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  • Long-term Project tracking?

    Ok... I'm probably not going to see any answers within the next week or so, because I'll be on vacation... which is part of the reason for the question...

    The 'due date on the calendar on the day due, NAs on lists to do as available' idea for how to categorize things leaves me without any obvious way to try to plan ahead for longer term goals.

    For example, the deadline to register for the Spring 2006 semester is Jan 10th. Ok, that's a project in itself, so on the calendar it goes, on 10 Jan 2006.

    How the *@&$^ do I see that in my Oct, Nov, Dec weekly reviews so that I can generate reasonable NAs early enough to be useful? I'd love to try and avoid the 'analyze, decide and register THIS WEEK, you fool!' effect.

    Help?

    (Right now, I'm primarily using a Palm with DateBk5, if that helps with tailored suggestions. :-/ )

    Howard

  • #2
    Well, if you know you want to go, when does registration open up? As in, when can you register for the event? I would put the item in my tickler for that point and then you can make a decision and deal with the details. I'm sure they aren't accepting registrations just on one day.

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    • #3
      If it were me, I would throw the registration form into my tickler file for sometime in November. Alternatively, I might put "decide what courses to take" on my NA list, but with an action date sometime in November. My system filters by due date, so I wouldn't actually see this NA until about seven days before the date.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        Hard or soft projects have "milestones" that can be scheduled before a due date. You could schedule a specific milestone before the duedate to do a specific aciton. Get published schedule on _date_, get with advisor to discuss classes _date_, find out who is teaching bio 101 _date_, make sure chemistry sequence gets me into physics by fall 2006 _date_, etc.

        Or...just like the "waiting on" file where you put "ordered 2 books from amazon" and "waiting on bear ordered on ebay", you could have a "thinkabout" or "reminder" or "upcomming" folder that you put coupons, ads, tickets, and reminders into.

        If you do the 43 folders thing, you could put that stuff in the next month's folder to review and then put in the next next months folder next month.

        tim99.

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        • #5
          Dealing with Deadlines

          I too use Datebook 5. I add (D/) to the end of the title of every deadline (I have a template set up for that), and I have a saved view that allows me to look at all "Datebook entries" with (D/) in them through whatever date I select. I call the saved view "On Deadline to MM/DD" (filled in with the actual numbers), so I know at a glance what date I have in there. It gives me a quick view of all upcoming deadlines through whatever date I choose.

          Good luck!

          Janice

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          • #6
            I think the general answer is clear: tickle yourself as you would be tickled.

            If you are doing a weekly review faithfully and you put ticklers on your calendar, you WILL see a reminder in the two weeks around the tickler appearing on your calendar, in the review before the tickler shows up and the review after.

            If you use a tickler file, you have to transfer the reminder from your tickler to your calendar, project, and/or next action list when it comes up.

            Some people use electronic organizers in which items can be hidden until you want them to appear. This is very convenient, but you have to notice them when they appear, certainly in the weekly review.

            In any case, you have to decide how far in advance you want to be reminded. Basically, you gotta make it work.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie
              Some people use electronic organizers in which items can be hidden until you want them to appear. This is very convenient, but you have to notice them when they appear, certainly in the weekly review.

              In any case, you have to decide how far in advance you want to be reminded. Basically, you gotta make it work.
              That's what I do. I electronically tickle the project in the same application that contains my next action lists and projects. I look at my NA lists every day, so I can't miss it. I enter both a due date and a lead time for the project. Next Actions for the project inherit the project's due date and lead time, unless they are overridden with their own. The action shows up on my NA list at (due date - lead time). So it handles this time-sensitive but not day-specific type of thing really well, as well as things that take awhile to complete before a due date. The fewer places I have to check to keep track of my commitments, the better I do with them.

              I used to forget this type of thing till near (or after) the deadline all the time. So I'm thrilled to have an easy way to remember this kind of stuff.

              Originally posted by zen_tiggr
              Right now, I'm primarily using a Palm with DateBk5, if that helps with tailored suggestions. :-/
              With DateBk5, couldn't you schedule an untimed event for a day around the time you need to start working on actions for the project. Figure this out and schedule it as soon as you know the deadline -- which is not the same as an appointment. Link the untimed event to a ToDo. Then the appropriate next action will be on your list in ToDo with all your other as-soon-as-possibles, getting you started on the actions for the project at a suitable time.

              Or you could schedule a floating event for the day you want to start working on the project. Or a floating event linked to a ToDo. Or a floating event hidden in DateBk5 and linked to a ToDo. . .

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              • #8
                Lots of good advice and reminders

                Thanks, everyone, for the wealth of how-to's I've just scanned through... as I was on vacation, I was thinking a little bit here and there, and I think I've come up with a pretty reasonable method that satisfies my requirements of the moment.

                Like I said, I'm using DateBk5, so the details are pretty unique to that segment of the GTD universe. With that said:

                I've settled on an almost-everything-in-ToDo-entries, on one uncategorized list. I've done that because so much of my life revolves around being either at home, at work, or 'out and about town'; in each place, there's only a small slice of my master list that's undoable, so it's actually costing me more effort to maintain any sort of context lists. (They all wind up being 'everything but the few things I _can't_ do here' lists instead.)

                This one list is all ToDo items, and I've set DateBk5 to sow them integrated at the bottom of today's calendar. Since the integrated list has a nicely defined sort order, I set some simple 'see this first' prefixing rules:

                Date stamp first = deadline - will sort before non-datestamped items that start with a letter
                One space first = important enough to override nearing deadlines, so these show before the datestamped entries
                One space followed by a four digit military-style time = 'important enough' things that I have deferred to that time later today

                All of this is subordinate to the ToDo due date, which I use as a 'defer and hide until xxx'; when I've worked enough on a deadlined item, and it's not done yet, I just set the due date forward to the next day I will work on it - an inherent tickler file too.

                I feel like I have (not perfectly, but close to) the best tuned system for my way of thinking, now.

                Thanks everyone for the thoughts, procedures, details, that helped me get here.

                Howard

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