Originally Posted by Leila
I'm sure this is just a matter of how we all do things differently. I found your reply interesting. If you have a "project" that is a single action list, I'm curious about it only needing to be reviewed once a year...
Or - have I misunderstood how you're using the single action list?
Thanks so much,
I believe I did not adequately communicate how I use the single action list (SAL). I don't have any SALs that are projects. At the top level of my OF organization, I have folders for each area, or role (holdover from Covey/7 Habits days) that I consider important. Within each folder I create the projects that are related to that area, and I also have a SAL in each folder for the single-step tasks that are related to the area, but not related to each other. In some cases, the 'task' in the SAL may not be a task at all, but data that I still want to keep in focus as I plan and work. As one example, I recently received an email from my wife with her travel itinerary for a business trip next week and I used the Clip-O-Tron 3000 to forward the email as a 'task' to my SAL 'Action List: Family Member'.
Are these a bunch of simple tasks (GJ added: see note below) to be done? Or do you use it more like a grocery list type thing? If it is the former, wouldn't you want to review it more often to make sure your things are getting done?
As I mentioned, I scan my action lists daily as part of my daily review process, so single action tasks, along with the tasks in my projects, do get my attention daily. However, my weekly, monthly, and annual review processes all have a slightly different lens than does the daily review. Moving up the hierarchy from daily review to annual review is consistent with Allen's GTD concept the Six-Level Model for reviewing my work, and my life. Allen uses the metaphor of altitudes to describe the 6 levels, and my daily review is the 'runway' where I am most concerned with processing what was capturing to my inboxes and working the 'when to do' actions in my plan. Project tasks and SAL actions get high priority here.
Starting with the weekly review, the focus shifts to projects, or the 'what to do'. As a SAL, in my world, is not a project it requires no review of the actions contained in the list as they relate
to the SAL. That doesn't mean I'm not looking at the tasks-I still do a daily review, 365 days a year. I just don't have a need to see if my SAL 'Action List: Family Member' is stalled, or needs clarification, or needs dropped, as it is not a true project where these parameters might apply. (also see note added below)
Monthly reviews shift focus on the 'why to do' as they relate to my roles and mid-range goals, and annual reviews focus on the roles and my long-term, life goals. As nothing is exempt from scrutiny during the annual review, then that's why I have set even my SALs to be reviewed as part of this process.
As a couple of side notes, the simplicity, or complexity, of a task does not determine if the task should appear in a SAL or in a project. A project is any desired outcome that requires two or more actions to complete. I have projects with multiple steps that in their entirety are simple to complete, while I also have complex tasks that appear in a SAL just because they require only one step to complete.
Also, the concept of a SAL as implemented in OmniFocus is a requirement of OmniFocus as single tasks cannot be placed in an area folder. If single tasks could be placed in area folders, as is how they are handled in Things, I would have no need for specific SALs. It's not a hinderance to productivity for Things users-they still get work done and conduct weekly/monthly/annual reviews without the requirement to have all single action tasks contained in specific SAL buckets.