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Newbie question - actions 'by' a certain date?

I just finished reading GTD and I've already blocked off 2 days to get started, but something's still bothering me: what about actions that need to get done by (but not necessarily ON) a certain date? An example is a paper that needs to be written: assume that all the research has been done, and the task of writing the paper remains. Let's say it will take approximately 12 hours to write, and it's due next Thursday.

How do I capture this? If I put a calendar item in for Thursday, it could be that I miss the deadline since I didn't allocate enough time. If I put it in my actions list, then I'm not guaranteed to get to it by the deadline.

(Or have I missed some fundamental piece of this process?)

mcnicks's picture

Also, given that writing the...

Also, given that writing the paper sounds a little more complicated to be summarised into a single action, that probably indicates that it is actually a project. So the first action you need to take would probably be a "plan out paper" type action. This might generate all sorts of potential actions like:

* Pick a topic from the noticeboard
* Research the topic
* Write an outline
* Find quotes to back up arguments
* Write the conclusion
* Write the introduction

Who knows - I haven't written an essay in a long time. :)

The point is, there is only one physical next action you can actually do there, which is "pick a topic from the noticeboard", and it might need to go into your @college context. When you score that action off, the next action may be so obvious that you can just add it to the appropriate context, or you might have to refer back to the rough plan you wrote out, or you might have to put in a "think about what to do next for the paper" action.

The point is, whether "write paper" is a project on your project lists, or a future calendar entry, or just a simple next action it will always be on your radar at review time.




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