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A time to consolidate - What's the next action

A time to consolidate

10 08 05 - 06:17 - Bookmark this post

The past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about my implementation of GTD in both personal and professional life. And I have decided that it’s time to really stop tinkering and tweaking the system and just leave it for a while. As a lot of GTDevotees tend to do, I also kept tweaking my work system, implementing new ideas I read here and there, trying new software (Yes, I will get back on those evaluations, thanks for the reminder!) and testing ideas from The Book. But for the last couple of days I have found myself in a state of mind where I think my system is pretty OK for me at this point and I should really focus on succesfull outcomes for my different projects. Ofcourse this is a goal you should always have, but I feel I should leave my system as is right now and go further with some projects. What are those projects? Well, apart from my professional projects I always have stuff to do in the house. This varies from hanging some lights to painting the outdoors. But I also have some projects regarding this weblog. I have ideas for a new layout, perhaps a more commercial approach of this blog. And I am working to put my 10 year old thesis on scenemarketing online as a open source project for everyone to benefit from.

How do I manage those projects? Simple. I have found out that in my personal life, the need for a fully implemented system with different contexts, projectlists and actions is not really necessary. I don’t have a lot of pressure to change the layout of this blog, so whenever I feel like working on it, I work on it. I read some weblogs on making money, but I don’t have a grand scheme on how to implement it. I just go along with the flow. And when I have a weekend planned to paint the frontdoor, but something else comes along? Ah well, deal with it. Next weekend is just 6 days away.
I know, it’s a strange conclusion to draw, but really, this is a nice way to look at it. Ofcourse, there are some things that need to Get Done in a specific timeframe, like paying the bills. But you know what? I have these activities planned on a solid day of the week. Same with cleaning parts of the house. So because I have a trusted system for some of the activities, I can have more flexibility in time and resources for other activities.
Personal life: System is consolidated right now. Professional life: Same issue. I think I implemented GTD in a nice way around the workflow we already have at our office. More on that in a later post!

I’ve been struggling with over 200 next actions and like you I’ve decided to use GTD only for things that must Get Done. I now store things that I would like to do, may do, wish I could do, and so on unstructuredly in my brain or in a per-project word document. When I decide to really do something, I create a project and next actions in my gtd. When I’m too busy I offload stuff from gtd to my brain. I’m sure someone is going to tell me that i’m using my brain as “someday / maybe” basket :-) I guess the point is that you can attend to and review only so many projects and actions. Does anyone ever manage to have 0 next actions? (other than to review someday/maybe for new projects)
René (URL) - 12 08 05 - 10:53

Hey there. I follow you on this one. I’ve tried so many ways of organising my life. Different apps, and different approaches, but all in all I conclude that GTD is too much – and Nike’s approach; Just Do It – is better. So I found a compromise; I just use a simple to-do list, and think of the next action when I tick off or put in items.
Oliver Nielsen (Email) (URL) - 28 10 05 - 19:20

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This is an article which is part of my weblog "What's the Next Action". It deals with everything GTD and the five phases of projectplanning as written by Dave Allen in his book "Getting Things Done".

The previous article on this blog is called 'Temptation Blocker'.
The next article on this blog is called 'The Empty Cup Principle'.
You can find all the articles on the frontpage.
You can contact me via email

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