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how do you organize the someday/maybe list?

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  • how do you organize the someday/maybe list?

    Do you separate the itens in the someday/maybe list in subgroups? I have items that are things I'd (remotely) like to do eventually (e.g. buy a boat), things that I'd like to do that are more "possible", like learn French, and items I'll have to do soon but not now (that's why they are not in the projects list). I'm concerned that I'd miss a project that is essential but it's "buried" in a very long and dreamy SDM list.

  • #2
    I use a file system for my Someday Maybe list, and use it to keep track of everything-- things I know I'm going to do eventually, as well as things that are "maybe"s, or even just scraps of ideas. I have folders for broad categories, then break out sub-category folders and envelopes as needed.

    To prevent important stuff from getting lost in this file system, I also keep a "pending" list containing every potential project that I want to be reminded of in the next month or two. Anything near-term that I don't want to slip through the cracks goes on this list.

    I review the "Pending" list every week, and the file-box two or three times a month.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Pedro Kroger View Post
      Do you separate the itens in the someday/maybe list in subgroups?
      If I have items that I know I'll have to move on soon -- say, in the next six months -- but that I'm not ready to do anything with yet, I will put them in a "pending" section of my Someday/Maybe list.

      For my work, there are comparatively few of these, though. Most of the stuff on my Someday/Maybe list is stuff that I'd like to do at some undefined point in the future, and an additional classification beyond "not for right now" hasn't yet proved useful to me.

      -- Tammy

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      • #4
        I don't organize my Someday/Maybe list at all. If things get lost in a long list there for a while, it really isn't a big deal by definition.

        I look at all of them once a week in my weekly review, so that is plenty.

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        • #5
          Maybe the list needs processing

          Originally posted by Pedro Kroger View Post
          Do you separate the itens in the someday/maybe list in subgroups? I have items that are things I'd (remotely) like to do eventually (e.g. buy a boat), things that I'd like to do that are more "possible", like learn French, and items I'll have to do soon but not now (that's why they are not in the projects list). I'm concerned that I'd miss a project that is essential but it's "buried" in a very long and dreamy SDM list.
          This might not be applicable to you but my recent experience might be of interest to someone concerned with this topic.

          I listened to DA podcast about someday/ maybe a while back and was inspired to try and put some hard edges on my someday /maybe list, which was about 150 items long and accumulating. My expectation was that I'd end up with a number of sub-categories like you mention - all someday/maybes, but different.

          I renamed by someday/maybe folder "crap to process" and set to work...

          Lo and behold, I realised that a lot of my someday/maybes where just ideas that needed a bit of thinking about before they became an actual project/action or were thrown away. To manage this I created lots of new actions like "brainstorm for ..." or "think about ...".

          Some of the somedays/maybes were things I wanted to think about at a particular date in the future, so I created an action like "consider ... ", or "think about..."with a post dated start date so it only appeared when I wanted to see it. Putting it in a tickler would fulfil the same function.

          Some of the someday/maybes were duplications of the same general idea that I could merge into one. Some of them I could discard, realising there were "never".

          Even the someday/maybe items I kept I could often redefine more concretely.

          The only division I made was to divide them into someday/maybe actions and someday/action projects.

          I finally ended up with about 20 S/M projects and about 30 S/M actions. And they are Someday/Maybes that I am much more likely to do - sometime. Also, because they are shorter lists I feel no need to divide them up further.

          I have still kept the "crap to process" folder just in case I see anything that should go into it, but I seem to have got into the habit of processing my someday/maybes opportunely (even sometimes before they get into onto the list which is how its meant to work), so "crap to process" has remained empty.

          ...Just an idea. Sometimes the someday/maybes lists just need processing to whittle them down to things that are more useful.
          Last edited by tominperu; 02-12-2007, 01:10 PM.

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          • #6
            I think I agree with Jeff. If you worry that an item will get lost on your Someday/Maybe list, it probably isn't a Someday/Maybe item.

            With that said, I do keep a separate Future Projects list. These are projects that I am committed to, but do not plan to begin working on in the immediate future. The most common examples are multipart projects, such as a series of articles for the same client. Recurring annual projects, like Christmas shopping and taxes, also fall into this category. These projects get a Tickler reminder at the appropriate time.

            Katherine

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            • #7
              Thank you guys for the help. Lots of good ideas. I like Katherine's idea of "Future Projects".

