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  • Project lists

    Hi

    I just started with GTD, but I am not really very organised yet. I have a long list of projects ,but I am not sure how to organise them. DO I need to determine all actions for each project now. ANd where do you keep the projects.? Do they go in a different folder for each project. Do you also put a label into it?. I mean some of the projects are really very small, like phoning a company to find out a product and then go and purchase it. Do I create a folder with a label for this project? This can become very expensive since the project actually may be finished in a day.

    For example I call a company today to inquiry about a product, then I need to make a note to actually go and buy it. Does this go to a separate folder, and after I phone the company I update my next action list and then teh folder. After I finish buying whatever I want , do I just toss the folder?

    Another question I have my next actions and projects lists on small cards, but the lists being too long it is quite not organised as I would like it to be.
    AM I putting too much into my lists , Should they go more in SOmeday/Maybe lists?
    I am a bit lost with my organisation .

    Thank you
    Andrea

  • #2
    Originally posted by andrea_vk
    Hi
    DO I need to determine all actions for each project now. ANd where do you keep the projects.? Do they go in a different folder for each project. Do you also put a label into it?. I mean some of the projects are really very small, like phoning a company to find out a product and then go and purchase it. Do I create a folder with a label for this project? This can become very expensive since the project actually may be finished in a day.
    Many projects consist of simple, sequential steps, and there is not much need for project planning. Some projects require a bit more structure, say half a page of text. For most people, there will be a few projects that need a lot of structure and detail. In each case, however, the entries on your next action lists function as bookmarks, telling you where you are on each project.

    Most people do not make folders for every project, or even keep their next action lists in folders. While this implementation can work, most people keep lists on paper, computers, or Palm-type handheld gadgets. How you handle those projects that require extra documentation/data/reference material depends a lot on the nature of your projects and how you think you work best. GTD is by no means one-size-fits-all.

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    • #3
      Project lists vs. project support

      Originally posted by andrea_vk
      I mean some of the projects are really very small, like phoning a company to find out a product and then go and purchase it.
      Different projects require different amount of "support materials" -- some projects don't need any kind of planning or reference stuff, while others need real thinking and elaboration so you don't have to reinvent the project every week.

      When David Allen talks about a Project List, you can use just a simple list. As long as you know where to find any support materials you may need for the project, the list may be all you need.

      In my case, I keep two kinds of project lists, together in one place in my paper planner. One list is for the smaller projects -- it's basically just a project name with some description of a desired outcome. The other list is for larger projects -- at least one page per project, for planning and notes. When I need to review my project list (at the weekly review, for example), I can flip through this part of my planner and find them all.

      Another question I have my next actions and projects lists on small cards, but the lists being too long it is quite not organised as I would like it to be.
      AM I putting too much into my lists , Should they go more in SOmeday/Maybe lists?
      If you're not expecting to move on the projects soon, you can move them to Someday/Maybe. Everyone's definition of "soon" is different -- some people are more serious about their project list being only things they intend to work on this week, while others are less defined about it.

      After a little time working with the system, you may move many things to Someday/Maybe. Just make sure you review Someday/Maybe at your weekly review, to see if any of those projects should be transferred to your "live" list.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by andrea_vk
        DO I need to determine all actions for each project now.
        Yes. Everything out of your head and into your system.

        And where do you keep the projects.? Do they go in a different folder for each project. Do you also put a label into it?.
        Let's say you use a simple paper system with manilla folders. The folder on top can contain as many sheets of paper as you need to list your projects by at least project name and maybe by desired outcome also, labeled PROJECT LIST. Then another folder for one page projects, labeled ONE PAGE PROJECTS. These sheets of paper will have the project name at the top and your notes as needed for only one page. Then you need a folder for each project that needs more than one page or needs support material like receipts, photocopies, faxes, UPS tracking information, bills, birthday cards, etc.

