Procrastination = Incorrect Next Action?

Originally published on 29 December 2006 as “Completing Projects”.

I have made a promise to myself, in the name of GTD, that I will clear out my project backlog before I take on anything new. I’ve been on vacation this week, and so far I’ve managed to knock out a lot of projects that have been sitting in the lists, with no action, for a long time (in some cases, months).

What surprised me is how little effort it actually took for me to complete these projects. With one, it was filling out a form. Another took a phone call. My big-and-dreaded evacuation kit took placing two bags in the kit and typing up instructions.

I wonder if part of my procrastination on these is perhaps the result of not being clear on my next actions? On all three, the next action on my list was not the one that I did to complete the project. But I was being quick with the next actions, and rather than truly take the time to find out what the next action was, I flipped something off the top of my head. Incorrectly. I am beginning to think that my subconscious is pretty smart, and resisted these projects because the next action was not correct.

The next action on this one is to examine my projects list to see if any more are “stuck” because of incorrect next actions.