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If you have been capturing your actions in an Action Book for a week or more using the method described in Part 1 then you will discovered some fresh challenges.

Older Actions

Some earlier actions will be outstanding and getting difficult to review because they are a long way back in your book and sandwiched with “Done” ones.

You should carefully review all your actions once a week. In GTD we call this the “Weekly Review“.

Simply copy them onto the current page of your book. The action of writing them out again will force you think about them. You might find an action is no longer relevant and can be cancelled. For example, “confirm pub with Simon for Friday” can be cancelled on Saturday. You may also remember additional actions that you failed to capture at the time.

Some actions will generate follow-on actions

Some actions generate follow-on actions during the Weekly Review. For example you might have been “Waiting-for a call from Bill”. If Bill has not called you then you may wish to create a new action “Call Bill”.

You might need to break-down actions so you can get them “Done”

In Part 1 I emphasized how important it was to completely finish tasks. In later posts I will explain how only completed tasks represent value and that incomplete tasks are just cost but you will need to trust me on that for now. You will probably found that there are some tasks you just cannot complete. These benefit from being broken down further so you get something done.

☐ Submit Tender Response (or 1st Year Essay!) (deadline 31/10/2015 17:00)

☐ do plan

☐ write text

☐ format figures

☐ proof read (wf Bill – chase on Thursday)

☐ Electronic submission

It is worth getting good at this process of breaking-down actions into smaller ones that are more easily completed yourself or shared with others. Cutting up problems in this way is foundation of all project and team management. My project management consultancy is called ElephantPM (“How do you eat an Elephant…”) for this reason and I will return to this topic in later posts.

Your Action Book gets messy

page-800w-no-markupI will often think of additional actions or break down an action into smaller ones. To stop my Action Book getting too messy I use wide ruled pads and only write on every second line. This gives me plenty of space to add in actions below and to the right of the existing ones.

Next Post

You now know everything there is to know about Action Books. In my next post I will talk about calendars.

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