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routine tasks versus projects?

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  • routine tasks versus projects?

    In terms of organizing your lists and your calendar, what are some of the things you do to manage routine work (repeating tasks) in contrast to active projects, if you do handle them differently? What about routine or repeating activities that do not occur very often (seasonal or annual). Do you make a treat routines that you are trying get into place as projects?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jamie Elis
    Do you make a treat routines that you are trying get into place as projects?
    I personally, use Outlook in combination with OneNote (new version now in beta) for projects. Routine tasks unassociated with projects just go into Outlook with no link to a project in OneNote.

    Tom S.

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    • #3
      I use Outlook, and set up routine repeating items as recurring tasks (@Recurring context - I never look at this list since all tasks in it are dated and pop up on the Today view when they should). Some are daily (e.g. Inbox processing), some are weekly (e.g. timesheet, back up hard drive, make sure I have enough cash in my wallet to pay the kids' allowances tomorrow, etc.), some are monthly (e.g. defrag the hard drive, etc) and some are annual (make the appointment with the doctor to get flu shots for everyone in the family, initiate the "summer camps" project, etc.)

      Claudia

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      • #4
        I have two solutions:

        Routine items - just block out some calendar time, trying for the same day/ time each week. If it's a new routine that's being learning I also place a note in my tickler file and move it forward as necessary.

        Seasonal items - I make a note then place it in my tickler file. Once I get to that month, the note get processed. Once processed, the note goes back into the tickler file for the next occurrence.

        Longer term, I'm considering a "master check list(s)" that can/could be reviewed dayly/weekly/monthly etc.

        Just remember the power of GTD is to capture all your items and place them into a trusted system. Plus you have the advantage, particularly, in a "cooperative environment" of being the master of your own calendar if you document the routine!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Jamie Elis
          In terms of organizing your lists and your calendar, what are some of the things you do to manage routine work (repeating tasks) in contrast to active projects, if you do handle them differently? What about routine or repeating activities that do not occur very often (seasonal or annual). Do you make a treat routines that you are trying get into place as projects?
          Most daily repeating routines become ingrained habits that need no reminder in a system (e.g., "workout-shower-breakfast").

          Other routine tasks that require reminders simply need to be tickled somehow so that they can be integrated with the appropriate NA list on the appropriate day. I use software to automate this process.

          Whether a task repeats weekly or yearly doesn't really matter. They both get tickled and added to NA list when needed. Some are projects, so just the individual actions are added to the appropriate context list. For example, "Get Mom a birthday gift" is a yearly-repeating project. Sometime in September, "Email siblings about gift for Mom" appears on my NA list, along with its project due date of October 22.

          If I used a tickler file, I would pull out a sheet of paper listing the project name, at least the first NA, and the project due date. I'd add the project to my project list, add the first NA to the appropriate NA list, and stick the reminder back in the September folder for next year.

          If I'm trying to develop a new routine, I don't see why I would treat that as a project. That seems to overcomplicate things. If you want to start doing something every day, the Next Action is to do it today (or tomorrow, for all procrastinators out there). After you do it today, the Next Action is to do it tomorrow. Just take it one day at a time.

          For example, suppose I want to start backing up a hard drive every day. "Back up hard drive" is a NA for a particular context, maybe @Computer or @Work. I look at that list each day and do the task. It also has a due date (today's date). With the software I use, I check off the task, it disappears from my context-based list, but then automatically reappears the next day, with that day's due date. With paper lists, you'd have a different method for reminding yourself each day.

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          • #6
            I use outlook and setup a repeating event.

            Some routines are simple: "water plants"

            But the ones that are a bit more complex, or ones that I don't do as often, I just create a checklist of next actions.

            The checklist can be as simple or as general as you want. The idea is so you don't forget anything.

            For example, if you have a routine to check your car you might do something like:
            1a. Open hood
            1b. Check oil
            1c. Check coolant
            1d. Check other stuff under the hood...

            2. Check tire pressure

            And remember to optimize your list so your next actions flow from one thing to another. If you do it enough times, you can be routine enough that you might not need a list anymore.
            Last edited by remyc88; 11-06-2006, 05:26 PM.

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            • #7
              At work I use Outlook set up mostly according to the Davidco whitepaper. I modified it in that the Task Pad only shows items with a due date on or before today. I find this more satisfying than full day appointments and I like the mental switch over to Tasks for unscheduled things leaving the calendar only showing deadlines and must do right now or else.

              So for my daily recurring tasks I have a +Daily category with recurring tasks set for each day i work. I am fortunate that my daily tasks are all @Computer so this doesn't break the context concept.

              I can go into more detail if that's not in English.

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