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How about a project that has no end goal?

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  • How about a project that has no end goal?

    For instance, I want to be able to live a lifestyle, for the rest of my life, where I maintain my health. On any given day or month, it may mean exercising one way or altering my food, or seeing a professional. All of these are actions and they certainly are all part of the "Being Healthy" project. And yet projects are defined as "finish lines", whereas this one won't ever be finished.

    Is there something else in GTD that handles this that maybe I didn't notice? If I just use a project for this, how will having a never-ending project affect the way GTD works?

    Thanks,
    Drew

  • #2
    Drear Drew,

    If do not have a finish line it is a Goal or Objective. Being Healthy it is a Goal or Objective.

    Weigth X punds by December is a Project, Get all the things in my physycal next year is a Project...

    Hope it helps

    Comment


    • #3
      Tamils,

      Allow me to pass on the advice i learnt from Katherine just a few days ago. If a project doesn't have a defined end then it is actually a focus area at 20,000 ft or above in the vertical focus.

      Lesson I Learnt

      I hope that helps.

      Ian

      Comment


      • #4
        Eek! I'm famous! *blush*

        Note, however, that not all Next Actions are necessarily tied to projects. And that the Next Action level is where things actually Get Done.

        So in some sense it doesn't matter whether you treat "live a healthy lifestyle" as a Goal or a Project. You still have to do Next Actions like "buy ingredients for Healthy Stuff Casserole" or "schedule appointment with trainer."

        You might find it helpful to build projects around specific fitness goals, and the more tangible the goal, the easier that will be. But in the end it still comes down to Next Actions.

        Katherine

        Comment


        • #5
          I hear you. The issue though is that I specifically do NOT want to have an end goal in mind. I'm trying to NOT treat this as though when I lose 40 pounds then I'm done. In fact, if I don't lose the weight but exercise and eat well for the rest of my life, I'll be satisfied.

          But as you can see that makes it kinda difficult to name a goal. Unless you say, "I want to die healthy" (which is kind of oxymoronic!)

          Drew

          Comment


          • #6
            I think the initial question is a very good one and its something I've thought about in the past.

            I agree that a project having a clearly defined finish/goal helps us focus on it better than a vague intention. But, there are many routine actions that we need to do on a habitual basis, that we want to continue doing for an indefinite period and that we need to remember to do. So how can GTD help us with those?

            DA says in his book that a project puts a stake in a ground so we don't lose sight of it and keep activating next actions through to completion. But what about these routine things we want to do? Don't we need some other type of stake in the ground?

            I think people probably find a solution to this in many ways. Many will have lists of recurring actions that are kept activated by checklists / list of areas of focus. Others who use Outlook, or such like, can program in recurring tasks which pop up every week, every day. I have this for "weekly review", and "do sit ups".

            To keep taps of some of my lists of recurring tasks I also have "!Routines" listed in my Projects folder in Outlook. I use the Contacts as Projects method. They aren't really projects of course and I have it set up so they come up a different colour, so they don't confuse me in the weekly review. I then have lists of tasks (or actions) associated with different themes, for example I have "!Routine Office Admin" and "!Routine send birthday cards". So for instance I can look in !Routine Send birthday cards" and see all the people I am programmed to send birthday cards to (one task per person). If I had these only as tasks I wouldn't be able to check who was on the list.

            So I think the question is valid. There is no project called "send people birthday cards" which has a definite end but we do need to have a system that covers these sort of routines. Maybe it's something that DA should include in the book in the future: how to manage and keep track of all these types of routine tasks. (hope I don't get thrown off here for querying whether the bible is complete)

            Maybe other people have systems that work for them.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by apinaud
              Drear Drew,

              If do not have a finish line it is a Goal or Objective. Being Healthy it is a Goal or Objective.

