Most of Merlin's "culprits" result from poorly-formed or poorly-worded entries. Many turn out to be multiple tasks, meaning they need to be redefined as a project. Others might not be tasks at all. All I know for sure is that you should read it-- you'll get something from his analysis and proposed solutions.
This got me thinking about my tasks, and I looked through my various lists to see what was getting stuck, instead of getting done. I detected a couple of patterns:
- Tasks are too broad. For example, I have a task on my @home list entitled "Bring finances up to date." What was I thinking? Sure, it's possible to do it in one sitting, but it truly involves many, many tasks. Solution: Make it a project.
- Tasks I don't want to do. Hmm... this is a tough one. It seems that when I come to a list to get my next task, I often choose not to do the same ones over and over. I haven't really solved this one, but it might work to break the task down even further. GTD is supposed to help me with procrastination, but it has only helped to a degree. Solution: I don't know! Any ideas?
- Too many next action lists. I thought I did a good job creating context-specific next action lists, but maybe I have too many. If I'm at home, I have at least five different lists that I could choose actions from: @home, @calls, @offline, @online, and @saw. Solution: I want a tool that lets me create list groupings... if I'm at home, then all of the lists that can apply should be available in one list. If I'm sitting in a Starbuck's with WiFi, I want to look at both my @offline and @online lists. Does anyone have a tool that will do this?