              So, what sort of things do you put on your SDM list? are you adamant of only putting things that you think you'll do one day or you put ideas and "dreams"? for instance, right now I have an "ideas" file with ideas for papers, programs, speeches, research, etc. For instance, I have the idea of writing an article (and/or preparing a speech) about "using LaTeX for desktop publishing". Could/should this be on my SDM list?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tominperu View Post
                Lo and behold, I realised that a lot of my someday/maybes where just ideas that needed a bit of thinking about before they became an actual project/action or were thrown away. To manage this I created lots of new actions like "brainstorm for ..." or "think about ...".
                I had a similar observation, but a very different way of handling it

                Its true that a lot of stuff in the file box I mention in my second post (or my "idea cauldron" as I refer to it in my notes) has a lot of unprocessed scraps of ideas in it. But I like to let them just germinate in there for a while, rather than fully processing them into defined "projects" or thrown away.

                I keep them categorized to help with review. Sample categories from my system: "Bookbinding ideas", "Computer Programming ideas", "Research Ideas", "Fiction Ideas". If I'm not planning on doing any bookbinding in the next coupld of weeks, then I don't need to dig deeper to review the specific ideas in that category,.

                It's not a list of defined projects; rather, it's a premoridal soup of amino acids from which new ideas can spontaneously generate at any time. Also, if I suddenly become interested in pursuing an area of interest that I have been neglecting for a while, going to the relevant parts of my cauldron and reminding myself of old ideas gives me a terrific starting point.

                I go through the cauldron two or three times a month, properly categorizing things that I just threw into the broader categories, and shifting categories & subcategories around as neccesary to keep the system managable. It's neccesarily somewhat messy, becauase there is no comprehensive, non-overlapping classification scheme for ideas I haven't even come up with yet-- so there is a lot of overlap. It would be a lousy retreival system, but that's not what it's there for. Once something becomes a clearly defined project, it moves to my project file, which has "active" and "not active" sections. Things that are clearly reference materials go into my reference file system.

                The idea cauldron gets all the random ideas for myriad areas of interest "out of my head" and into a system where I can find them again. I used to through periods of paralysis due to the fact that I had too many interests in too many directions to ever fulfill them all: but the idea cauldron gives me a safe place to store all that stuff, where it doesn't become stale. I can accept that there is no way I'll be able to do even a fraction of what's in there in my life-time, but I know that it's all there and I can pick anything I want from it at any time. (e.g. I can do *anything* in the cauldron, just not *everything* in it.)

                "Processing" it all every week (despite being way too time consuming) would defeat the purpose, leaving me with no place to put my brain-overflow.

                Hence, my "pending" list, to keep track of things that aren't active but that I need, want, or hope to make active in the next month or so-- that middle ground is crucial to my system

                Edited to add: a good analogy would be an artist's sketchbook: if the artist only creates/keeps finished, planned drawings in their sketch-book, it defeaths the sketchbook's purpose.

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                • #9
                  I don't sort my Someday/Maybe list. I do include everything that I want to do in the future.

                  Works for me.

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                  • #10
                    Mine is sorted. But most of the stuff on my list lends itself to sorting. I have things I wanted to do to the house - new bedspread, new curtains - according to the part of the house I'm discussing. I have repairs on one list. I have things my husband needs to do on another list (home improvement). I have things I'd like to buy - such as a new lawnmower - on another list. Then I have a list of books I want to read, a list of movies I'd like to see, places I'd like to eat out...all on lists according to what they are. So when I finish reading a book, I look at the list of books I want to read. When I have some extra cash and some energy (or motivation), I check my list of things I want to do to the house. And so forth. Future vacations are another list.

                    And since it's so organized, I only review my Someday/Maybe list when I want to - not necessarily on a regular basis.

                    I seem to draw a blank when I have an opportunity (such as time to begin reading a new book) so I like having the list to fall back on. I make a point to record things when the ideas occur (such as when someone recommends a good book) so I will remember when the time comes (whenever that may be).

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                    • #11
                      If you're someone who generates ideas as one of your primary activities, the Someday/Maybe list may need a complete restructuring, whereas many people can probably do with such a list, as is.

                      I have separate Someday and Maybe lists in Excel, with each item scored for Effort and Importance, but the Someday list also scored for Timeframe. Each dimension is scored on a simple 1 - 5 scale, scores totaled per item, and each list is then sorted by score.

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                      • #12
                        I like LJM's analogy of an artist's sketchbook, or of ideas as a primordial soup.

