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Keeping track of long project lists and assigned next action

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  • Keeping track of long project lists and assigned next action

    Hi all

    I'm using a palm pilot to track my projects list and the next action lists.

    When your lists get really long, does anyone have smart ways of keeping track of what next action has been assigned to a project?

    At the moment, I'm doing this:
    I number the projects with a code: P1, P2, P3 and so on.
    Then, when I assign an action, eg, "Call Fred" in the "Phonecalls" list, I give it the relevant project number, eg "P4 Call Fred."

    That way, when it's weekly review time, I can do a Ctrl-F and type in "P1" to see both the project and the next action if it's not been done. I can decide if I'm happy with that next action or if I need to change/add it.

    That works ok as a system - but does anyone have any better approaches that they use when apply GTD in this way?

    cheers, Andrew

  • #2
    Andrew, check out the earlier post on the PigPog method, and also search for the post "GTD for Lawyers" which contains instructions on using the Memo app. in this way. You might find these helpful.

    FWIW,
    Gordon

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    • #3
      Re: Keeping track of long project lists and assigned next ac

      Originally posted by andrewgmiles
      I number the projects with a code: P1, P2, P3 and so on.
      Then, when I assign an action, eg, "Call Fred" in the "Phonecalls" list, I give it the relevant project number, eg "P4 Call Fred."

      That way, when it's weekly review time, I can do a Ctrl-F and type in "P1" to see both the project and the next action if it's not been done. I can decide if I'm happy with that next action or if I need to change/add it.
      I use a similar system, only I assign every project a three-letter code. I choose letters that are vaguely mnemonic ("gnw" for the "get a new watch" project) and that are unlikely to show up as words or parts of words (to prevent spurious matches when I search).

      Both the projects and the actions that are associated with projects have their code up front, like so:

      gnw - Get a new watch
      gnw - shop at Hechts for a new watch

      Singleton actions (those without an associated project) get no code.

      At weekly review time, matching projects with actions is simple and fast. Since I store both actions and projects as to-do items, all I need to do is display all of my to-do items in a list on my computer, then sort the list alphabetically by clicking on the "Title" column header. I then run my eyes down the "Category" column of the list. Whenever I see "Projects" as the category for a to-do item, I shift my eyes left to look at the title of the project. Since I sorted the to-do list alphabetically by title, the associated action for that project is directly above or directly below the project item. No searching required.

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      • #4
        Another step that is useful is to keep your next action lists manageable. If it is an "as soon as possible" task that I don't expect to get to in the next week or so, I can park it on an @tickler list instead of on my context lists. It's not a Someday/Maybe list because I have commited to these tasks to be done as soon as possible. I move things over to my context lists as I complete next actions or during my weekly review. If you use this option, you absolutely have to review this list regularly. Another alternative is to use the due date function on tasks as a tickler (your real due dates for stuff should be on the hard landscape of your calender). You can assign a date to it and know you won't need to look at it before that date. These options help shorten the next action lists that I look at on a daily basis.

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