Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

In box cleaning and projects

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • In box cleaning and projects

    I bought david's book and I am profoundly motivated to implement GTD in my life. After browsing a bit in the forum, I am still confused about how to insert actions for the projects:

    I now have this huge 'in' pile and, as I take the first paper (organizing the car), there is a flow of actions and subprojects related to that project that comes to my mind (organizing the trunk, setting up the emergency box,...).

    What am I supposed to do with all the other ideas that are not THE next action (as there must be only one next action). Should I put those in 'waiting for' or in project support material? Also where do I put the objectives and vision about that project (nice clean pleasant smelling car)? And the checklists that I may used?

    This is my first item (and a relatively 'benign' one) and when I see the amount of actions generated, I am a bit anxious for the processing of THE pile

    Sorry if this seems a bit confused: I am. And thanks for any tips you may have for starting up projects and how to handle files and documentation associated to them.

  • #2
    Hi Christopher:

    The question of where to park the "and then . . . " actions for a project seems to come up quite abit around here, and the answer seems somewhat dependent on the medium you're using for your lists.

    First, with respect to the vision/outcome issue, I'm not sure you need that level of planning for every project. The ones that do need such planning will become apparent soon enough.

    With respect to the "and then" actions: I have a category in my Palm ToDo app called "Projects". This becomes essentially a list of all of my pending projects. So one thing on that list would be "clean car", and whatever I've identified as the next action would go on whatever action list I used for that context, probably @Home.

    Remember that you may very well have more than one simultaneous next action for a given project. If the action isn't dependent upon completion of a prior action, and you're ready to move on it, its' a Next Action. For example, "organize glove compartment" and "vacuum out trunk" probably don't depend on each other, so they should both go on your list now as options of things to do to move the "clean car" project forward.

    However, for the things that i'm really not ready or able to move on right now, I attach a note to the project entry "clean car" in which I list ideas for future steps, any information I might find necessary to have handy, etc.

    If you're not using a PDA, just create a folder labelled with the name of the project and toss in handwritten notes and ideas about that stuff.

    It's almost a cliche around here, but I've really found that a firm commitment to a consistent, can't miss, weekly review gives you the freedom to toss all kinds of ideas into the project folder without having to organize them right away. Because you know you'll be doing that within the next seven days.

    Find something that works for you, don't sweat it too much, and have fun getting this done.

    Good Luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Christopher,

      I do pretty much the same as Esquire. My Palm has a todo category named "Projects", and each project goes in there. In the note of the project, I usually paste this template:

      Goals/Outcome:

      What's Next?

      Things to do:

      Support Files:

      Ideas:

      My Motivation:

      -- LOG --


      Now I don't use this template for every project, but I do use it for most of them -- especially client related ones. This way, I can have my goal/outcome right at my fingertips at all times. And if I have a load of next actions in my mind that I can't just brush off, I'll put those down into the "Things to do" section to clear the decks. They don't actually go into my NA lists however, since they're not the very next actions.

      I also have a "Project Support" category, which is generally used for bigger and/or client specific projects. This area tends to be just brainstorming notes, checklists, and so on -- as related to the given project. The project support area isn't used for all projects since some of them have hard copy support folders, some have support files online, etc. And that's why I have the "Support Files" section in my template: As a quick reminder of where the rest of the materials are for any given project.

      In any case, it kind of boils down to "There's more than one way to do it"... as you go along, you'll find yourself trying various techniques, and settling into those that work the best for you

      Hope that helps,
      Kathy

      Comment


      • #4
        Most of my projects are 'home' related. I have adopted DA's method of using Microsoft Outlook to manage GTD and have fine-tuned it with Bill Kratz's GTD with Outlook (http://home.attbi.com/~whkratz/index.htm).

        When I have a multi-step projects (like cleaning the car), the project title would be "clean car" and I would list the required steps in the notes field. When setting up the task for the next action, I place a plus (+) sign in front of the title of the first task to indicate to me that there are subsequent tasks and copy the rest of the tasks to the notes field.

