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Not really active projects, not SDMB either.

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  • Not really active projects, not SDMB either.

    The clear thinking and extended responses of some writers on this board have helped me to realize I have been filling my Active Projects list much too indiscriminatly. I have been including as an active project any project that reflects an intent or a wish or an obligation or a responsibility (as well as the things I am committed to), even if I am not really working on it actively. Then these become "shoulds" hanging over my head. Meanwhile, SDMB has been populated only with far out possibilities and day dreams. So with my Active Projects List containing more than I can do or am willing to do, I have just been upset by my lists and really befuddled about what action list to work from. But, I just don't know what to do with Projects that are not SDMB but at the same time, I probably can't work on them this week and I don't really know when I can. I feel a need to have such projects in my Active List so that I do remember to review them, or at the very least work on defining them better, and to have next actions listed just in case I happen to be in a context in which I can easily do an action on them. So, my question is what guidelines can I give myself so that my project list is more in line with the binary classification, Active or SDMB, and yet not lose sight of projects I am not working on in the immediate week?

  • #2
    I've recently turned quite a few projects which were causing me grief into someday/maybe's. They were not "absolutely must do things", but it would be really great to get them moving towards success.

    My thinking here is that if I review the whole someday/maybe list every week, then I can turn the somedays back into projects when the resources appear. I've got a hunch that in the meantime my brain will be working on them in the background without my knowledge (hopefully if I've cleared it out of all the "stuff" from my brain!)

    Having a load of projects which are causing upset cannot be conducive to productiveness, in my opinion.


    • #3
      Someday/Maybe is not a trashcan!

      Originally posted by Jamie Elis
      So, my question is what guidelines can I give myself so that my project list is more in line with the binary classification, Active or SDMB, and yet not lose sight of projects I am not working on in the immediate week?
      You should browse the Someday/Maybe list during the Weekly Review to check if you want to make some projects active and define Next Actions for them.

      Someday/Maybe is not a trashcan!

      Some people divide their long Someday/Maybe list into several lists that group future projects according to their probability to become active (or their priority).

      Some people define time-based lists:
      - SMWR (Someday/Maybe Weekly Reviewed);
      - SMMR (Someday/Maybe Monthly Reviewed);
      - SMQR (Someday/Maybe Quarterly Reviewed);
      - SMYR (Someday/Maybe Yearly Reviewed).
      The Someday/Maybe projects are put on these lists according to your current judgement when you should think again about a given project.


      • #4
        I think I posted my classification somewhere already, but it's pretty simple.

        * Current projects: stuff that I am currently working on, or expect to work on in the next two weeks.

        * Committed projects: stuff that I'm committed to doing, but not until some future date. This includes things like making travel plans for a conference in December, or work on next month's iteration of a regular monthly project.

        Both current and committed projects are entered in my GTD system in exactly the same way, but with dates to hide the future stuff.

        * Someday/Maybe: stuff that I haven't committed resources to yet, but would like to do at some point.

        * Ideas: possible future projects, random notes of stuff to think about, etc. These reside outside my GTD system.



        • #5
          Don't want to lose things in the Someday/ Maybe pile

          I also felt like putting a project on the Someday/ Maybe list was frought with the danger of losing track of the project. I have had some success by switching around the way I do my weekly review. Instead of trying to come up with next actions for the projects I have on my list, I first pick the projects that I actually want (and have the time/ energy/ resources) to work on for the next two weeks. I then generate my next action lists from those projects listed. If any of the next actions are not completed by the end of the week, I put them back on my Someday list before starting my Weekly Review. I then have to deliberately choose them to be Active for the following week which keeps me from feeling overwhelmed with lots of projects that aren't moving forward from week to week. My projects are always bigger than the time I have, but I move much farther with them on average and I still have more than one project to bounce between to keep me interested and focused.

          I have also seperated out my lists similar to Katherine's; Ongoing (chores or repetitive items that pop up on a regular basis- these usually stay on my list from week to week), Future (usually projects that I'm really excited about or have some kind of deadline approaching), Someday (projects that I know I want to do but don't have a deadline), and Maybe (projects or ideas that I haven't thought through or organized into any action, but I might want to think about later). My weekly review starts by going over the projects on the list in this order (I stop when I've got as much on my plate as I think I can handle), and making a "current" project list that I'm committed to working on in the next two weeks. I generate the next actions and/ or project plans for the current project list and let the rest go, knowing that I can review them next week. So far, it's working well for me.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Jamie Elis
            But, I just don't know what to do with Projects that are not SDMB but at the same time, I probably can't work on them this week and I don't really know when I can.
            I ended up with 3 categories:
            projects - current
            projects - soon

            projects - current is stuff I'm working on now, like the article I promised to write for the newsletter of a professional organization that's due next week.

            projects - soon is stuff I know I need to do, but I don't have time for it right now, like replacing the turn signal light on my car.

            someday/maybe is stuff I'm not sure about yet, like repainting the kitchen.


            • #7

              I had the same (or similar problem). The Someday/Maybe list can get filled with things like "Climb Mt. Everest" or "Dive with great whites in Australia". These are sitting right next to things like "Get watch repaired" and "Update computer operating system".

              Those are things I am going to do relatively soon but not this week or even next week. They are not things I want on my current projects list, but they are things I'd like to review more often than "Climb Mt. Everest".

              My solution was to create a Probably/Soon list. My Someday/Maybe list is reserved for longer range items or things I may never get around to doing--things I don't necessarily need to review weekly (in case I rush through a weekly review).

              The Probably/Soon list is for items I definitely want to see in each weekly review. They are the ingredients for my current Projects and Next Actions.

              An item could move from Someday/Maybe to Probably/Soon to Projects to Next Actions. That would be moving from its least active state to its most active state.

              Works for me. Hope that helps.