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  • Difference between projects, outcomes and goals

    I'm struggling with the difference between projects, outcomes and goals. Where in the GtD material can I find a good explanation? How do a I prioritise projects, outcomes and goals during my weekly review?

  • #2
    Originally posted by silvine View Post
    I'm struggling with the difference between projects, outcomes and goals. Where in the GtD material can I find a good explanation? How do a I prioritise projects, outcomes and goals during my weekly review?
    Every project has an outcome, or better yet, a "desired outcome" as David Allen suggests.
    The outcome is what you intend to achieve, when you can mark that project complete.
    Projects are generally reviewed weekly in your Weekly Review, and will have a completion within the next 12 months or so.

    Goals are higher up on the Horizons of Focus in GTD. They live at the 30,000 level and reflect your 1-2 year Goals and Direction. For most people, reviewing those about quarterly seems to work well.

    You'll find a good explanation of this too in the free article called "Levels of Your Work" found here: http://www.davidco.com/free_articles? and in our GTD System Guides, with examples and suggestions for what to review when: https://secure.davidco.com/store/cat...ES-p-16204.php

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    • #3
      I also find this a bit of a grey area. Say I had a goal to lose 10lb of weight within a 3 month period. Under the GTD definition would this be better described as a project? Previously I would have said this would be a perfect short term goal, but having read Making it all work I am now re-assessing this. It seems to me that every productivity guru likes to re-badge these concepts which can cause some confusion.

      I find GTD unique in the management of tasks and projects, but I also previously found great value in yearly goals, quarterly and sometimes monthly goals. Is it best to ditch these for the GTD version for consistency purposes to avoid confusion? How do other people handle this?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by AJS View Post
        I find GTD unique in the management of tasks and projects, but I also previously found great value in yearly goals, quarterly and sometimes monthly goals. Is it best to ditch these for the GTD version for consistency purposes to avoid confusion?
        I see no reason to stop using yearly, quarterly and monthly goals. You can have goals for any length of time you want. I think it's just a matter of nomenclature, that if it's for less than about 3 months (or less than a year??) it's usually called a "project" in GTD, while longer-term things are called "goals".

        I was accustomed to using the word "project" for longer-term things, and was looking for a different word I could use for GTD-style projects. I ran through a tremendous number of words on thesauri and eventually settled on "set" (as in "set of actions to be done") but never ended up actually using that word. I guess I figure I can use "project" for the whole range from things that will take less than an hour but in more than one step, up to multi-year projects.

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        • #5
          Let's say you have a long-range goal of a financially secure retirement. Depending on your age and circumstances, this might be something as simple as maxing out your tax-free retirement contribution every year, or it might entail many projects over the course of a year. Reviewing goals at appropriate intervals generates projects.

          The horizons of focus model is not a bad model to use. Remember that it's there for you to adapt to your needs, not to tell you what your needs are.

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