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  • Help with Projects?

    Question One:
    I've decided to have two categories for projects:
    1) General Projects
    2) My design firm

    Does this complicate the system? I believe David recommends keeping ALL projects under one list, but the scope of running my design firm has SO many subprojects, etc., that it overwhelms the project list.

    Question Two:
    Are these projects, and if not why not?

    1) Apply for jobs
    2) Composing Music with Paul
    3) Working on book with Gabe
    4) Redesign Personal Website
    5) EMDR training

    And do most of you really...I mean REALLY, put everything on your projects list that require more than one next action i.e. Change battery in remote control, Buy Mom gift, etc.

  • #2
    Help with Projects

    I dont see why not. I personally keep all my personal and work projects together but using Bonsai, I filter the lists using keywords. So I can look at work projects and personal projects seperately.

    Re: your list of projects. I try to state an outcome in the project title:

    1) Apply for jobs = Get a new job
    2) Composing Music with Paul = Compose a new pieice of of music
    3) Working on book with Gabe = Complete book
    4) Redesign Personal Website = Redesign Personal Website is fine
    5) EMDR training = Get trained in EMDR

    For me buy mom a gift is a project, Otherwise it must go on the NA list and that gets confusing.

    I am finding myself more and more working from the project list rather than the NA list. Does anyone else do this?

    Originally posted by avrum68
    Question One:
    I've decided to have two categories for projects:
    1) General Projects
    2) My design firm

    Does this complicate the system? I believe David recommends keeping ALL projects under one list, but the scope of running my design firm has SO many subprojects, etc., that it overwhelms the project list.

    Question Two:
    Are these projects, and if not why not?

    1) Apply for jobs
    2) Composing Music with Paul
    3) Working on book with Gabe
    4) Redesign Personal Website
    5) EMDR training

    And do most of you really...I mean REALLY, put everything on your projects list that require more than one next action i.e. Change battery in remote control, Buy Mom gift, etc.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by avrum68
      Question One:
      I've decided to have two categories for projects:
      1) General Projects
      2) My design firm

      Does this complicate the system? I believe David recommends keeping ALL projects under one list, but the scope of running my design firm has SO many subprojects, etc., that it overwhelms the project list.
      I keep my projects in two lists as well: Office and Home.

      But the question, "Does this complicate the system?" can only be answered by you. You have clearly ascertained that the method of keeping one list does not work well for you. Now you will have to try the two-category method - all you will lose is a little time in setting up the lists.

      Question Two:
      Are these projects, and if not why not?

      1) Apply for jobs
      2) Composing Music with Paul
      3) Working on book with Gabe
      4) Redesign Personal Website
      5) EMDR training

      And do most of you really...I mean REALLY, put everything on your projects list that require more than one next action i.e. Change battery in remote control, Buy Mom gift, etc.
      Those look like projects to me. I know that some will say that you should state your projects in the form of a successful outcome, but as long as your project title is enough to keep you focused on that outcome...don't fix it

      And no, I don't put everything on my projects list that requires more than one NA. It really depends on whether the project in question requires multiple steps spread out over an extended period of time in order to maintain progress. Using your batteries example, I would simply put "batteries" on my shopping list. When I came home from shopping, the act of removing batteries from the bag would spur me to place the batteries where they are needed.

      Hope this helps,

      Matthew

      Comment


      • #4
        I categorize my projects as well, so there is nothing wrong with that. I have knitting projects, home improvement projects, personal projects, work projects, and so forth (not listed in order of importance or anything like that ).

        As for your question B, yes, they are projects, but you may have subprojects. For 1), each job you apply for is a separate project - each one will have its own next action and they will be SO MUCH EASIER to keep track of that way. 2) Composing music - each song is a project. 3) Working on book with Gabe could be a single project, depending on the nature of the book. 4) Redesign Personal Website is also a project. 5) EMDR training - if you're taking the training, it's probably a single project; if you're providing the training, it will probably have subprojects.

        Finally, as to which projects go on lists, if a project is fairly simple and the steps must be completed in order, I don't have a project for them - I simply write down the next step after I complete the current step. It's when projects have multiple steps simultaneously or when I'm not in control of the project (waiting for other people, such as applying for a job) that I have a project page which helps me track what is happening and feel more in control. You will eventually find your own level of granularity for which projects are projects and which ones are next actions generating next actions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by avrum68
          Question One:
          I've decided to have two categories for projects:
          1) General Projects
          2) My design firm

          Does this complicate the system? I believe David recommends keeping ALL projects under one list, but the scope of running my design firm has SO many subprojects, etc., that it overwhelms the project list.
          Then you need two lists.

          No, there is no one standing on GTD Olympus with lightning bolts to hurl at you. Do what works.

          Originally posted by avrum68
          Question Two:
          Are these projects, and if not why not?

          1) Apply for jobs
          2) Composing Music with Paul
          3) Working on book with Gabe
          4) Redesign Personal Website
          5) EMDR training

          And do most of you really...I mean REALLY, put everything on your projects list that require more than one next action i.e. Change battery in remote control, Buy Mom gift, etc.
          Yes, they are projects, but they aren't well-defined projects. What is the desired outcome of each? How will you know when you're done?

