Tag Archives: David Alllen

You Know that Next Action You are Supposed to Take? – So, Do It Already! (a little insight from David Allen, and the Navy SEALs)

Some reminders from David Allen (Getting Things Done):

Stuff:  anything you have allowed into your psychological or physical world that doesn’t belong where it is, but for which you haven‘t yet determined the desired outcome and the next action step.  As long as it is still “stuff,” it’s not controllable.  It is “an amorphous blob of undoability!”

When a culture adopts “What’s the next action?” as a standard operating query, there’s an automatic increase in energy, productivity, clarity, and focus.

Forget everything (clear your mind of everything), so that you can remember everything you have to do!

Do everything you have to do – one next action at a time.

Next Step (Next Action):  the very next physical action required to move a situation forward!

Discipline yourself to make front-end decisions about all the “inputs” you let into your life so that you will always have a plan for “next actions” that you can implement or renegotiate at any moment.

Keep reminders of your next step where you will see them!

David Allen basically said this: when you don’t know the thing/task you are supposed to do next, then you have a failure of planning.  So, stop what you are doing (make that “not doing”), and plan your next next actions.  Always know the “next action(s)” you need to take.

I think this is really right, and smart, and so very simple.  But…  maybe it is not that simple.  If you are like me, you don’t always know your next action.  You/We fail to plan to that level of detail, that level of specificity.

That level of clarity.

And, as a result, we fall behind, or let the important stuff slip through the cracks.

Consider this, from The Leadership Lessons of the Navy SEALs:

You’ve got a job.  By being there, you’ve accepted that job.  You have specific things to do.  And if you fail at those things, a lot of other people are going to have to pay the price… You may be smart, but if you don’t take ownership of the work at hand, everyone else is going to have to pay for what you didn’t do.

So getting and being clear on your next actions, and then doing them, makes all the difference.

Now, sometimes, we might want to think “big picture,” “dream a little,” and so we feel paralyzed because we are not quite sure just where to go next.

But after saying all of this, most of the time our failure to execute is just that – a failure to execute.  We know the next action, we just don’t actually do the next action.

From the Navy SEALs book again:

“the vast majority of the time, you know what you should do.”

Yes, you/we do.

So, here is your assignment.  Plan your next action(s).  Then, do your next next action(s).

So, let’s do it already.