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  • Someday/Maybe projects vs. goals? (10K feet vs. 40K feet horizons)

    OK, so I'm spending New Year's Day revisiting my horizons, and I think I've identified something that has niggled at me for a couple of years now...

    How do you determine the difference between a Someday/Maybe Project that you're not yet ready to commit to, and a goal with a 1-3 year horizon?

    For example, I have one item: establish a family closet. It's not a big, life-shaping thing, but I just don't want to actually tackle it for another year or two... we have other things to do to the house, first. I think I've figured out it's really a Someday/Maybe... but now I'm wondering just how many other things I have mislabeled as Goals.

    So, what criteria do you use to label something a 1-3 goal? I'm obviously very confused about them!

    KC

  • #2
    If I want to see actions that lead towards it on my current lists, I would consider it a goal. If I don't want to see those actions because I'm not intending to start doing it yet, I would consider it a someday/maybe.

    I don't mind some somewhat someday-maybe-ish actions on some of my lists. Particularly with shopping lists: I might have an item on there for weeks or months, finally find myself in that type of store and read the list, decide not to buy that item then, but leave it on the list because I may want to re-consider it again next time I'm in that type of store. For whatever reason, those actions don't tend to bother me. With some other lists, I may like to keep them very clean, containing only actions I'm really ready to do now, because I feel more comfortable with the list that way.

    I guess the GTD system doesn't tend to include the idea of planning to start something a year from now and finish it 3 years from now. Instead, you just put it on your someday/maybe list, consider it each week, then one week decide to start doing it. However, I think it can make sense to plan a starting date ahead of time -- or to plan starting conditions, for example planning to start one project when a certain other project is finished (so you'll presumably have time available).

    Does GTD address the situation where someone keeps wanting to do something "someday" but never feels like starting it now? Something that would make life easier, and that takes a lot more work in the long run if you don't do it.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with cwoodgold, but I might add:

      Originally posted by KC in KS View Post
      How do you determine the difference between a Someday/Maybe Project that you're not yet ready to commit to, and a goal with a 1-3 year horizon?
      For me it has nothing whatsoever to do with the timeframe. And they are not mutually exclusive.

      A Someday/Maybe thing, to me, is a pure Maybe thing. Something that I am simply not sure I will ever do it or even try to do. (And that makes it "someday maybe" also in a timing sense.)

      A Goal, to me (30k objective), is a "super project" / "strategic effort". These big things typically take quite some time, and may "contain" a bunch of 10k projects.

      Originally posted by KC in KS View Post
      For example, I have one item: establish a family closet. It's not a big, life-shaping thing, but I just don't want to actually tackle it for another year or two... we have other things to do to the house, first. I think I've figured out it's really a Someday/Maybe... but now I'm wondering just how many other things I have mislabeled as Goals.
      I'd say that's definitely not big enough to be a Goal (not for me, anyway). It is probably best treated as a Someday/Maybe task (action or project), just as you say. Alternatively, if you mean literally that there are other things that NEED to be done first before you even COULD get it done (not just a matter of prioritization) you could treat it as a subsequent action/subproject within a larger project (or possibly even a goal) called perhaps something like "Establish a first-class home". Or if it is dependent on something time-based, such as your children having moved out, you could see it as a Tickler file item and decide to consider it afresh on a given date.

      Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
      I don't mind some somewhat someday-maybe-ish actions on some of my lists. Particularly with shopping lists: I might have an item on there for weeks or months, finally find myself in that type of store and read the list, decide not to buy that item then, but leave it on the list because I may want to re-consider it again next time I'm in that type of store. For whatever reason, those actions don't tend to bother me. With some other lists, I may like to keep them very clean, containing only actions I'm really ready to do now, because I feel more comfortable with the list that way.
      I'd say the implied action here is in fact a true next action, something you are not unsure about at all. This next action is: "Take another look at that thing (and see whether I want to buy it)".

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree completely with everything Folke says up there; just wanted to mention that.


        Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
        I guess the GTD system doesn't tend to include the idea of planning to start something a year from now and finish it 3 years from now.
        Bring-Forward works pretty well for this. I've stretched mine out so it covers years into the future, pretty much exactly for this sort of reason.


        Does GTD address the situation where someone keeps wanting to do something "someday" but never feels like starting it now? Something that would make life easier, and that takes a lot more work in the long run if you don't do it.
        Sort of, but mostly this reminds me that I have Something Important to Say about the whole topic of priorities in GTD, which I suppose I should get around to writing.

        In the meantime, pg 79 of GTD with its section on "Need More to Be Happening?" covers this ground pretty well.



        Cheers,
        Roger

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
          I guess the GTD system doesn't tend to include the idea of planning to start something a year from now and finish it 3 years from now.
          I don't know that I agree with that, I've had projects that I've been managing in GTD that were started over 30 years ago by my mother that I inherited. They got put into GTD 5 years ago and they won't be done for probably another 2-3 years at best. We are actively working on them right now.

          There is a significant number of my projects that span multiple years that I manage in GTD.

          They are separate from the someday maybe projects that I have not started or am not committed to yet.

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