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  • Why is it so stressful to formulate projects as outcomes?

    Why is it so stressful to formulate projects as outcomes?

    How do you go about doing this? Is there an easy way to do this? Recently, I've been trying to convert hundreds of projects into outcome statements and I was wondering if other people are finding the process as difficult as I am.

  • #2
    Are you talking about coming up with the vision/outcome statement for the project?
    In terms of wording, I've been trying to name my projects and sub-projects as Deliverables, not next actions. e.g.,
    "Effectively Using Getting Things Done"
    v.
    "Learn Getting Things Done"
    The former seems more evocative to me of what the purpose of the project is.

    Comment


    • #3
      Deciding / Action / Accountability

      Hi,

      I was journaling about this very topic last week. There's a famous quote attributed to Goethe that talks about the power of intention (see below).

      Deciding an outcome by default signifies action is going to take place. If we make something up (a next action, or a successful outcome) and actually write it down, it signifies a level of accountability that is different than "thinking about it."

      Creating a successful outcome is perhaps the most important behavior we teach. I believe that when more and more people have the strength and courage to actually "imagine" they can achieve what they want, the action steps to match will come easier and easier.








      * "Until one is committed there is always hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising to one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."

      Comment


      • #4
        I always phrase projects as statements which are either true or false. If the statement is true, I can check off the project as "done." If the statement is false, there is work to be done and a next action that must be formulated.

        If I am having a hard time wording the statement, it's a good indication that I don't really know what the project will look like when it is done.

        Is the problem that you have so many outcomes that the volume is causing the stress? If so, maybe taking an entire Saturday afternoon (free of distractions) just to get those outcomes worded would help. You may find you have to dump some things (or at least put the majority on someday/maybe) so you are not overwhelmed.

        Frank

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by furashgf
          Are you talking about coming up with the vision/outcome statement for the project?
          In terms of wording, I've been trying to name my projects and sub-projects as Deliverables, not next actions. e.g.,
          "Effectively Using Getting Things Done"
          v.
          "Learn Getting Things Done"
          The former seems more evocative to me of what the purpose of the project is.
          Yes, this is what I'm talking about. The phrase "Effectively Using Getting Things Done" is indeed more evocative than the second one, but it still sounds overly vague and overly abstract to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Jason and Frank, I agree with you.

            My frustration lies in the "imagining" part of the outcome. Have any of you tried to break down this step further?

            Comment


            • #7
              Imagining what could be...

              Originally posted by Chariot
              My frustration lies in the "imagining" part of the outcome.
              The best source I've found for this is Chapter 3 of Maxwell Maltz's book Psycho Cybernetics

              A mentor of mine, while running through the hills of the Ojai Valley one spring day, stopped, looked at me and said, "Stop talking like that, Jason. You can never exceed the limitations you put on your own self expression."

              Another teacher of mine shares that acceptance is the first law of spirit.

              My day to day intention is to imagine what could be, move in that direction, and then accept what shows up as exactly what should be. I've found the easiest way to do that is to actually practice "seeing the end" in my mind before I get there. In my weekly review, I'll actually look at each project, "imagine" it's done, ask myself what the next action is, and capture that next step in my system.

              This has really helped me.

              I did write a short post on the "power of creativity" here:

              http://jason.davidco.com/blogs/jason...tywhatandwhere

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi,

                1) Can some of those "projects" go on your "someday/maybe" list, at least for now?

                2) Have you checked out David's new weblog at david.davidco.com yet? His entry on March 24th, "Working a decision-support checklist", might help.

                3) Would it help to take more frequent breaks, or rotate between this and other tasks? When I started GTD, my head would hurt after as little as 5 minutes. It's a new way of thinking, and got easier with practice and experience.

                4) I've found it helps to describe the successful outcome in its own sentence(s), using as many words as I need. Here's an example:

                Think about whether to go to D.A. "Leveraging Focus & Vision"
                seminar on Boston on Fri. 5/14/04
                Success: Decide whether to go, or pass 'til next year
                ent'd 1/19/04

                5) Are you aiming for "perfection"? One of the greatest things about GTD is its flexibility. As David puts it, we're free to "re-negotiate our agreements with ourselves" as much as we need to in order to feel good about them. For me, that means starting simply, just getting "stakes in the ground". Then GTD puts time on my side, letting things come into focus naturally as I look through my lists each day.

                Hope this helps, and have fun,
                Tom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Chariot,

                  whenever I can't imagine the outcome of a project and/or can't imagine myself juggling the stuff , then I need to fill the gap between commitment (duty) and character (passion). I can't always fill that gap but sometimes I can.

                  In order to at least have or create an opportunity to fill that gap , I use good old common sense, mindmapping, SQ3R, drilling down and simple logics to draft a description/definition of the problem and possible ways of solution. Then I discuss the project with the person who came up with the problem, trying to find a better definition for the project and a list of acceptable results (= outcome). I don't want to torture myself trying to imagine an outcome for an ill-defined project or problem.

                  Hope this helps.

                  Rainer

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