In meetings, I have often implemented what I heard Robert Peake say he does in meetings, namely, write 4 columns on a white board labelled “Problem”, “solution”, “next step”, and “who owns it”.

set up new contexts

Office: Focus
Office: Thinking
Office: Short
Office: Routine
Office: Braindead
Office: Home

I assume the “not doing now” list is another name for the “someday/maybe” list, which other models would call the “master list” or “master task list.” I assume “occasions” are the same thing as appointments. There is something called the “never doing now” list, to which I haven’t a clue. I got the impression from a couple of the newsletters that instead of haven’t context lists, everything goes on the calendar, but I could be wrong.


 I can break it down to 2 minute vs. single, action vs project vs. SDM, etc? 


I clearly feel like I would have to take MC – but I get a sense of what you’re saying – it’s no surprise given the folks that designed the course that MC is based on concepts around ontology – the study of existence or being.


As mentioned earlier, I think that Mission Control (MC) has much that allows it to resonate with GTD. Both recognize the fundamental truth that you can’t get everything done (shown by the use of “someday/maybe” in GTD and “Not doing now/Never doing now” in Mission Control). In MC, this is the foundational idea, while it sits in the background for GTD.

They both rely on the concept of “why would I do this”, although, again, it’s a bit more up-front with MC. In MC, the description of activities (Next Actions in GTD) are written in past tense describing the outcome purpose for the activities (Projects in GTD).

So, for instance, I wrote, “Increased intimacy and oneness with Terry” for Monday evening dates instead of “Date with Terry”. The MC idea being that if I am more fully conscious of (“present” with) my purpose for what I am doing, I am more likely to do it.

Both GTD and MC focus a lot on capture, although I found that GTD was a bit more rigorous in making sure that the brain dump happened and everything was put into the system. This was discussed with MC, but wasn’t as critical (from my perpective). MC uses the concept of “now” a bit differently, as in “there is a now when I will be doing this activity”. So, in order for the activity to get done, I need to define the “now” in which it will get done, which turns out to be a slot on the calendar at some time. I didn’t find this practicable. I find the GTD approach of prioritization in the moment to be far more appropriate for the way my life tends to flow.


ah – now this is an interesting intersection with Franklin-Covey! Franklin requests you declare 7 roles for your life each week and that you “slot” your “big rocks” in your week. I personally cycle back and forth between making a compass and stepping away from it – I can now see MC has cleverly kept an outcome-focus through the way you described scheduled activities


What i hear in this is distinguishing openings for action that are my commitments vs “ah – that would be nice to do” but not your word [to someone else] […] commitments are described as the roles you commit to for your life and the people in your life that keep you accountable to each role.
What have others done to manage “Someday/Maybe” lists that have gotten out of control – getting lengthy and perhaps unwieldy? Is there a point you need to restructure or “flush” the list and create from nothing?

I use the categories as my GTD contexts (@eMail, @phone, @mindmanager, etc).

I use the ABC priority field to capture timing (A=Today, B=This week, C=This month, D=Defer)

I assign everything a Medium priority except those “A” items targeted for today that I ABSOLUTELY must get done that day. These I assign a High priority -and make a commitment to myself not not to let them slip.

Using View Manger I have defined a limited number of Views (ToDo, WaitingFor, MindManager) that let me focus as I desire. By excluding the MindManager context from my ToDo view I keep hard edges around my “Doing” mode vs my “Brainstorming/Planning” modes. By filtering my ToDo on my high priority, “A” items I keep focus on those critical next actions.

The “!Today” NA list is essentially the same as putting a non-timed daily note on your calendar as David Allen suggests.

Level 1: Action items — these are the next actions; single, specific items that can be done.

Level 2: RPM blocks — RPM blocks require more than one next action to accomplish. Each RPM block has its own outcome, purpose, and massive action plan (MAP). An RPM block might take a day to a week to complete.

Level 3: Projects — Projects take more than a week to complete and sometimes even months. They are comprised of both next actions and RPM blocks, where the next actions all lead to the outcome specified in the RPM block. You can also have next actions that need to be done that don’t necessarily fit into an RPM block. Of course, according to the TOYL philosophy, one could create an RPM block of these seemingly disconnected next actions.

Level 4: Mega-projects — These are huge projects, with perhaps multiple outcomes, milestone events, and may be comprised of more than one project to complete. Think of building my own house from scratch. 🙂 

Level 5: Categories of Improvement (COI). These are the same as your areas of focus, or your specific roles in life via the Covey approach.

Level 6: Areas of Management — Most people have two of these — Professional and Personal.