On GTD Times today there is a discussion about Kelly Forrister’s Mastering Workflow seminar, and an illustration of thinking about projects from a-z.
The post describes the project as ‘Z’, and your next step as ‘A’, and discusses how you document any other steps which may need to be done *after* your next action to get to ‘Z’ (i.e., project completion). There are some ideas about where you store these extra ‘next next’ steps.
Because emacs org-mode allows you to turn a heading or bullet point into a next action through a simple key combination (\^C\^T) I find that something along the following lines works well for me:\
* WORK ** Project A *** DONE Create project costing :Laptop: *** NEXT Ring Jim to check the costings are OK. : Phone: *** Check we can fit the project into June/July :John: *** Hand project over to John *** Check project progress SCHEDULED: <2008-6-30 Mon>`
As you can see, the beauty of org-mode is that
- you can store everything related to a project together (which was one of the discussion points in theGTD Times post)
- both my next steps and ‘next’ next steps are visible to me when I do my weekly review.
- Only the NEXT action will come up when I use the appropriate key combo (‘\^Cas’ in my case, which is one of my org-agenda-custom-commands and pulls up anything which is a NEXT action and which has a work-related tag, such as :Laptop: etc).
- finally (and this, i think, illustrates why org-mode works so well), when doing the weekly review, if I have made the phone call, I hit \^C\^T on the NEXT line to convert it to DONE, and then make a decision if one of the other steps is a next action. If it is, just move onto that line and hit \^C\^T. Seamless.
Now the post also discusses the problems with cluttering up your lists with stuff you don’t need to focus on at the moment, but with org-mode this isn’t an issue as you can set up your various filters to show you as much or as little as you want.