Results of Check-In and Next Action


In my last WFH Wednesday post I checked in with you about whether we should stay or go! Thank you to everyone who responded to my question with a post or email. The majority say it's time to GO!  This means we will move on and I will share my personal "pro-tips", strategies, and secrets with you about how I worked in the C-Suite with CEOs and Executives, learned their workstyles and facilitated and enhanced communications, efficiency, and productivity within their offices. 

For those of you who wanted to STAY, no worries, I will incorporate managing digital data, time, networks, and decisions as well as meetings, teams, and culture in the coming weeks.

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As an Executive Assistant to CEOs, my to-do list was never-ending and ever-growing. I also found that I had one to-do list for my Executive and a second to-do list for myself in order to accomplish my Executive's to-dos. Sound familiar? When I took a step back and looked at these lists, I realized it was necessary to integrate them to be productive. In essence, my list was the actions I needed to take to get my job done.

Regardless of what format our list is in - paper or digital - we need an effective list to follow so we can make forward progress every day. Today's post is about the Power of the Next-Action Decision. It came from David Allen's book, Getting Things Done. This book remains on my WFH bookshelf, always within reach. In it, he discusses the technique of identifying the next action for every to-do. This technique is one of the strategies I have followed throughout my career to get my to-do list done.

Simply put, ask yourself "what's the next action" for every to do. When our list is not specific and the items on it are too big, we tend to get paralyzed. We glance at the item and know something's missing, but we're not sure what it is exactly, so we ignore the item or worse yet, we quit. We can get past this using the Next-Action Decision technique. Let's take an example from David Allen's book.

  • The item on your to-do list is "Get a tune-up for the car." Is "Get a tune-up" a next action? Not unless you're walking out with wrench in hand! The next action is to take the car to the garage and to find out if the garage can take it. So you need to call the garage and make an appointment. Lisa recommended a garage to you but you don't have the number for the garage. So the next action is to get the number, which means you need to call Lisa to get it. So what is the next action really? "Call Lisa for the number of the garage." That is the item that should be on your to-do list.

Everyone, including entrepreneurs, business owners, executives and WFH professionals can use the power of the Next-Action Decision Technique. Take 10 seconds and focus your thinking on the next action for each item on your to-do list and essentially convert it into a next-action list. Determine the next physical action needed to move something forward and see your productivity and peace of mind improve. Post your thoughts and share other challenges you have with your to-do lists. Let's. Get. Things. Done. 

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