Are your next actions eligible for retirement?

If your ResultsManager activities typically have start date entered (e.g. if you use MindReader), then you might find an added feature of the “next-action-verb-analysis” macro useful.


The new version of the macro calculates the average age of your next actions and enumerates those stragglers that are more than twice the average. This provides a way to force yourself to face up to those stagnant items and either…

  1. do them
  2. realize you’ve already done them
  3. delegate them (better late than never)
  4. devise a shorter/more concrete “physical” next action to precede them, or
  5. banish them to the someday/maybe list for a spell.

I’m embarrassed to say, but my (in-need-of-weekly-review) list started out with an average age of 35 days. One particular “sharpen the saw” item buried in my list was over 6 months old even though it was in the 15 minute category. My average is dropping now as this tool provides a metric to measure progress. At some point we’ll need to reset the start date when someday/maybe or parent tasks hit the next action list for execution, but for now that’s probably not what is causing our averages to run high.

Feel free to comment with your “average” as well as your frequent verbs.


  1. James said,

    July 10, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

    Wow…..what a great idea…will try this as soon as I can!

  2. ActivityOwner said,

    July 14, 2007 @ 6:07 pm

    Jim found that you need to have your dashboard saved before running the macro so that the hyperlinks to it work. I’ve also cleaned up the report map format a bit and added a histogram table of task ages to latest version.

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