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  • I don't need a project list

    I'm very organized. I write everything down and organize. When I finish one next action I put the next one into the system using one of my inboxes. My projects are mostly in sales field so there's no evident plan of future actions available. It means I always have (and can) to think through a next action when the previous is done. When thinking about a next action I don't need a project list. That makes me think that I do not need a project list, it is an excess if you will. And I live Ok without it for almost a year. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Is everything self-evident?

    Originally posted by Kino View Post
    My projects are mostly in sales field so there's no evident plan of future actions available.
    What about projects that are not in this Area of Focus. Is everything self-evident?

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    • #3
      I can't imagine doing GTD without project list personally and I also don't see much effort in keeping one. However if you feel that you really don't need it then who knows - maybe you really don't need it. Have you tried using it at all? I would suggest to try it at least

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      • #4
        Sure I tried. That what I used. I posted here to say it worked! And it works fine for me now. It works for any Area of Focus not only business and sales projects in particular. I don't have that huge projects like a i.e. house construction. For that case I would have only construction company control actions.

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        • #5
          Other areas of your life

          I'd like to second TesTeq. With things I am used to and familiar with, I don't need projects or often even NAs because other factors will trigger the actions. Routines are easy and when you're good at them, they probably don't need to be tracked.

          The real value in the whole system is in the new things. The new habit you want to take up. You lost your job in sales and the only opportunity you have now is in Nepalese cuisine, or the linguistics of Sanskrit, or Chiropractics, or inventing a lawn-mower that runs on water, etc or some other thing you have little knowledge/experience with.

          Example, I currently have a responsibility to post updates to twitter for my company. I had avoided using twitter until it was required by my job. So, when it was first given to me, I didn't even know how to post, what "re-tweeting" was, how to follow, or any of the other aspects of twitter. For about a month, twitter was an area of focus for me with probably about 20 projects attached to it. My job required that I be perfect in my use of twitter but didn't really teach me how to use twitter (who's had that experience before, raise your hand). Then, as I got better and the learning curve broke, I was able to close down that area of focus and move it to just some projects in PR area of focus. Now I maintain the entire system with about five repeating NAs.

          Now, moving out of work. How about the same thing with your relationships? Do you always know the "next action" with your wife (significant other) after a fight? How about your kids, your parents, you next door neighbor, etc. Or your finances? Are you a millionaire? Do you want to be? What do you want to do in order to get there? Personal hobbies? Didn't you used to love working on bicycles when you were younger? Health & Vitality? Do you really want to lose that tummy? Fun & Entertainment? Maybe expand to taiko drums or ancient chinese dance? Or ballet? Or deep-sea diving?

          As David always says, as much as you need but as little as you can get by with. I don't need a project for every single thing that goes on in my life. But I do need projects for things that are new to me, that I can't predict, or am not sure what the next action would be for what ever reason.

          Hope that helps!

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          • #6
            I too always create the next action at the completion of the current action and, yes, I often find that a project rolls along happily without me ever doing anything with the project on my project list. I almost certainly have some actions in my contexts which are streams of actions each following on from the other. My use of email as my list manager makes this all the more natural as I forward the email back to myself with the next next action in the title and the history and support material in the body.

            One time when my project list comes in handy is for maintaining balance across my areas of focus or goals. Sometimes I have lots of projects running to do with say finance and none to do with skills development. So my project list allows me to see that and I shut some down and open others.

            Another case is that I may want to keep a lot of support materials and ideas for a project, while not having them confuse the current next action for which they might not be directly relevant. So when choosing a holiday, I may have support materials for Turkey and India, while my next action is about ballooning.

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            • #7
              Projects

              With projects I do thinking...

              I think about what to do with this project, creating a creative thinking about this project. Making me sure that I donīt lose any balls of the project..

