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Recurring Projects

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  • Recurring Projects

    I seem to be handling all the odd tasks and projects quite well with this system, but I'm having trouble with the mundane. I am a financial advisor, so I often start projects (clients) which have a certain list of tasks that need to be completed in order. Examples are at the end of this post.

    How do you implement repetitive projects in the GTD system? One NA at a time or do you add a batch of NAs? Is there a more efficient way to do this? Some are @waiting, some are @computer, some are @phone.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    -Blake

    Examples:

    When I set an appointment with a prospective client, I need to:
    A. Schedule the time in my calendar
    B. Email confirmation and map
    C. Send paper copy of confirmation and map
    D. Confirm 1 week before the meeting (if applicable)
    E. Confirm 1 day before meeting

    When a prospect becomes a client, I must:
    A. Schedule a second meeting
    B. Verify and turn in the contract and check
    C. Create a client profile
    D. Meet with clients to gather detailed info
    E. Enter detailed info into computer
    F. Analyze info
    G. Prepare suggestions
    H. Get the appropriate forms for the second meeting
    etc etc etc

  • #2
    In my system, I

    * keep a checklist with all of the "standard" project steps.
    * on initiation of the project, create NAs for the entire checklist, complete with a category for the context and another category for the project name.
    * add any custom information or non-standard project steps.
    * assign dates as appropriate to hide steps I can't do yet. (My working list ignores NAs dated after the current week.)
    * get to work.

    Hope this helps,

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Here's what I do: Each client is a project. I have a page for each client where I take notes, write ideas, and make sure I always have the next step(s) specified. If it is a call or appointment (follow-through), it goes on my calendar. Things that I need to do in my office go into an inbox or on my next actions list. I have my routines written out so I don't have to think about the next step (which you seem to have done). I also separate my client-based tasks from my general office management tasks - the client-based tasks are generally time-specific or have a due date where office management tasks (recording mileage in my financial software) can be done at any time without interfering with client interaction.

      I used to hate having more than one major appointment on my calendar at a time because I quickly got overwhelmed. However, with GTD as I've described above, I can easily handle multiple major appointments as though they were individual simple appointments. It took me forever to figure out how to do it, though, because GTD is written for people who have an Inbox and almost all of my work is self-generated.

      I no longer work from a goal standpoint of having x appointments but rather from a standpoint of having x number of people I'm currently working with. That not only increases the quality of my work because I'm more focused on the client, it makes my clients feel more important as well (e.g. call someone until you contact them vs making calls until you get a set number of appts which means you only call people when you need to fill your calendar).

      I do my general office tasks once a week (generally at the beginning of the week since business picks up as the week unfolds). My client-specific tasks are done daily. But I do all of the office work of similar nature at once so I'm not opening and closing programs and such all the time.

      I do a daily review first thing in the morning to make sure I am prepared for the day's appointments and calls and then from there I just complete my next actions, calls, appointments, etc. without having to think too much. That daily review is critical and makes such a difference in my stress level for the rest of the day - think high stress vs. stress free.

      I use my tickler file for routine follow-ups (my products have about a three-month reorder cycle). The people I am currently working with are generally those with whom I have appointments in the next 7 to 14 days, depending on the nature of the appointment. Each business varies, however, so you would set your own time frame on that.

      That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Like I said, GTD isn't really written for people with clients, at least it seemed that way to me. So it took me a while to come up with this framework, but now that I have, it works like a charm.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by blake
        I seem to be handling all the odd tasks and projects quite well with this system, but I'm having trouble with the mundane. I am a financial advisor, so I often start projects (clients) which have a certain list of tasks that need to be completed in order. Examples are at the end of this post.

        How do you implement repetitive projects in the GTD system? One NA at a time or do you add a batch of NAs? Is there a more efficient way to do this? Some are @waiting, some are @computer, some are @phone.
        Hi Blake,

        I too have many recurring projects and projects with tasks to be completed in order. I use Life Balance software which does a lot of this automatically. I set up a project template with the subtasks to be completed in order and each subtask assigned to its appropriate context. When I need to set up a specific project, I copy the project and change "client" to "client X." The first task will automatically show up in the right context ToDo list. After I check off that first task, the second task will appear, etc. Instead of checking off a task, then having to remember to check a different list somewhere else to find the next task, enter it into the system, etc., I just check off a task and look at my now-dynamically-updated ToDo list where the next task appears automatically.

        Obviously it takes a little initial setup of the project template, but you only have to do it once. I'm a big believer in automating repetitive, mundane tasks as much as possible. The payoff is great.

        Comment


        • #5
          Blake,

          I like what you have set up and do practically the same thing. On my Palm, I have created a category in Memopad called "Repeating Goals." In that category, I have a set of checklists much like the examples you have. For example, I have a checklist for the steps involved in hiring a teacher. The memo in my "Repeating Goals" category has the title "+???Position has been filled and new hire inducted" (in other words, when that statement is true, I can check it off as "done")

          When I have a vacancy, I drag that memo (in Outlook) over to the Task icon, so that the checklist becomes a task. I replace "???" with something like "6th grade teacher". I cut and paste the first item from the checklist infront of the "+". In my case, that task wold then read, "Talk to superintendent regarding resignation and filling position+6th grade teacher position has been filled and new hire inducted" I assign a category and due date. I like to batch the action as muc as possible. For example, if I have only one new hire, I will hammer out assigning a copier code, setting up an e-mail account, assigning an alarm code, and a few other odds and ends at one sitting. When I come to a point where I have to stop and move on to some other activity, I cut and paste the very next task on the checklist onto the beginning of the subject line, and change the category and due date if necessary. If I have several new hires, I am going to sitting down and take care of copier codes, e-mail addresses, etc. for all of them in one sitting if at all possible.

          Hope this helps.
          Frank

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