Actionable actions

I’ve recently performed an audit of my next actions list and found that several entries weren’t actionable. For example, “interview questions” and “FaceTime poll” are poor action steps.

Why? No verbs. In fact, “interview questions” and “FaceTime poll” are both projects 1, not actions. Neither describes the observable action that must be performed. Here are some better alternatives:

  • Write answers to interview questions
  • Think of FaceTime poll options
  • Neglect children while writing blog post

There’s a slight but important difference between writing down what must be done and writing down what to do. In my experience, one is a noun (interview questions) and the other is a verb (write).

  1. A project defined as anything that takes more than 1 action before it can be marked as “done.”