        As the first task is completed, I don't mark it 'complete', I just replace its title with the next task from the notes field, keeping the plus sign until all steps are complete. (if ever)

        Comment


        • #5
          Defining projects...with next actions

          An article on PROJECTS:

          http://www.davidco.com/pdfs/tt_defining_projects.pdf

          KEEPING TRACK OF IT ALL:
          http://www.davidco.com/pdfs/tt_paper_organizer.pdf


          There really isn't a good way yet structurally to link actions with their projects, other than enough of a descriptor to recognize what it's about. In other words, don't put "Fred" on an action list - put "Call Fred re: mtg re: budget".

          Your brain, during the Weekly Review, needs to connect the dots about all this. Your action lists should be in front of your face as often as you have any discretionary time, to make choices from them, so there's nothing on there that will be foreign to you in terms of what it means.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Elizabeth W
            When I have a multi-step projects (like cleaning the car), the project title would be "clean car" and I would list the required steps in the notes field. When setting up the task for the next action, I place a plus (+) sign in front of the title of the first task to indicate to me that there are subsequent tasks and copy the rest of the tasks to the notes field.

            As the first task is completed, I don't mark it 'complete', I just replace its title with the next task from the notes field, keeping the plus sign until all steps are complete. (if ever)
            Elizabeth, that's a clever idea. With your kind of projects, this idea might obviate the need to "fine tune" your system with my Projects-as-Contacts method. You could just keep your Projects as Outlook Tasks, perhaps with a category of "Project" to facilitate filtering your views. If you are using my suggested Projects folder, you may just be duplicating things.

            Just something to think about.

            Comment


            • #7
              Kathy,
              I like your idea of a template for the project entries on the Palm. I'm pretty much putting that same info into my note entry, but I like the idea of creating uniformity, at least for the bigger projects.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, DA clearly states in the majority of his materials that he doesn't use the word project like most people do. Everyone is different , his definition works for me .

                in DA terms a project is "anything that requires more than one next action to complete" --The main purpose is to support the "next actions idea" which helps people from getting stuck and procrastinating larger tasks etc.

                In some of the earlier food for thoughts etc. -(I'm not sure I even still have them) he would talk about companies that wanted him to train on project planning and executives that resisted projects when all they needed to do is decide the next action. etc. --and most people didn't need training in "project planning" --just a few bullet points would get them moving. etc.

                I've found that the terminology seems to be geared to correct the "errors" that people practice in time management/planning and not so much geared torwards people that have a system that's working fairly well for them. The terminology is purposely designed to be very simple

                there's definitely a difference in terminology even with GTD and outlook for example --outlook refers to to-do's as tasks because outlook was designed as a mini-project manager --with start dates etc and % of completion--so anyone using it for GTD Next actions --might have "wash car" on the list --but they dont' need a start date or % completed etc.

                Your MS project idea sounds like a sound solution especially the way it works with outlook --Some palm people use Shadow Plan to list projects and link next actions to the to-do list when they become active etc.
                Same Idea --just a much lower level implementation obviously.

                Just my .02
                Paul

                Comment


                • #9
                  Using MS Project with Outlook

                  NOW, when i decide the VERY Next Action for a Project, i send this to Outlook as a reminder. This appears in outlook as a task under the Category for the MS Project. Then i transfer it to the appropriate @Category, and then DO IT.

                  Coz,
                  I've just started, after a very long lapse, getting back to using MS Project. Please clarify how you "send" an MS Project task to Outlook.

                  I tried, to no avail, to e-mail a task out of MS Project using: Insert, Hyperlink, e-mail address.

                  I could, of course, review my project plans and then manually create next actions in Outlook. How do you do it?

                  Thanks,
                  moises

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Christopher,

                    First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS on taking the plunge and getting this far! Here's a few things that are working from me that you can pick and choose from.

                    I use Outlook and a PocketPC, along with a filing cabinet. As I'm going through my Inbox, if I come across something that would be a new project I:
                    - grab a third-cut file folder, make a label (e.g., "Car Organization") and put it in alphabetical order in the filing cabinet
                    - create a new Task Category in Outlook on my PocketPC ("Pj - Car Organization")
                    - create a new task in that category, named "CAR ORG Master Plan" and fill it with the list of thoughts, actions, vision, etc. around the project.
                    - decide what is the next action, and create a task in Outlook, giving it both the "Pj - Car Organization" category, as well as the appropriate context (maybe "@Home").

