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  • Insufficent Projects

    GTD suggests that people usually have between 30 and 100 active, 10K, runway-level projects. I typically have 10 or so. There is clearly a disconnect here.

    I would like to get a complete list of my projects, which certainly has to be more than 10.

    1. Can you recommend a way for me to find (brainstorm) the missing 20 to 80 projects?
    2. If some of the items generated by #1 are actually multi-year activities (30K or greater goals), how do I handle that? Do they get broken down on "what's this year's 10K project for that 30K greater goal)?
    3. Won't most of these items become Someday/Maybe's. If so, won't that eliminate most of the projects and turn it back into 10 projects like I have now rather than 30 to 100?

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.
    Last edited by furashgf; 04-05-2011, 02:43 PM.

  • #2
    1. Can you recommend a way for me to find (brainstorm) the missing 20 to 80 projects?
    Many people also have less than 30. I have 22 right now personally & professionally. But if you think you might be missing some, here are some things you might not have considered to be projects:

    problems to solve
    issues to clarify
    things to scope
    things to research
    things to install

    If nothing comes up, I wouldn't worry about going to look for them. Nothing worse than pressure to take action on a project you're not really committed to anyway.

    2. If some of the items generated by #1 are actually multi-year activities (30K or greater goals), how do I handle that? Do they get broken down on "what's this year's 10K project for that 30K greater goal)?
    yes.

    3. Won't most of these items become Someday/Maybe's. If so, won't that eliminate most of the projects and turn it back into 10 projects like I have now rather than 30 to 100?
    If you think they are turning into Someday Maybe's eventually anyway, I probably wouldn't even capture them as a current project now. Current Project would mean you could and want to take action NOW.

    Hope that helps,
    Kelly

    Comment


    • #3
      Use Mind Sweep / Incompletion Trigger List.

      Originally posted by furashgf View Post
      1. Can you recommend a way for me to find (brainstorm) the missing 20 to 80 projects?
      Use Mind Sweep / Incompletion Trigger List (PDF download).

      Comment


      • #4
        I make a distinction between reactive and proactive projects. A reactive project is when something needs fixing in the house or my calendar emails me to tell me it's time to compare car insurance again. You could also call these 'maintenance' projects.

        Proactive projects are sourced from my six horizons. I review them in my Monthly Review and aim to have a single project for each item.

        I think Visions, Goals and Areas of Focus can come from a variety of sources in GTD:
        - Reflecting on your purpose and principles
        - Doing a base collection on all your stuff ( lots of memorabilia waking up memories good and bad )
        - The clarify stage of the workflow - take a moment to consider if this thought is part of something bigger
        - Learning from other people's lives - conversations, tv, autobiographies

        I am particularly interested in the autobiographies idea, as it can give you a full-lifetime perspective from people who have lived big enough lives to be worth writing about.

        I have about 40 proactive projects and about 10 reactive projects:
        Purpose - 1, no projects
        Principles - 5, 1 project to clarify one of them
        Visions - 5, 1 project each, and created some goals
        Goals - 10, ~1.5 projects each
        Areas of Focus - 17, ~1.5 projects each
        Last edited by pxt; 04-06-2011, 03:57 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by furashgf View Post
          1. Can you recommend a way for me to find (brainstorm) the missing 20 to 80 projects?
          2. If some of the items generated by #1 are actually multi-year activities (30K or greater goals), how do I handle that? Do they get broken down on "what's this year's 10K project for that 30K greater goal)?
          3. Won't most of these items become Someday/Maybe's. If so, won't that eliminate most of the projects and turn it back into 10 projects like I have now rather than 30 to 100?
          For number One here are some of my suggestions.
          Walk around your spaces, personal and work and note anything that is out of place, hard to use or access or you don't like. Those things can all become projects. Example: I walked around the Red Barn and got a project of Repaint red Barn Doors because the chickens have scratched the bottom paint off.

