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  • Project vs a goal

    Project vs a goal.

    I see similarities in that both a goal and a project are outcome driven and both can be checked off when they are done.

    Is the only difference in the terms a matter of how long it takes to complete?

    If I planned to retire in January 2015, does my goal become a project in january 2014 just by virtue of the calendar or is there some other factor?

  • #2
    Originally posted by curtis View Post
    Project vs a goal.

    I see similarities in that both a goal and a project are outcome driven and both can be checked off when they are done.

    Is the only difference in the terms a matter of how long it takes to complete?

    If I planned to retire in January 2015, does my goal become a project in january 2014 just by virtue of the calendar or is there some other factor?
    If I had that as a goal, it would drive projects related to finances, health care, activity in retirement, et cetera. A 30,000 foot goal has a horizon of perhaps 1-2 years and drives projects, so it's a 30K goal.

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    • #3
      Interesting insight

      Fascinating!

      Maybe that's why I have so much trouble with "goals" but have hundreds of "projects". I have projects that can span decades, maybe they are really goals but I treat them like single projects. They do often spawn multiple projects. But then I assume that my "project" was really an area of focus.

      30K stuff is still a big muddle for me. I have a good handle on the runway, project and area of focus sections and also a good handle on the life purpose but not much at the middle levels makes sense in my world.

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      • #4
        There you go, Oogie. All you have to do is rename some projects as goals and visions, and you've got your higher horizons of focus all straightened out. (Far more so than me.)

        You might be interested in the chart I put on this thread (a few posts from the top) if you haven't seen it already:

        http://www.davidco.com/forum/archive...p/t-12930.html

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        • #5
          My definition of a project is almost purely mechanical, based on the theory that a project (1) will require more than one action to reach completion and (2) should have a single Next Action at any given time.

          If something requires one and only one action, it goes in a single action list somewhere.

          If it will require several actions but it feels "right" for those actions to be worked sequentially, rather than simultaneously, then it's a project.

          If it will require several different sequential streams of actions, and I want more than one of those streams to be progressing at the same time, then it's multiple projects. Those multiple projects may all point toward a single goal, though I may or may not record that relationship.

          So it's both about the structure of the goal/project, and how I want to work it. If my goal is, say, "Become a more expert seamstress", but that's a low-key goal right now and I don't have much time for it, then I might just create one project with one Next Action, and that project might bumble along for months and years as I work individual actions. On the other hand, if that's a really important goal to me, then it could spawn any number of projects that I eagerly work in parallel:

          Project: Complete a course in fitting trousers.
          Project: Complete a garment in silk georgette.
          Project: Master Hong Kong finish.
          etc., etc., etc.

          Some of those projects might be sub-goals for bigger projects--for example, all three of the above could be prep for creating a glorious pair of tweed trousers with Hong Kong-finished seams and a partial lining made of silk georgette. Or they could just be separate skills with no immediate relationship.

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          • #6
            Yeah...good post.
            I initially struggled with the distinction between GOALS and PROJECTS...
            Is it just semantics?
            Is there a practical difference in terms of handling and GTD systems?

            In the end I just forgot about it and put goals in a seperate, non GTD box and had projects as things that were either underway or soon would be and should be within about 9 months-a year...

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            • #7
              Yeah ... good posts, good thread.

              In purely operational terms I suppose you might say that there need not be much difference, although different people are different.

              Personally, I like to have "all if it" summarized as 10-20 list items of comparable importance (in my left menu). In my case, those will be:

              - major projects
              - goals, visions, directions of major change
              - AoRs for regular ongoing stuff (regular and small projects)

              I find that I seldom have much use for an exhaustive mile-long list of every single "GTD micro-project" (multi-step little "task"). It is enough for me to see those in their natural "habitat".

              Instead, I really do appreciate - it gives me a sense of control and "a mind like water" - having the totality summarized in this balanced and more graspable list (20 items or less), regardless of whether these items are projects, goals or something else.

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