Here at LearnDoBecome, we champion the idea of a “Context-Based Next Actions List” inspired by David Allen, author of the bestselling book, Getting Things Done®.
It’s essentially a weekly list of 10-minute tasks, organized by where you are when you’re getting them done!
Here’s a photo of a Next Actions List in one of my past planners:
The contexts David Allen suggests are “home, errands, computer, to discuss, and phone,” and I add a couple of more now (like “to read” and “to pray about”), but these are essentially the ones I use.
The main question I get, however, is WHEN to do these things.
Most people end up with super long Next Actions Lists, and they don’t get them accomplished, so here are the four criteria:
(1) Context – Look first at where you are! If you know you’ll be out running errands, look at that section ONLY. If you have some quiet time and want to do phone calls, group those. If you’re home waiting for kids to get home from school–or you have 30 minutes before bedtime, look at the “home” category.
(2) Time – Next consider how much time you have. Let’s say your “errands” category has one errand way across town and one down the street, and you only have 15 minutes. Clearly, you’ll choose the one close by. 🙂
(3) Energy – I think this one is incredibly important–especially for phone, computer tasks, and “to discuss” items. If you know your brain is fried, don’t make a hard phone call or bring up an emotional item to discuss. And maybe don’t try to figure out something super technical. On certain days of the month, when I am hormonally just more tired, I still “get things done,” but I don’t talk to a lot of people or make really big decisions. Maybe that’s TMI, but I thought it might be helpful!
(4) Priority – You’d think this would be the first criteria, but the reason it’s last is because if you are in the wrong place, with not enough time and energy, it doesn’t make sense to do that specific task. Instead, if, let’s say you have 20 minutes to talk with your spouse, and you have 3 things on your “to discuss” list that you COULD select to discuss (because you have the time and energy to do so), pick the one that is most important first. Same thing with my computer work. I sometimes sit down and think, “It would be more fun to work on my email right now than record a video,” but if the video is my highest priority, I need to do that. The email can be managed later while I’ve got my jammies on and I’m resting on the couch.
When you learn to work like this, it’s amazing how things get done pretty much effortlessly!
Want to give it a try and let me know how it goes?
Sending lots of love!
Four Weeks to Finished – Would you like to work personally with me, Eric, and Team LearnDoBecome to build your full STEP Command Central? We open this special group coaching opportunity once or twice a year, and we would love to have you join us! Our next start date is Thursday, September 7th, 2023! (And if you’re reading this later, click that link to find out when it’s launching next!)
Steps to Everyday Productivity – Our signature program designed to help you build your full Command Central and get out of overwhelm for good!
Our ARISE membership – an amazing gathering place for community members that are using their Command Centrals to refine relationships, health, finances, individual purpose, and more. We focus on a new topic each month, and this is an amazing opportunity to receive coaching and support from Team LearnDoBecome. You can sign up for a free, 7-day trial here.