David Allen’s Next Actions; Csikszentmihalyi’s Clear Goals – Do You Know What to Do Next?
It is one of the clearest principles. If you don’t know what to do with your next hour, you will waste your next hour.
David Allen, in Getting Things Done, wrote of the power of the Next Action Folder. He stated that whenever you are finished with your current action, your now just completed former action, you need to start on your next action. So, always have a next action folder, with your next, next action, immediately accessible. (Which means, of course, that you have learned to put future next actions in their proper place in your Next Action Folder).
Now, as I’m reading Bold: How to Go Big, create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, I get reinforcement for the power of this principle. (I’m presenting my synopsis of Bold at next Friday’s First Friday Book Synopsis – April 3).
The book builds on the ideas of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and writes of the power of three critical psychological triggers: clear goals, immediate feedback, and the challenge/skills ratio. From the book:
Clear goals, our first psychological trigger, tells us where and when to put our attention. They are different than the high, hard problems of big goals. Those big goals refer to overarching passions: feeding the hungry, opening the space frontier. Clear goals, meanwhile, concern all the baby steps it’s going to take to achieve those big goals… When goals are clear, the mind doesn’t have to wonder about what to do or what to do next – it already knows. Thus concentration tightens…
The emphasis falls on clear, not goals.
Here’s what I know. Though I’ve read David Allen’s book, and presented that synopsis numerous timers, I have not mastered the step. I’ve spent too many minutes of too many days without my clear goals delineated in my next action folder. I need to get much better at keeping that next action folder, with those very clear goals, up-to-the-minute-ready, and always at the ready.
How about you?