Next Action Analysis 2008 GTD Challenge

2007 was a year we largely focused on improved capturing and staging of tasks with tools like MindReader, Mark Task Complete, and OutlLinker. Perhaps 2008 can focus on improved weekly review and action? To kick it off and to provide some group moral support for getting things done, I’d like to propose the following contest:

  1. Run the Next Action Analysis macro on your ResultsManager Daily Action dashboard sometime over the next 11 days.
  2. Submit your NAA score in the comments below (anonymously if you choose) or by email to info at The deadline is midnight your time Sunday January 13th.
  3. Work on improving your dashboard’s 5Fs as you do you weekly reviews and plan for 2008.
  4. Submit a 2nd (hopefully improved) score before the end of the month.

To be eligible your dashboard must have at least 30 tasks in it.

The three contest winners will be the entries …

  1. with the highest score
  2. with the most improved score
  3. chosen at random (only one reported score required)

As “prizes” I am offering to build each winner a (moderately-sized) custom ResultsManager dashboard, GyroQ tag, or MindManager macro to address a problem of their choosing. In the case of ties the winner will be chosen at random. Beware this commitment might linger on my someday/maybe list for a period of time :-).

If you are not a ResultsManager user, you are welcome calculate your submitted score manually based on the status of whatever paper or computer-based GTD system you are using. I will compile a statistical summary of the results. Along the way we can assess the applicability of scoring model.

Let the “transferring to someday/maybe lists” begin….


  1. ActivityOwner said,

    January 3, 2008 @ 12:11 am

    Rules don’t say I can’t enter as well :-). I’ll fess up to the “example” in previous post as being the current state of my “home” dashboard. (6.4/10).

  2. ActivityOwner said,

    January 3, 2008 @ 8:18 am

    Anon. Entry #1:

    Overall: 7.4/10

    Foresight: 7/10



    Feasibility:4.2/10 (yikes! Too many jobs)


  3. BillS said,

    January 3, 2008 @ 10:08 am

    Foresight: 2.6/10
    Freshness: 7.5/10
    Focus: 9.8/10
    Feasability: 10/10
    Finishing: 8/10
    Overall: 7.6/10

    As previously stated, I have a habit of date changing items (non-repeats) based on importance. I’m going to stop doing that so I can get a more accurate picture. Please consider this my self-disqualification.

  4. ActivityOwner said,

    January 4, 2008 @ 11:40 pm

    NOTE: Apparently I messed up the spam question with an upgrade a couplle days ago. If you tried to post your scores but were blocked, please do so again as the blocker has been turned off. I’ve also modified the program to handle maps with up to 900 tasks (yikes) as some folks were going past the previous limit and getting runtime errors. If you run into any problems let me know by commenting here or by email.

    I’ve seen several scores come in by email but will hold off posting as I’m not sure they were the actual version the users wanted posted.

  5. Jose Miguel Bolivar said,

    January 6, 2008 @ 10:58 am

    Overall NAA rating: 8.2/10.0
    Foresight: 10.0/10.0
    Freshness: 8.5/10.0
    Focus: 6.2/10.0
    Feasibility: 8.3/10.0

    I definitely need to push to “someday/maybe” some stuff that have been living in my dashboard for a while, so I expect the above to improve by end of the contest.

  6. ActivityOwner said,

    January 6, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

    Entry from Anonymous User Numero 2:

    Overall NAA Rating: 2/10.0
    Foresight: 0/10.0
    Freshness: 5,2/10.0
    Focus: 3/10.0
    Feasibility: 0/10.0 (493 next actions!)
    Finishing: 1,9/10.0 (90 overdue)

  7. ActivityOwner said,

    January 6, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

    Note that the macro has been updated with a number of improvements including sorting the recommendations and factor in order of opportunity and linking out to supporting pages on the wiki with advice for improvement.