          I usually don't bother creating projects for simple mini-projects like your examples. However, those mini-projects are often the ones that get "stuck" because the item on my NA list isn't a true immediately doable task. Having a clear NA is still important. So, for example, "Look through Container Store catalog for shelving ideas" is much more effective than "Replace closet shelving," whether I have an "official" shelving project or not.

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            Wow, the support on this BB is outstanding. Thanks for the suggestions and reinforcement that I'm closer than I think.

            Comment


            • #7
              Remember, a project is just a name for a desired outcome. It can be very big or very small.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by avrum68
                Question Two:
                Are these projects, and if not why not?

                1) Apply for jobs
                2) Composing Music with Paul
                3) Working on book with Gabe
                4) Redesign Personal Website
                5) EMDR training
                Those are definitely projects, but how will you know when you're done? Like the book says, it really does help to visualize wild success, and state your outcome in terms of that. I don't know what your goals are, but they might be something like this:

                1) My design firm has delivered xx jobs.
                2) Paul and I have written an awesome song together.
                3) Gabe and I have finished our book.
                4) My Personal Website is wicked cool.
                5) I am certified in EMDR.

                Note: Here is one of the few places where you *don't* use an action verb, but a relatively static statement of being. You're defining a finish line, and you don't want to let it move before you cross it. Then you celebrate and move on to the next job/song/book/whatever.
                Last edited by Desultory; 09-22-2005, 06:47 PM. Reason: I remembered where "visualize Wild Success" came from!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another country heard from...

                  I don't have a lot new to add to this thread, except to say that I do, personally, capture every project on my list (and I believe you can have more than one project list if it works for you). For me, I like the "black & whiteness" of capturing everything that is going to take more than one step on a projects list. I haven't tested what it feels like to NOT do that, but I am just working under the belief that, for me, I'm not doing any "re-thinking" about the desired outcome of any of my next actions. Just being a "purist," I guess.

                  The second thing I just started doing is using Palm memos instead of "to-dos" to capture my project lists. I have a "Projects" category, and each memo is a separate project, and can have notes underneath the project "title" if necessary. When I finish a project, I change its category to "Completed Projects." Then I've got a list of my accomplishments for any quarterly or yearly review I might want to do!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will take a stab at this one. I would reword each of the 5 items in the original post as follows:
                    +Job has been secured
                    +Musical composition with Paul has been composed
                    +Book with Gabe has been accepted for publication
                    +Website has been completed
                    +EMDR traininghas been completed
                    I like to phrase outcomes as a statement with a noun up front and phrased in such a way that the statement is true or false. (If it's true, the whole thing can be checked off. If false, there is more work to do. Furthermore, the noun up front needs to be a key word I would think of if I were to think of the project. Ideally, it would also serve as a title for any needed support material.

                    The next step is to define the next action associated with that outcome:
                    Look through want ads+Job has been secured
                    Write lyrics for verse 2+Musical composition with Paul has been composed
                    Gabe-Which publishers do we still need to contact?+Book with Gabe has been accepted for publication
                    Paul-Who designed your website?+Website has been completed
                    EMDR office 589-1678-Enroll in training class beginning Oct. 1+EMDR training has been completed
                    Any other actions or info a gather are housed in a note attached to the task. As a task is completed, I erase the action and replace it with another. If I can't or don't want to think through what the next action would be, the "+" sitting at the beginning of the line serves as a reminder to define one the next time I look at the list.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Frank Buck
                      I will take a stab at this one. I would reword each of the 5 items in the original post as follows:
                      +Job has been secured
                      +Musical composition with Paul has been composed
                      +Book with Gabe has been accepted for publication
                      +Website has been completed
                      +EMDR traininghas been completed
                      I like to phrase outcomes as a statement with a noun up front and phrased in such a way that the statement is true or false. (If it's true, the whole thing can be checked off. If false, there is more work to do. Furthermore, the noun up front needs to be a key word I would think of if I were to think of the project. Ideally, it would also serve as a title for any needed support material.

                      The next step is to define the next action associated with that outcome:
                      Look through want ads+Job has been secured
                      Write lyrics for verse 2+Musical composition with Paul has been composed
                      Gabe-Which publishers do we still need to contact?+Book with Gabe has been accepted for publication
                      Paul-Who designed your website?+Website has been completed
                      EMDR office 589-1678-Enroll in training class beginning Oct. 1+EMDR training has been completed
                      Any other actions or info a gather are housed in a note attached to the task. As a task is completed, I erase the action and replace it with another. If I can't or don't want to think through what the next action would be, the "+" sitting at the beginning of the line serves as a reminder to define one the next time I look at the list.
                      Love the idea, but I'd drop it after a few days due to the extra work involved.

                      Thanks for all the suggestions folks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by avrum68
                        Does this complicate the system? I believe David recommends keeping ALL projects under one list, but the scope of running my design firm has SO many subprojects, etc., that it overwhelms the project list.
                        In the GTD book, DA does talk about creating one list of multi-step outcomes. But then he also describes his own subdivided projects list; and one of his own projects lists is also sorted. And he discusses ways to subdivide projects for several pages, actually. So no, he doesn't really recommend just one projects list.

                        Structure doesn't inherently complicate things. Good structure simplifies. A good outline, for example, is simpler for your mind than a flat list of the same items.

                        Comment

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