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The PigPog Method

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  • The PigPog Method

    (More shameless self promoting, I'm afraid)

    Some time ago, at the start of this year, various members of the GtD_Palm Yahoo! Group created a method for doing GtD without a separate projects list. It was my post that started it all off, so although it's by no means all my own ideas, it became called the PigPog Method.

    Anyway, I've just got around to writing an article about it...
    http://pigpog.com/michael/blog/2004/...pog-method.php

    If you use computerised lists - Palm, Outlook, Pocket PC, or just about anything else - this is a way of avoiding the hassle of trying to keep all your projects and their associated next actions tied together. It means you can only have one next action for each project, but depending on the sort of projects you deal with, the payoff could well be worth it.

  • #2
    Your article is now available at The GTD Zone

    Michael:

    I just added a link to your most recent article in The GTD Zone. Good stuff. Keep 'em coming.

    Comment


    • #3
      PigPog Users

      Anyone using this method (PigPog) that would care to comment on its effectiveness ... and any of the downside they have encountered?

      I have read the info on the blog about this and I like it conceptually - it solves a problematic area in my system and the weekly review. Marrying the next actions and projects takes a fair amount of time and I have to say it is not much fun.

      Dean

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      • #4
        I used to get bogged down in the steps of "making sure that every project had a next action" and "make sure that all next actions that will have another step are listed on the projects list".

        I do have a Palm based system but I don't use the PigPog method. I assign a number to each project on my projects list. The next actions(s) for that project also carry that same number at the beginning of the next action on my task lists.

        During the weekly review I just print out my projects list (sorted by numeber) and my next actions lists (sorted by number also). I can very quickly "marry" the different lists. This made a world of difference in my weekly reviews!

        I would be concerned about doing away with the projects list entirely. It seems that one of the functions of this list is so that you can see all your work in one place and that through having that visual reference of all your open projects, you will be more discriminating about taking on new projects. David says it somehting like, "If you don't have a defined list of all your projects, out of your own integrity, you can't refuse a new project. When you have a list of all your current projects, out of that same integrity, you can't accept too many new projects."

        For those of you working without a projects list, I'm curious how you handle this type of issue.

        Comment


        • #5
          Complete Proj List

          I have been fiddling around with the PigPog method. I use a PDA and can get a list of everything by going to the all function on tasks. I think, but this is based on limited use, that I end up with the same list - except with the n/a list concurrently - as when I has a project list. I can also sort it so I can get that info fairly well.

          I will post up any other discoveries as I go.

          I am still interested in anyone else's take on this.

          Dean

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          • #6
            Missing the Project list

            Depending on the software used, a filter could do the job - in Outlook, for example, you could do a find for "{", and if you don't use squiggly brackets for anything other than projects, it'll give you a list of projects. The Palm's find function can do something similar, but not as well.

            As Dean says, you can always see a list of all your commitments (or open loops) - it depends if you see projects as being different to non-projects. Projects are just commitments that need more than one action to complete - they're usually bigger and more demanding than a single task, but aren't always.

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            • #7
              I've been using something like this method forever. Switch the order of the title from how PigPog has it -- and then you can have more than one todo for each project.

              Conquer Albania: Place ebay ad.
              Conquer Albania: R&D leadership class.

              Todo's won't sort alphabetically in my palm - but memos will. Also, using memos, you don't have to click over to the note field to keep the history.

              Works great. Haven't kept a project list in ages, don't need to. I hadn't seen PigPog's post -- haven't been over to the palm group in awhile -- I think it lends credence to his method being logical and workable if people are coming up with it independently.

              Taxgeek

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              • #8
                Like Taxgeek, I preface each next action with a short project name. However, I still maintain a separate list of projects in the memo application. Generally, I just use my projects list during the weekly review and to keep any notes about the project in the memo. I seriously considered using the pigpog method for the utility of having the project and next action in one place, but I decided not to use it because I often have more than one next action for a project on my context lists. I read Michael's blog and think he hit the nail on the head in terms of the pros and cons.

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                • #9
                  Multiple NA Idea

                  I just changed over to using the pigpog method. I feel much more in control now, but some of that feeling might be because of reviewing all my projects/na's in setting up pigpog.

                  One thing that I'm doing to help with the multiple possible Next Action problem is using a number in the description. Here's an example: (I use a # sign rather than using the {} brackets)

                  #My Project

                  - this is where it starts, in the note I will have any info, upcoming NA's etc as the pigpog method describs, so when I've got an actionable NA it becomes:

                  Do this #My Project

                  - Now I realize there are two things that I could do, so I will change the first item to:

                  (1) Do this #My Project

                  - then I can duplicate this item and change it to:

                  (2) Do this too #My Project.

                  - if I have info I will quickly need when doing (2) I may add them to the note for that item, but I try to keep everything current in the notes for (1), treating it as the 'master' item.

