When the next action is a meeting

I practice GTD and use OmniFocus to track all of my projects and tasks. Recently, I put together a list of my major projects at work and the next steps for each for a report to my colleagues about where my projects stood. I realized that for many of these projects the next step was for me to attend a meeting. However, if there isn’t a “next action” associated directly with the meeting they don’t show up in OmniFocus.

Now these meetings aren’t completely absent from OmniFocus, they show up on my calendar in the Forecast view, and these meetings may have had actions associated them in the past (if I was the one setting up the meeting, for example). However, if I go into the Projects view and look at one of these projects, there’s either no next action or maybe some tasks that are deferred until after the meeting. There’s no one place I can go and see everything associated with the project; it’s split between my calendar and OmniFocus.

Now, my current approach does work. My calendar will get me to the meeting and at the meeting or afterwards I’ll capture whatever my next action on the project needs to be. But this has me wondering if maybe there’s a better way to do this. Create “Attend Meeting” tasks for each meeting in OmniFocus, perhaps?

How do other folks handle this?

There are lots of options, so I would encourage you to experiment but follow the principle of simple as possible.

I think vanilla GTD advises in your case to continue using the calendar only for meetings, trusting the weekly review to prompt you to review the week’s calendar events to

  1. View the date in your calendar
  2. Process any agendas or handouts in your physical in-tray, email, Google Drive, etc.
  3. Add any next actions or assigned tasks to your trusted lists (OmniFocus).

This is helpful for me in a handful of meetings not related to my day job, where the lead time for actions and projects is longer than a week.

I would ask if the project I am tracking is really a project. Could it better be handled by a Single Action list in OmniFocus, where I could add a weekly/monthly reminder to “Process next actions from this week’s/month’s meeting”?

If I were in your case, and the project truly depended upon all the outcomes of all the planned meetings, and the planned meetings usually had outcomes that required less than a week to accomplish, I would add the meetings to my calendar so that I see that commitment regularly (and don’t plan something else during that time). Then, I would add a task in the project in OF with a defer (or, optionally, Due) date the day after the meeting: “Process notes/agenda from 2/25/2017 status meeting.” That way, the calendar reflects my external commitment, I don’t have to wait for the weekly review to prompt me to process the meeting for next actions, and the project in OF will show both my planned actions as well as a reminder of when the meetings will occur.


For me meetings go on my Outlook calendar. Only if it is the real next action in a project do I put a “Meet with A about B” task in my project.

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I run into a LOT of cases like this. My main business is in freelance web development. I always have about 20+ projects that are for either potential clients or current clients that require a conversation/meeting as the next step. My typical MO is to add the event to my calendar and create a “Waiting For” task in OmniFocus for the project. When I run through my lists daily I see the waiting list and mark them off if I’m no longer waiting on them. Keep it simple. 😉