into the pool all winter. It's going to take a lot of work (again) to clean it out, but thinking about all that work will just cause me to procrastinate. I've decided that the absolute next action that I can perform toward getting the pool ready to go by Memorial Day is to buy a leaf bag. After that I'll start cleaning leaves out of the bottom. Then I'll decide what to do next and create a next action accordingly.




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. »