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  • Project List / Project Plans mental block

    I'm getting up to speed after a few weeks. Right now I have a conceptual problem with the Project List(s) and the project tasks. Specifically, in a paper based system, where to store the Lists and the list of tasks for each project.

    I have created a Projects - Personal and Projects - Business, each with the corresponding list of outcomes I want to achieve. These are stored in a tab in my folder called...Projects. For many of the items on these lists, I have a Project Plan sheet with each of the Next Actions I've brainstormed for that Project.

    It seems minor, but I am at a loss as to how to store/organize all of these Project sheets. Do I store them with the Project List? Or do I store them all together in a tab called Project Materials? Or do they go into an alphabetical tab corresponding to a key word of the Project (i.e. under G for Clean the Garage)?

    My resistance is coming from not wanting to invest a bunch of time that will have to be redone (again) during a review (like a Weekly Review). I started off with the alphabetical approach and found myself flipping back and forth through so many tabs and papers that it was truly counter-productive.

    Thanks in advance,
    Rick

  • #2
    Whatever works for you. You're the one who has to live with the system.

    I store all project materials as close to the project list as possible. My system is mostly electronic, though, so I'm not sure what the paper analogs would be. Something as small as a phone number might go on the project list itself, while a sheet full of action items might go immediately after the project list.

    If you have a lot of materials, it might make sense to sort them in chronological or priority order rather than alphabetically. There's no reason why doing your taxes this week (yeah, I wish) needs to get tangled up with planning for your Christmas vacation trip.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Re: Project List / Project Plans mental block

      Originally posted by rdcottle
      It seems minor, but I am at a loss as to how to store/organize all of these Project sheets. Do I store them with the Project List? Or do I store them all together in a tab called Project Materials? Or do they go into an alphabetical tab corresponding to a key word of the Project (i.e. under G for Clean the Garage)?
      Speaking only for myself, I have found that I have mostly two kinds of projects: the kind that are so clear that it is a waste of time and energy to record anything but the project and the next action, and ones that are so unclear that I have to use more than one tool to hold everything. For example, one of our refrigerators is making ominous sounds, and it is at least 15 years old. Next action: look up possible causes. Done. Next action: research new refrigerators. Done. Discuss with wife. Not yet done. Very busy these days. I could plan more, but why? The refrigerator may fail before we discuss what to do next, in which case the decisions to make will be different, maybe simpler. On the other hand, I have projects for which the documents are many inches thick. So the project and next action go in my palm, but the rest does not. Overplanning is a bit of a trap for me, especially with easier projects.

      In other words, the hard part is finding the time and energy to clean the garage, and I don't want to distract myself with planning how to clear the garage. On the other hand, if I needed a clear vision of what my clean garage should look like, I would want to record that to inspire me. I actually have a project on my someday/maybe list to clean up part of the garage but no details. On a slightly higher level, I am actually pretty indifferent to my garage right now. My wife and I are redecorating part of our 1st floor, and that is much more important to me at this time. And here the vision is crucial, and the plan changes with the outcome of each next action. For example, we like a particular rug pattern, but can't get it in the size we need. What's next? Look on the web for similar patterns. The vision sustains us through the details.

      Hope this helps,
      Mike

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