                  I haven't been using this method very long, but it seems simple to maintain. I don't have too many projects with many possible NA's, but this seems to help with the ones that do.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Plaid,

                    I like that solution! It seems so simple. I already use the + symbol to preface a project so the project names stand out. I wonder if it will be a difficult adjustment because I'm accustomed to viewing my projects list alphabetically (I use the task application for my next action lists so that I can use priorities and due dates on occasion and easily spot completed tasks). I think I will give it a try. Thanks for the idea.

                    Jean

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                    • #11
                      How do you hadle tasks for which the next action is a meeting that has been scheduled?
                      For example for {Project X}, the next step is a meeting. There is nothing for me to do until I have the meeting and that has already been set up.
                      Do you leave it as {Project X} with no prefix somewhere on your NA list until after the meeting?
                      CK

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                      • #12
                        PigPog and CanDo

                        I have set up the next actions and projects like this:

                        Call Genl Jones about Albania 000-333-9999 8/9/04 • Conquer Albania 8/4/04

                        Using the sort function on CanDo (to-do or task add-on that has been discussed elsewhere on the posting board) I can get a list of all the projects by filtering for "• ." I get a complete list of all my projects with the applicable next action and I can view the list

                        For next actions that are one offs (ie, there is just one next action) I set those up like this:

                        W4 Genl Smith call re xxxx • OO

                        Again using the sort function I can find all those one off, single tasks that I have by sorting for "• OO."

                        One advantage that was one of those "better lucky than good" kind of things is that this • on my desktop makes a nice line of demarcation on the next action vs the project. Ie, good visual.

                        Again as I mentioned I just started looking into this method. But as one of the postings here mentions I feel a bit "cleaner" in the info that I have. And that may be a result of the having gone over my lists in getting it set up.

                        You could use any sort "key" on this to get the info. CanDo has a filtering or sort key feature that works well for me in this scenario. I have multiple next actions for one project that are happening simultaneously and that seems to work by just copying the "• project description" information and attaching it to the next actions. I can then search via CanDo for all that is going on on that project currently.

                        I like it and hope that it causes me to use my lists more effectively than I have in the past. So far I like the PigPog method and it simplifies some things for me, but does not lessen the amount of available information on all my projects and next actions. All the same info is there and readily available.

                        CanDo will sort alphabetically on the palm lists ... it doesn't always convert in the same fashion from the handheld to the desktop, which is a disadvantage. The filter or sort by keyword is the feature I use the most. I can search by name when I have a discussion with someone to see what I have going on that I might need to discuss with them. Seems to work well as an agenda kind of tool.

                        For meetings scheduled in my calendar I use the same project description as for the tasks: Meeting with Genl Jones re Albania 8/9/04 • Conquer Albania 8/4/04. Once that meeting was held and I had to roll forward the next action I would use the project description to carry it forward either on my calendar or task lists.

                        It is a work in progress but so far I like the simplicity and clarity this seems to give me. I hope it is a long term thing.

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                        • #13
                          I have been using the filtering on Can Do, too. It is great for developing a list of all information related to a project. I find the alphabetical sorting is not that helpful because it sorts alphabetically within priority/due date/etc. instead of straight alphabetical order by description. It would be nice if it had a desktop version. I may eventually switch from Plain Vanilla to one of the programs with better filtering capablilities.

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                          • #14
                            alpha sort

                            Originally posted by jmarkey
                            ... I find the alphabetical sorting is not that helpful because it sorts alphabetically within priority/due date/etc. instead of straight alphabetical order by description.
                            If alpha sort is really important to you, you could download Ks Todo (freeware). It will alpha sort your whole todo list. If you then go into your normal todo program (todo, datebk5 etc.) it will stay sorted that way. So all you have to do is just open Ks Todo every now and then to sort any new todo's. You may also have to resort after hotsync, I don't remember.

                            http://www.freewarepalm.com/database/kstodo.shtml

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                            • #15
                              I have been facing 3 major projects with due dates in the next week. I was doing parts of each project daily and referring to the notes constantly, but it was a bit of a struggle. I decided to make it easy and set up each project using pigpog, but then I enhanced it in datebk5. In Datebk5 I can set a due date for each task and also set an advance so it shows up x number of days before it is due. So my projects all show up as "the next action (projectname)" with a countdown in front of them. This has been a huge help in that ALL my project information is available from my calendar on today's date (which is what shows up when I press the datebk button anyway). I don't do this with all projects, but the 3 that I am working on are getting done earlier than I expected.

                              As a side note, I use Bonsai and I originally had 2 of these projects laid out in outline form with potential dates to do each next action. Then reality set in and my plans were way off after about step #2 when I had to order new parts and my volunteer failed to show up for a work day. Using the pigpog method with datebk5 advances has kept me up-to-date with fast moving projects and I can't wait to get my review and convert a few other projects with due dates to this method.

                              Gretchen

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