I really work a lot with start dates I use them to keep my mind focused on about 5 tasks that I want to complete that day and with start dates I see exactly those in the focus list. First it’s about importance - what task from your next action list is the one you choose ? Of course what is due, but once the due tasks are done you have to sort through a maybe quite long list of next actions only to find out that you can’t do certain tasks because some stuff for it is still missing etc.
And then there are the big tasks, that take more than a day or week and you want to start them in time so you get them done when they are due. If you just let them sit in the NextAction List with a due date on it there is a good chance you miss the right date to start and suddenly there is too less time to complete it in time. Of course you can set a “due” date for the start and then you get a reminder for starting it, but then where do you put the due date ? You will end up with a Next Action List with mixed start or due dates and if you have a long list this creates chaos.
And the focus list has the psychological effect of giving you the feeling that you have achieved the important things of the day, while your next action list may still present you dozens of unfinished tasks .