Getting Things Done – the book – part 12

… starting from the point where the story stopped.

The next-action technique

I HAVE A personal mission to make “What’s the next action?” part of our global thought process. I envision a world in which no meeting or discussion will end, and no interaction cease, without a clear indication of whether or not some action is needed—and if it is, what it will be, or at least who has accountability for it.David Allen

This simple but extraordinary technique, according to David Allen, needs to become an acquired practice. That is the only way to benefit from the Power of the Next-Action Decision. In keeping with David Allen’s words, Defining what real doing looks like on the most basic level and organizing placeholder reminders that we can trust are master keys to productivity enhancement and creating a relaxed inner environment.

You’ll invariably feel a relieving of pressure about anything you have a commitment to change or do, when you decide on the very next physical action required to move it forward.David Allen

Indeed, the question [‘What’s the next action?’] forces clarity, accountability, productivity, and empowerment. Clarity because you have to get the real next action, and this is not as simple as you can imagine. Here is the example used by David Allen in his book to illustrate this point:

Get a tune-up for the car.
So, what’s the next action?
Uh, I need to take the car to the garage. Oh, yeah, I need to find out if the garage can take it. I guess I need to call the garage and make the appointment.
Do you have the number?
Darn, no . . . I don’t have the name and number for the garage. Fred recommended that garage to me, and I don’t have that information. I knew something was missing in the equation.
So, what’s the next action?
I need to get the name and phone number. I guess I could get it from Fred.
How could you do that?
I can e-mail Fred!
So the next action really is ‘E-mail Fred for info re: the garage.’

Perhaps the greatest benefit of adopting the next-action approach is that it dramatically increases your ability to make things happen, with a concomitant rise in your self-esteem and constructive outlook.David Allen

To be continued…

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