You Need A Next Action List

Please stop walking around with a million static ideas in your head. It just doesn't make sense for you to be putting yourself under such stress.

Here is the blueprint for finding the system that you will work with.

RIGHT NOW - Decide right if you want to go high-tech or low-tech, or both.

Can't decide, I'll decide for you. It's low-tech.

RIGHT NOW - Find a paper and pen and keep this duo with you at all times.

You might very well decide to use low-tech for a long while, or just until you find your high-tech tool of choice.

RIGHT NOW - You are starting your Next Action List.

RIGHT NOW - Stop overthinking this. It's not rocket science, its a task management system.

NOW - Follow these easy steps:


  • Research local paper goods stores.

  • Research on-line paper goods stores.

  • Buy tools: pads, notebooks and pens that you can keep with you.

  • Smaller for jackets, pockets, purses, cars, bedside tables.

  • Larger for briefcases and desks.


  • Email company IT department for their list of approved task management tools/apps.

  • Research reviews on each app.

  • Ask (Name of colleague or friend) for their recommendation(s).

  • Chose app.

  • Install app on phone.

  • Install app on tablet.

  • Install app on company computer.

  • Install app on home computer.

Low and High-Tech - Combined:

Follow both lists above and work the two systems in tandem as I do.

My Next Action List:

I use both low-tech and high-tech because sometimes its just easier and faster to find a pen and paper to write notes on. I do rely on my electronic task management app the most and as I triage my written notes I put whatever tasks, projects or next actions are outstanding into my app.

Also, I find that when meeting with people, it is very important to remain engaged with them throughout the meeting. Jotting down a few notes in a notebook has a less invasive feel to it. The minute someone's focus moves to their computer, it can be a signal for everyone in the meeting to shift their focus (most probably to their computers) and that can be a meeting killer which is probably why many companies ask meeting participants to park their devices at the door for important meetings.

I have a red folder at my desk that serves as my inbox for all my paper reminders, notes and receipts. I work from home and the red folder is at my desk. Every time I return to my office ALL my paperwork goes into the folder, either to be addressed right away or later. My fail-safe for keeping up-to-date with these papers is that if they are not addressed during the week they become part of my Weekly Review. Nothing falls off my radar.

Once my notes and reminders have been given the attention they deserve, I no longer think about them because I know my next action list will bring them back to me when I need to take care of them. Long gone are the days when I am constantly giving an inappropriate amount of attention to a task or a project because I didn't give it the appropriate amount of attention at the correct time.

Best present I ever gave myself was my Next Action List.

Reach out in the comments if you have anything to add or if you have a question or if you need help with your task management system.

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