Action method

Posted on: Dec 24, 2021 Written by DKP

The Action method encourages you to look at everything in your life as a project, with a set of actionable items, organized by priority, and associated references. Completion of all the action items will signify completion of the event/project. The advantage of this method is that converting seemingly subjective items like events/meetings into actionable steps will prompt you into taking the next small step, and get you started on tasks that you'd otherwise have procrastinated.

Every major life item you have is considered a project, and you break it into action steps, references and backburners

The action steps are as they sound like - a progession of doable items that will lead to achievement of the project goal.

References are materials, resources and information that will aid in the achievement of the actions steps. It is stuff which is related to the project, but not directly actionable. This includes URLs to necessary references, some go to reference books/articles for the project, and so on.

Backburner items refer to items that might be important at later stages, but can be put aside at the moment. Entire projects can be backburners too, meaning that a project need not be taken up at the present moment, because you have other, more important projects on your plate.

What's the advantage of this method?

  1. 'Action is the greatest motivation'. The most common reason for procrastination is the lack of the next small step towards a goal. If that next small todo can be found and completed, it's enough to get the ball rolling. Each action item is the next small step towards achieving a large project.

  2. Looking at every item in your life as a project gives you an objective vision into what you'd actually need to do. Meetings and events are otherwise subjective and abstract events - converting these into projects gives you action items for before, during and post the meetings, and thus, you know what would make an event a success.

  3. Unlike other todo lists, this method differentiates between actionable items and non actionable items, that complement the former, and provides a way to keep track of both.

  4. The concept of backburner items and projects allows you to prioritize projects and action items based on the impact they have on your life and project, without worrying about forgetting them later. Once you're done with the action items of your project, you can pull items from backburner and take them up as action items.

How do you make ACTION method work with Routine#

Routine's flexibility can be leveraged to use it to implement the ACTION method for some/all of your projects/tasks. Each task can be opened as a document which can include everything that we need - first, markdown, so that we can create and distinguish between the sections, second, the embed feature to embed resources, and finally, checkboxes which will make every checkbox item a task, which can be scheduled on the Routine calendar just like any other task.

Let's see an example. I create a new task - which will represent my project, let's say Blog writing.

Double clicking on it opens up the task as a document

Now, click on add subtasks, and add a few tasks

Next, create the sections we'd need - action items, references and backburners. Go to a new line, and press '/', which will give you the list of possible markdown options - choose H2, and create the three headings.

Now, drag and drop the immediate tasks you'd need doing into action items, and the others, into backburners

Next, I want to embed a YouTube video I wish to refer to. Under the references heading, I select 'embed', and paste the video link, and there you have it

And finally, to schedule our tasks - when you hover over a task, a calendar icon is highlighted - click on it, and give it a date and time - the great bit is you can just write it in words and Routine will intellisense it into a schedule.

Bingo, you see your task in the upcoming tasks

There you have it - a complete action system in Routine to help you on the road to getting that project done.