        I buy all right cut manalla folders and avery file folder labels, and label my folders with the avery labels from the begining. Then as folders are reused, I put new file folder labels over the old ones. So you need a folder for your avery file folder labels.

        Then you need at least one folder labeled PERSONAL.

        And then based on what you do you need folders labeled for your contexts, like WORK, ERRANDS, FINANCES, SONGS TO LEARN, PEOPLE TO CALL ABOUT SOCCER, etc. These folders are for action items and supporting materials for those contexts, where maybe there is only one line per action item for action items that are not really projects. In ERRANDS, you could have your grocery list, and a list of stuff to by at the mall, and a list of stuff to buy when you are on the other side of town.


        I mean some of the projects are really very small, like phoning a company to find out a product and then go and purchase it. Do I create a folder with a label for this project?
        If it is that simple, it could go as one line item in a CALLS folder on a sheet of phone calls to make, or an entire sheet in the one sheet projects folder, but in my opinion, the second you print out a page from the internet about that item, you have that printout and a page for that action, so it becomes a project with supporting material. Get a folder, put a label on it, put it in your stack. When that project is over you put the file in the recycle stack, and maybe put a new label on it then. At the bottom of your stack of files you can have a stack of file folders with blank file folder labels on them ready to be used.

        Oh, and a file folder labeled BLANK PAPER.

        My point would be that you have everything INSIDE A FOLDER where all the folders are the same size, that you can put in a stack, and all you need is your pen and maybe a calculator and you can go through that stack and GET THINGS DONE.

        This can become very expensive since the project actually may be finished in a day.
        Only as expensive as the maximum number of projects that you are working on at any one time. You do not have to file every folder away or throw every folder away. Staple your supporting material together and put it in a related file, and put a fresh file folder label on the old folder and recycle that project folder. But, I have to tell you, if you have 100 separate sheets of paper, and you want to refer to those sheets of paper in the future, you will find that information quicker grouping them into 40 folders that you will by grouping them into 10 folders. Very few of my storage reference folders are thicker than 1/2 of an inch. I have one customer where I have about 20 folders that take up only about 2 inches of file box space. When my boss asks for information, I can go exactly to it. All my friends seem to want to put about 3 inches of stuff into each folder. There files are a mess and they can not find anything.

        For example I call a company today to inquiry about a product, then I need to make a note to actually go and buy it.
        That is a one line action item on a sheet in your ERRANDS folder, or what ever you want to call that context. With the name of the store, the shopping center, or location in town of the place where you will shop at the top of the sheet of paper.

        Another question I have my next actions and projects lists on small cards, but the lists being too long...
        If you did not have to eat or sleep or use the bathroom, could you do all of the items on one action item list in the same location with the same tools until all where done? If the answer is no, then it is not that your lists are too long, they are not narrow enough. If I was a carpenter, I would have one list for all the stuff I had to do in my shop, and another for all the stuff I had to buy at the hardware store, and another for customer calls that I need to make.

        [quote]AM I putting too much into my lists , Should they go more in Someday/Maybe lists?[\quote]If you are not planning to actually do what is on the list over the next six to nine months, I would put it in a SOMEDAY file, only to be reviewed during a weekly review. If it is something that you do not have to do in the next six months, but you could if you have the time and interest, I would put that in a MAYBE file and look at it if you have some spare time on a rainy day. If you know that you need to do that in May, it goes in a MAY folder, that means that you need 12 more folders.

        Good questions. I am not an expert on GTD and just answered your questions as if you were sitting in my office we where just talking. My advice is not gospel, just some things to think about from a guy who does paper GTD.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tim99
          Yes. Everything out of your head and into your system.
          "Everything out of your head" does *not* mean that you have to plan all next actions for all projects. In many cases, complete planning isn't even possible, as future actions depend on the outcome of the first few steps.

          All actions in your head should be transferred to your system, and all planning that seems appropriate should be done, but don't worry if you don't have every action planned out in advance.

          Katherine

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