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I plan out each of my projects and sub(action group)-projects to as full an extent as I possibly can. Some of the later tasks in my projects are left vague in the beginning, but they're all pretty much hashed out before the project is complete.

The general principle of GTD is that each next action represents the next physical action you can take. As a student, I tend to treat each of my classes as a project and each assignment under them as a sub-project with miscellaneous single tasks (all still part of the class project though) filling in the blanks.

As a consultant, I tend to treat meetings in different ways depending on what my responsibilities really are for each meeting. If it's a meeting that I am conducting or presenting during or otherwise playing a major role in, I make that meeting a project and include actions like:

- Prep material for meeting
- Double check that participants know the right time and date (this step varies depending on the situation)
- Conduct meeting (action group)
--- Agenda item #1
--- Agenda item #2
--- and so on (this part obviously varies from meeting to meeting depending on what you're meeting about)
- Collect and organize meeting notes (maybe do a little mini review if any new action items have popped up in the course of the meeting)
- Follow up with other participants (again, only if necessary)

I break it down to the absolute atomic level with pretty much every action and project I have in OF, even including the things that are repetitive and kind of obvious (the things I do every day at the same time of day for instance). I even have tasks for "Process mail inbox" and "Collect notes from the day" which recur daily. It sounds like a lot of planning and refactoring, but it pays off in spades when it comes time for me to actually get things done (and it serves as an end of day checklist too which helps in my regular reviews).

I don't ever find myself looking at my action list and wondering if anything is missing or "Am I forgetting something?" because I know it's all in there. That's an integral part of having a trusted system for collection and organization. You have to trust that it is complete or you won't trust it at all and then pretty soon you'll find yourself falling off the GTD wagon.

I also never find myself faced with a less-than-atomic action on my list and wondering what is the actual next action associated with that action. I don't ever have to drop out of context/execution mode back into planning mode unless I make the conscious decision to stop doing things for a moment to plan things. I'm never forced to plan when I want to do.

Last edited by MEP; 2007-09-01 at 05:28 PM..