ProdPod: Episode 18 — Someday or Maybe?

A “Someday/Maybe” list, according to David Allen’s Getting Things Done (or GTD) methodology is for any goal, project or next action that you are not committed to achieving or doing right now. Many people have struggled to separate what goes on their Someday/Maybe lists from their Actions and Projects lists, so I thought in this episode I’d describe Someday/Maybe’s in my productivity system in hopes that it helps others.

I distinguish between someday’s and maybe’s. Someday’s I *will* do. Maybe’s maybe not. For someday’s I always put parenthetically after the description “Resources Needed/Wanted:” which asks the question: what would I need or want to happen that would trigger me to do this someday item right now? For me, this makes someday’s realistic and available for when that “missing link” becomes available, whether that’s time, money, emotional energy to invest, credentials, a new delegatee, a call from my mother, or so on.

So, in practical terms, I use two context lists to manage the various someday/maybe’s in my life and work. This puts an intrinsic greater importance on someday’s than on maybe’s, so I typically review someday’s every week during my Weekly Review. Whereas, my maybe’s are items that I plan to review at least quarterly, but most of the time I come across the list monthly when I find the mental-emotional energy and time to think about my maybe’s list. By its nature, they end up being somewhat of a wishlist of things I’d like to accomplish but haven’t yet figured out how to accomplish, but with a little creativity I can make them a someday or perhaps even an actual project or next-action.

This is just one modification of many to GTD that I’ve implemented in my own personal productivity system, and it benefits me by allowing me to move stuff to definable goals without cluttering my active projects or next-actions lists with yet-to-be-productive items.