                    As that action is completed and removed, I'll refer to the Master Plan to figure out what is next. If it's appropriate, I'll also put notes in the Master Plan of what has happened so far and when.

                    I prefer to create tasks with a unique prefix for each project, mainly because it's easier for me to scroll through things on the PocketPC.

                    Anyway, congrats again for getting rolling. It sounds to me like you're in the process of setting up the next level of your system, and I can understand the desire to get it set up right from the beginning. Good luck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      reply to Coz re: MS Project

                      In MS Project 2000,
                      -click on the desired Task
                      -click TOOLS, WORKGROUP, SET REMINDER
                      Coz,

                      Thanks for the quick replies. OK. Now I see my problem. I am the only user of my copy of MS Project 2002. So I never ran WGsetup.exe and I don't have the "workgroup" option on my TOOLS menu.

                      I like the spirit of your method even though I won't follow it to the letter. My workaround will be to copy the MS Project Task Name, then Insert Hyperlink, double-click my most recently used e-mail address, which is my own address, then paste the task name in the e-mail subject field. Then, in Outlook, I will move the e-mail into my next actions list.

                      I'll have to see how this works. Up till now I have avoided creating project plans for all but the most major projects. This encourages me to adopt the mindset of using Project even for 8-10 action projects. This should add some much-needed rigor to my system.

                      Thanks for the inspiration. I was introduced to MS Project as a tool for a million-dollar project with many people involved. But there really is nothing wrong with using a Howitzer to swat a fly. In fact, it makes a darn good flyswatter.

                      moises

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: reply to Coz re: MS Project

                        Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                        The workgroup reminder transfer thing works really well, if you ever get a chance to try it.

                        Another idea would be to email the task to yourself.

                        Another idea might be just to use the Outlook Tasks, instead of using MS Project. Those tasks can be highly customized, and then you have it all in one place.

                        MS Project is a beast, and unless a person is a bit of a techie, i wouldn't bother with it.

                        Coz

                        Originally posted by moises
                        In MS Project 2000,
                        -click on the desired Task
                        -click TOOLS, WORKGROUP, SET REMINDER
                        Coz,

                        Thanks for the quick replies. OK. Now I see my problem. I am the only user of my copy of MS Project 2002. So I never ran WGsetup.exe and I don't have the "workgroup" option on my TOOLS menu.
                        I am wondering if others use MS Project for "minor" projects. I have a very general competency with Project, nothing special. But I find the ability to create dependencies awesome. To my knowledge, that is not available in Outlook. But please correct me if I am wrong.

                        The lesson I am learning from GTD is that structure is everything. Well . . . not everything; I am making a rhetorical flourish. But structure is the key to making ideas and plans manifest in the concrete world of material reality. We all knew how to make lists before GTD but GTD showed us how to create a structure for our lists that was unlike anything we had created before. And with the change of the structure of our lists came the change of the structure of our lives.

                        MS Project structures my thoughts about projects in a way that is different from the way I would think about a project if I were to use the outline function in MS Word, for example. It forces me to think more rigorously about relatively simple projects. GTD forces me to think more rigorously about the things I want to do, even the simple ones. Project structures my projects by creating rigor the way GTD structures my life by creating rigor.

                        Right now I've put two projects into MS Project. One project has as its successful outcome the rental of additional warehouse space. This involves renting the space, purchasing material for storage, moving supplies to the new space, and creating new work areas in our existing space. The new space is a mere 2200 square feet. My current project plan has 38 rows. It's not the Panama Canal but Project has definitely helped keep focused.

                        The other project involves making a number of changes at my company to conform to government regulations. This involves strict deadlines. It has 29 rows. Again, it's not a big deal but Project has been a wonderful tool.

                        I bought Project because I thought I was going to have to move an entire factory in an incredibly compressed time frame. It's definitely not worth purchasing the program for these 30-row projects. DA says in GTD that project management software is way too powerful for most people who are not project managers.

                        But even minor projects have deadlines and dependencies. Mapping out those deadlines and dependencies has helped me stay on top of my projects better than I had in the past.

                        (NB: MS Project is the only project management software I am familiar with. This is not a plug for that particular application. No doubt there is other project management software equally appropriate for my very limited needs.)

                        Comment

                        Working...
                        X