Being explicit in figuring the Next Step for projects

Besides chopping and baking cauliflower and sweet potato, much of my Thanksgiving Eve was devoted to projects that I had set aside for a sufficient stretch of time to have forgetten where I had left off. It took a non-trivial amount of energy to “warm up” my brain, to reimmerse myself in the original context to be once again productive.

It’s not surprising then that the Getting Things Done (GTD) system urges practitioners to identify explicitly the very next step to work on in projects. The best time to working out the next steps is when such steps are freshest in one’s mind. I have to be disciplined to carve out time at end of my work sessions to write down the next step (instead of working right to the end of my sesssion without bothering to identifying how I would pick up my work the next time). The payoff for such discipline that work is substantial.

Identifying next steps is also an important thing to do at meetings with other folks. I’m sure many of us have participated in meetings where no concrete action items are called out or there is a mad rush is made at the end of the meeting to define action items.

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