              Weigth X punds by December is a Project, Get all the things in my physycal next year is a Project...
              And if you get the Projects right, you can eventually remove "Being Healthy" from the list of goals. I would approach this specific issue by looking at the reasons why I am not eating healthily, why I don't like exercising. If these issues are solved then there's no need to have it as a goal because you would have permamently changed the way you do these things in your life.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tamills
                For instance, I want to be able to live a lifestyle, for the rest of my life, where I maintain my health. On any given day or month, it may mean exercising one way or altering my food, or seeing a professional. All of these are actions and they certainly are all part of the "Being Healthy" project. And yet projects are defined as "finish lines", whereas this one won't ever be finished.

                Is there something else in GTD that handles this that maybe I didn't notice? If I just use a project for this, how will having a never-ending project affect the way GTD works?

                Thanks,
                Drew
                IMHO, that's not necessarily a GTD issue. "Being Healthy", while admirable, is nebulous at best. What does it mean to YOU to be healthy? Answer that first.

                Maintain a certain weight? Exercise 3 times per week? Drink 8 glasses of water per day? Eat at least 5 servings of fruits or veggies per day? Be able to run a marathon?

                Once you've defined what "Being Healthy" means to you, then you may be able to better answer your own question.

                (For me and my own personal non-standard, highly-adapted, pseudo-GTD-like approach, I have no problems with carrying a few recurring NAs on my lists. As long as I feel like I need the reminder, I'll use an open NA to remind myself.)

                Scott

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think you can split the whole project differently. You have your Areas of Focus like Eating-Stuff, Jumping-Around-After-Work, Health-Issues.

                  Than you assign projects to these. For instance one project would be to become an expert in cooking healthy meals. By doing this project you will raise the level of your Eating-Stuff Area of Focus. And of course you want to optimize your way of Jumping-Around-After-Work, because just watching TV or surfing the web doesn't give you the desired results for your life. That's why you started the project "establishing the habbit of working out every other day". And so on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great answer!!!

                    From CPU_Modern:
                    I think you can split the whole project differently. You have your Areas of Focus like Eating-Stuff, Jumping-Around-After-Work, Health-Issues.

                    Than you assign projects to these. For instance one project would be to become an expert in cooking healthy meals. By doing this project you will raise the level of your Eating-Stuff Area of Focus. And of course you want to optimize your way of Jumping-Around-After-Work, because just watching TV or surfing the web doesn't give you the desired results for your life. That's why you started the project "establishing the habbit of working out every other day". And so on.
                    CPU,

                    Thanks! This makes sense to me (if I understand what you're saying). My example might look like:

                    -- Focus Areas -- (example: A Healthy Lifestyle)
                    [which have]
                    -- Projects -- (examples: Establish Exercise Habit, Fitness Evaluation, ...)
                    [which have]
                    -- Next Actions -- (examples: Meet with Trainer, See Doc for Physical, ....)

                    Cool. This answers my question.

                    Drew

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      On GTD Fast, DA talks about how often we should clear our in baskets. He compares it to brushing your teeth – how often do you feel you have to brush your teeth? The answer is that people have their own personal standards: some will brush after every meal, some just in the morning and last thing at night etc. It all depends on you internal setting. Likewise, one person’s acceptable level of tidiness might be another’s idea of a mess.

                      So, when it comes to areas like fitness and healthy diet, the actual goal is to establish a benchmark within yourself. For example, I am currently several pounds above the weight I was this time last year, which was the “right” weight for me. I know that I do not look overweight, and that I certainly do not stand out in a crowd as being overweight, yet I am still totally unhappy, and am now embarking on a diet to get my weight back down to my “ideal” weight again.

                      This level of dissatisfaction provides the drive to get me to diet and hit the gym. When I get back to my “ideal” weight, my conscience is clear.

                      So, the goal is to achieve a lifelong compass reading that keeps you to the lifestyle standard you feel is right for you.

                      This will generate specific goals along the way, for example in my case, a short term weight loss target.

                      I have read elsewhere on this site that it takes 30 days to form new habit. I guess that this also means that you can form a personal standard in this time also.

                      Dave

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