“What’s the next action?” This is a phrase asked by David Allen in Getting Things Done used at the end of meetings, phone calls, conversations, brainstorming, basically all the time. The purpose of this question is to clearly define what will be done next and by whom.
The best part of this question is that it can apply to all areas of your life. This is not just a benefit to your work life, it can also help you in your personal life. Are there any tasks at home that you have been avoiding? I am guilty of this.
Most of time I am not avoiding the task, I just have not sat down and determined the next action. For example, my smoke alarm was intermittently beeping. The solution is easy – fix the smoke alarm to stop the beeping. But how?
First, I needed to determine what was wrong with the smoke alarm. My first thought was to look on the internet, but I did not know what type of smoke alarm I had. Bingo! My next step was to identify which type of smoke alarm I had. From there, I was off solving the issue.
Without knowing what the next step is you cannot take it. It makes your end result unattainable. Have you ever had a project to do and didn’t know what to do next? What did you do? Were you able to proceed?
My guess is you sat down and thought about what you should be doing next. It sounds simple and a lot of the principles in Getting Things Done are simple, but the point is to consistently apply them throughout your life.
How much time a day do you spend planning or thinking about what you are trying to accomplish? Are you constantly in firefighter mode, putting out whatever fire is in front of you? If you are, David Allen would argue that you are not planning enough.
Take a-Minute today for planning on your two most important projects. Then, determine what your next action is.
Until next time…we are Advoco, make every minute count.
About Colin: Colin Whitney is a Solutions Architect with Advoco and looks forward to helping others achieve their EAM goals. He is a graduate of both the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia. When he is not working he enjoys getting outside and watching college football. Questions? Send Colin an email!