  8. Mal said,

    January 7, 2008 @ 5:01 pm

    Freshness: 7.3/10
    Focus: 8.1/10
    Feasibility: 8.1/10
    Finishing: 6.9/10
    Overall: 7/10

    This is probably better than I had thought it would be. Looks like my weekly review this week will need to be a good one!

  9. Mal said,

    January 13, 2008 @ 1:05 am

    I have been working on getting my projects etc updated the last week or so and am starting to get my scores up to a reasonable level.
    I am not going to submit a revised score as part of the competition because I am not really interested in winning a prize since as far as I am concerned I have already won. This process has made be revisit how I am approaching the whole process and has made me realise quite a few things I ‘knew’ I should be doing differently but had not consciously acknowledged.
    As an example I have typically piled a lot of actions in with short time frames and then basically do whatever happens to come up and interests me at any particular time. The last few weeks I have been contemplating making a map at the start of each week that focused just on what I wanted to achieve in the upcoming week. – DOH!!!! That’s when it struck me that that is EXACTLY what I should be using my dashboards for. Now I have (or at least I am in the process of) pushing all my projects into someday/maybe for the short term and then at the weekly review I bring them back as active.
    I think this may have come about because I have been more interested in the tools than the process – all that has now changed!
    I will be using this macro as part of my weekly review process and even though I may never get 10/10 overall it will force me to make sure that I take control rather than let the tools control me.

    Thanks (again) for another great tool AO

  10. DW said,

    January 13, 2008 @ 5:12 pm


  11. ActivityOwner said,

    January 13, 2008 @ 8:39 pm

    DW — There was a scoring bug in the version on the site today. You should download the latest version when you get a chance.

  12. Next Action Analysis Updated » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    January 14, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

    […] I of the 2008 GTD Next Action Analysis Challenge is complete with seven entrants vying for "Most Improved" over the next two weeks. There […]

  13. Arkadiy said,

    January 16, 2008 @ 10:39 am

    I have been using this macro for a week already, so this is already an improved score. As of today:
    Overall NAA Rating: 6.77/10
    Freshness: 4.89/10
    Foresight: 5.22/10
    Finishing: 6.25/10
    Focus: 7.5/10
    Feasibility: 10/10

  14. Jose Miguel Bolivar said,

    February 1, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

    Feb 1st picture:

    Overall NAA Rating: 9.82/10
    Finishing: 9.27/10
    Freshness: 9.84/10
    Foresight: 10/10
    Feasibility: 10/10
    Focus: 10/10

    Thanks AO for this great tool and also for the Challenge. I started it just as a game but the outcome is that I have become much more disciplined with my weekly reviews.

  15. ActivityOwner said,

    February 2, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

    Wow – that’s and impressive score! Too bad you missed the deadline :-).

    Let’s wrap up the contest based on entries as of Monday morning to give people one more weekly review to get there score up to something they want to share.

    I’ve found the script useful as well. My “weakest” link has rotated through each dimension with “freshness” being my current road block. If I can nail a few of those aging tasks (paperwork, blah) this weekend, I’ll be in much better shape.

  16. ActivityOwner said,

    February 11, 2008 @ 1:00 am

    Sorry for delay in wrapping this up and announcing winners. I succumbed to the NAA “game” this weekend and attacked some “aging” action items to drive my score to 9.02 for the first time. I was at 7.5 at the context deadline, but here are my current scores:

    overall 9.02
    – Freshness 7.2
    – Feasibility 9.1
    – Finishing 9.3
    – Focus 9.7
    – Foresight 9.9

    I keep the blog on a separate “name” or else wrapping up the contest would have lowered my “finishing” score :-).

    I’ve got to dig-up last one email entry I got and I’ll figure out the winners later in the wee and we can discuss where to go next.

  17. 2008 GTD Challenge Results » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    February 18, 2008 @ 8:48 am

    […] a framework for "climbing back on the GTD horse" in the new year, we initiated the "Next Action Analysis 2008 GTD Challenge". The goal was to get an initial assessment in the 1st half of January and then work to […]

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