              I couldnīt do it without a projects list. but thatīs me...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by bradenchase View Post
                Now, moving out of work. How about the same thing with your relationships? Do you always know the "next action" with your wife (significant other) after a fight? How about your kids, your parents, you next door neighbor, etc. Or your finances? Are you a millionaire? Do you want to be? What do you want to do in order to get there? Personal hobbies? Didn't you used to love working on bicycles when you were younger? Health & Vitality? Do you really want to lose that tummy? Fun & Entertainment? Maybe expand to taiko drums or ancient chinese dance? Or ballet? Or deep-sea diving?
                As Socrates said "in the dispute the truth is born" So I would like to dispute a little bit. We agreed that my work as a routine don't require projects to be set. Now moving out of work. What project should I track in regards to my wife? Or kids? Or anybody else? I can always set a next action and when done put a new one into the system (usually through intermediate step - my inbox). Ballet? That's easy and usually can go to the calendar so there's no need in a project. Can you give any real example where you would need a project so I can show you how to make it without the one?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by pxt View Post
                  Another case is that I may want to keep a lot of support materials and ideas for a project, while not having them confuse the current next action for which they might not be directly relevant. So when choosing a holiday, I may have support materials for Turkey and India, while my next action is about ballooning.
                  I would say you talk about project support and not project LIST here...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Popeye View Post
                    With projects I do thinking...

                    I think about what to do with this project, creating a creative thinking about this project. Making me sure that I donīt lose any balls of the project..

                    I couldnīt do it without a projects list. but thatīs me...
                    If you finish a next action of the project you need to think what to do next anyway. Why do you need an artificial list of project in front of you when you have to decide only this particular project action now?

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                    • #11
                      Kino,

                      The Projects list also serves as a focus list for seeing the successful outcome.

                      But hey, if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work for you. It doesn't sound like you want to be convinced otherwise so stick with what works for you.

                      Kelly

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kino View Post
                        If you finish a next action of the project you need to think what to do next anyway. Why do you need an artificial list of project in front of you when you have to decide only this particular project action now?
                        Next actions are like bookmarks; they remind you where you've left off in the pursuit of a particular outcome. You need reminders of the outcomes that you've committed to achieving and therefore you need a projects list. It's one of the most critical lists in GTD.

                        When I'm in the war zone and getting pulled in multiple directions I don't have time to stop and think of the next action(s). Many times my next actions are defined during a weekly review. Without a projects list I would have no reminders of my outcomes and I'd get that nagging feeling that I'm forgetting something (i.e. my brain would take back the job that the system should be doing).

                        Everyone has projects by D.A.'s definition and therefore everyone needs a projects list. If it's not written down then it's in your head and that violates the first "mind like water" principle: Keep everything out of your head.

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                        • #13
                          If you haven't got a project list then I'm guessing you haven't written down your horizons of focus either. It's not that you don't have a projects list, it's just in your head and not written down.
                          Examples of Personal projects - family vacation, buying a car, son's grade 4 education etc. You probably do have projects, you are just keeping track via the next actions and not a standalone list.
                          I can't do that because my memory is like a sieve. If you like to work that way then fine.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kino View Post
                            I would say you talk about project support and not project LIST here...
                            Yes, good point. In my case the two are the same because my project list is a set of folders underneath a folder called Projects. I create one when a project has enough weight that it requires a description of its outcome or support materials or, alternatively, requires a due date.

                            Otherwise, I'd go along with the idea that I get minimal value out of having the project list for what I call 'rolling projects'. I have a number of these specially for externally driven tasks such as a letter from the government to submit my corporation tax. I currently have an action called [CORP TAX] Scan letter and email to accountant.

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                            • #15
                              I don't have a project list either and get by perfectly well without one. I think asking about this on the DA forum is probably the wrong place to ask as the project list is one of the aspects that makes the "GTD" system different to a lot of other similar systems. I have often worried about not having one, have had one and ran with it on many occasions but have always ended up stopping using one due to the low benefit effort ratio. Make sure you have tried it but if it doesn't work for you, don't worry, you are still in good company!

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