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  • "Making It All Work" Questions

    Recently read David's latest book, which generated a list of questions. Rather than list them all here, I've decided to take the "IV drip" approach and post them one at a time, so I can incorporate follow up actions. Previously I read Getting Things Done, implemented GTD, but feel off the wagon. Making It All Work was insightful reading for helping me to jump back on the band wagon. Here are my initial questions....

    Projects & Action Items--Page 141 mentions that people might have 85 projects. If that's true, and you are moving them all forward, does that meant that you would have 85 action items? The examples of Gracie's Garden only showed 6 action items?

  • #2
    If that's true, and you are moving them all forward, does that mean that you would have 85 action items?
    Yes, it could. But remember, those could be spread across any number of "runway" type lists: your calendar, action lists, agendas, waiting for etc.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by debbieg View Post
      Page 141 mentions that people might have 85 projects. If that's true, and you are moving them all forward, does that meant that you would have 85 action items?
      Or more if there are parts that are parallel for those projects.

      I personally currently have over 100 current active projects and I just counted and I've got 127 next actions to support those projects.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by debbieg View Post
        Projects & Action Items--Page 141 mentions that people might have 85 projects. If that's true, and you are moving them all forward, does that meant that you would have 85 action items? The examples of Gracie's Garden only showed 6 action items?
        I have something like 87 projects, and just under 500 items on my lists. This includes some non-actionable items, such as waiting fors, someday/maybes and delayed starts. On a good week, I move about 80% of the projects forward. Some weeks, it's below 50%, particularly if a deadline-driven project takes up a lot of time.

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        • #5
          Actions

          I usually float around 70-200 next actions depending on a number of variables. Some projects have only one action, some have 30 independent, free moving next actions. It all depends on the project, the environment, the deadlines, my energy levels, how many other peopple im working with, etc.

          I have noticed that, personally, the faster things move, the more actions I need.

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          • #6
            I don't know how you folks maintain that many active projects. I have many projects, but most are in my someday/maybe waiting to get started. Having to sort through 100 next actions on a daily basis would slow my productivity immensely.

            I choose to keep 5 or so projects active, and the rest go in my someday/maybe. That's the only way I can get things done in a timely manner.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
              I choose to keep 5 or so projects active, and the rest go in my someday/maybe. That's the only way I can get things done in a timely manner.
              Woah thats prety extreme, though like a lot of these things it depends on what you do.

              I recently noticed that a) my most important projects werent moving quick enough and b) I was hunting through way too many next action trying to find the important ones, so I cut back quite a lot through delegation or sticking in SDMB. Plus if you keep hunting through the same Next Actions week after week, you stop seeing them.

              Now I have 38 projects, which is probably as few as I've had since I started doing GTD, but I can feel a lot more progress on those main ones. (It was partly in response to stress too. Sadly, out of control workload is not the only cause of stress, if it were GTD would be on prescription)

              However I dont get to choose a lot of my projects, theyre "chosen for me" if you like, through colleagues, the government or customers.

              Also if you dont keep projects active with Next Actions cued up, you might miss opportunities to move one on. The problem with only having the important projects is that invariably they're the ones with the lengthy next actions (budgets, reports, tenders, supervision, etc) - sometimes all you have time for is the 5 minute phone call, or whatever.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by graphicdetails View Post
                I choose to keep 5 or so projects active, and the rest go in my someday/maybe.
                I'm curious about this as I can't even get through a single day without working on 8-10 projects minimum and that doesn't count the daily chores that are on autopilot.

                You are including all your projects no matter the source right? And count as a project anything that is more than a single step to complete?

                How do you start up projects from SDMB during the day or between reviews?

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                • #9
                  5 was an arbitrary number. I have daily items on my calendar that have to be done every week, every day. After that I have ad-hoc single actions that pop up on a daily basis that need to be added. Then I also have customer orders that dictate my time as well. After all those, I find time to work on my projects in whatever context.

                  With all of these I make sure I have enough NAs to keep all my contexts full. My ultimate goal is to NOT have to scroll down on my pda to see the NAs in any given context. If I have to scroll, I know I need to start getting things done because it takes too long to have to scroll when switching contexts. With this method, if it's in the context, then I do it!

                  I also don't stick just to a Weekly Review. I review NAs and Projects almost on a daily basis to keep everything moving. My Weekly Review is a little more involved on a Friday evening. If I finish a Project on a Tuesday evening, however, I have no problem checking in S/M to see what I want to move up to active right away.

                  I simply know how I work, and I need to keep a small amount active, and pick which Projects I want to "activate" during my review. There simply isn't enough time to keep many projects going. I like to complete, remove, and start a new one. It keeps me moving without getting numb to seeing too many NAs over and over.

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