          Sit and reflect on the things you love to do, your hobbies you may not have any time for and think whether they still appeal to you. Projects can fall out of that as well. Example: I really enjoyed creating the Jeans Quilt I made for my husband. I have a bunch of old jeans that are too worn out to wear. Making another jeans quilt became a project.

          As you process backlog take note of things that make you happy and things that make you sad. Find ways to re-incorportate the happy ones into your life and see if you can eliminate any current versions of the sad ones. Example: As I've been cleaning out my mother's estate stuff I found some pen and ink drawings I did as a kid that I then colored with watercolors. That prompted several projects related to getting back into doing art.

          Look at your calendar from a year ago and compare a month in advance and back from today's date and see if you are missing anything. Example: I reviewed what I was doing a year ago and realized that it was time to get the lamb bags ready and I didn't have a project to do that. I have a checklist of items to go in them but not the whole project which is actually complicated starting with Remember where I packed the lamb bags from last year

          Collect all these as basic thoughts and put them in your inbox for processing later. The goal is to generate as many new ideas and possible projects as you can, not to sort them at this stage.

          For number Two yes 30K goals do result in projects. So brainstorming at the higher levels will often result in many more projects.

          For number Three. Once you have a much more complete list of possible projects you need to process it. That includes spending the time to really decide on those items you identified in number 1. Sure, a lot will end up on Someday/Maybe but you then have a more complete list of things you think might be important. Do this for several weeks in a row and you get in the habit of collecting plenty of possible projects and then if you are realistic you will be able to sort into the ones you really will work on t active and the rest to someday/maybe as you process your inboxes daily.

          Comment


          • #6
            pxt, can you detail a bit more about what each of the levels is? The old GTD used to just have essentially time ranges (I think).

            Comment


            • #7
              You have to decide for yourself when your current project load is too light or too heavy. As long as your inventory of Projects, Next Actions and Someday/Maybes are complete and current you're doing just fine.

              Here's one thing to consider during your next weekly review. As you review each item on your someday/maybe list, are you feeling bad about not doing it now? If you don't feel good about what you're not doing then it's time to consider whether or not you should be doing it now. Decide if you have the bandwidth to take it on and, if you decide you do, move it to the Projects list and define the next action to get started.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by furashgf View Post
                pxt, can you detail a bit more about what each of the levels is? The old GTD used to just have essentially time ranges (I think).
                Oh, you are right. I should have said the Six Horizons, not levels.

                So my Monthly Review is all about generating projects from the Six Horizons.

                (For this reason, I also review my Someday-Maybe list in monthly review, and not in weekly review, since that is a project-generator too.)

                In MR, I start at Purpose and check that each horizon is in good shape. If not, I start a project to get it into shape and the first action is to run the Natural Planning Method. So I could have a project: Use NPM to generate Visions. Once I have some visions, I then go into each and use the NPM to fill it out, which will result in a mixture of Goals and Projects. So that's a Project per Vision just to get them well-defined and once they are well-defined they will have a Next Project each; and/or they will have child goals, each with a Next Project.

                As you recurse down to finish off the AOFs, you could easily end up with 50 projects. The good thing about this is that all your projects will be proactive - ie: they are all about what *you* want rather than just reacting to the world around you.

                My first Monthly Review took 2 and a half months

                Comment


                • #9
                  Collection issue

                  I think this is a collection issue. Many of my projects come from noticing things that I am worrying about, and then capturing them in my inbox (for me, my cell phone). Capturing is the easy part; the hard part is noticing that you are worried about it when you are in the moment.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Furashgf!

                    In regards to the thought of having few projects (and suspecting that there might be more lurking below the surface):

                    During my weekly reviews I go through my actions lists and ask myself if they are part of a larger whole of some sort. then i check my projects list and see if there is a match between the action item and a project. this can be tedious at first, but once you get the hang of it, it comes natural. i usually ad some projects each week from action items that i just have missed to link to a project.

                    best of luck!

                    /theswedishguy

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