Before running my life on GTD, I would write things like “Learn Mesopotamian history” or “Fix the car” on my to-do list. I would stare at the item for weeks and weeks without doing anything, because there were always more approachable items on my list. The problem was that these things are projects, not tasks (or next actions). Where do you start with fixing the car?
People can only do tasks. People cannot just do projects. Projects are made up of minute tasks.
The first step to fix the car might be to get underneath the car with a flashlight and check things out. The first step to learning Mesopotamian history might be to search the internet for 20 minutes for a critically acclaimed book or lecture on the topic. Tasks need to be small.
Reviewing my task list today, I noticed one called “install Nextcloud on Raspberry Pi”. Apparently I have fallen prey to my old way of thinking that conflated tasks and projects. I think I’ll replace that item with an actual task: “Install SSH public key on Raspberry Pi”.