                        If you taste a soup too early, it tastes like water. Resist the temptation to fuss with it. It's better to just leave it alone and let it simmer.

                        Likewise, most of my ideas need to simmer for a while. At first, it's impossible to tell whether the idea is good or bad, or even what a potential project arising from it might be. They don't go on my Someday/Maybe list until I've at least figured out what they are.

                        For instance:
                        "Two soldiers meet across the wall at Gettysburg battlefield." is a snippet, an image, nothing more.

                        "Gettysburg as frame, from battle to reunion." is progress, but still nothing concrete.

                        "Novel about two soldiers on opposite sides at Gettysburg. Their paths crossed as they came to the battle, then diverged, then reconnected when they came back for the soldiers' reunion." is starting to be something that I might put on a Someday/Maybe list.

                        "Research and possibly write Civil War novel by December 2008." is a full-fledged project, and would be accompanied by at least several pages of notes expanding the above concept in more detail and posing the research questions I would want to answer in order to proceed.

                        Katherine

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                        • #13
                          Inspired by someone's post on one of these boards, I recently divided my SDM list into "Later Projects" and "Someday/Maybe Projects." Later Projects are projects that I am definitely committed to doing, but ^not this week^. It acquired items from both the original lists. Now my Current Projects list is blissfully short (at least comparatively) and actually realistic about THIS WEEK. I've been able to do that because I now feel comfortable moving things to Later Projects, whereas I just couldn't get myself to mix them in with the dreams.

                          All of my project lists are subdivided by life role, a concept I got from Stephen Covey years ago. My roles right now are: Artist, Friend/Relative, Indexer, Musician, Organizer (all household, financial and business stuff), Parent, Partner, Renewal, and Scanner (my newest self-identification, per Barbara Sher's book Refuse to Choose. Katherine, you would be at home on the Refuse to Choose forum on Sher's boards! www.barbarasher.com/boards)).

                          Originally posted by Pedro Kroger View Post
                          So, what sort of things do you put on your SDM list? are you adamant of only putting things that you think you'll do one day or you put ideas and "dreams"? for instance, right now I have an "ideas" file with ideas for papers, programs, speeches, research, etc. For instance, I have the idea of writing an article (and/or preparing a speech) about "using LaTeX for desktop publishing". Could/should this be on my SDM list?
                          Dreams, dreams! Some more dreamy than others. I have several "write an article" projects in there, some with notes on sources and topics right in the project list. (I keep my project lists in Word.) Snippets of ideas/images for art pieces tend to go in various sketchbooks and hard-copy files. I'm still trying to figure out how to store bits of musical ideas for songwriting/composing (I capture some on digital recorder, some as verbal notes, some on music paper, and they tend to be real scraps). But I do have a list of songs I've thought of writing in the SDM list.

                          Hope that's helpful!

                          Do Mi

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kewms View Post
                            I like LJM's analogy of an artist's sketchbook, or of ideas as a primordial soup.

                            If you taste a soup too early, it tastes like water. Resist the temptation to fuss with it. It's better to just leave it alone and let it simmer.

                            Going back to LJM's primordial soup idea...The trouble for me with having ideas themselves as someday/maybe items is that they just accumulate and I have to go through an ever longer list each week. As the list gets longer, the chances of me actually moving the ideas forward gets less and less.

                            The solution Iíve found is to keep these ideas in the notes section of projects in Outlook. The advantage of this is that a clear project needs to be specified that would take the idea forward. The project doesn't have to be the final project, just the next thing to take it forward, even if just a little bit. The project might be just "develop the idea of producing my own listening materials" (I'm an English Teacher). In this way there is much more likelihood that the idea will either be used, or if not, discarded after adequate consideration. If ideas are progressed, itís a case of editing or adding to the notes section and if necessary changing the title of the project.

                            If I donít want to progress a projects like this but let the ideas simmer I put them in someday/maybe or make them active and have a postdated action in my regular action list, perhaps with a question mark. The action might be something like ďconsider how to take forward ideas of creating my own listening materials?Ē. It would then pop up at a particular date in the future for consideration. A ticker file would do the same sort of thing if you use that.

                            This is working reasonably well at the moment. Iíve tried other methods, like having an ideas notebook, and keeping a journal. The problem with both of these was that I would never actually read them! But I suppose that's just me.

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                            • #15
                              Katherine,

                              Originally posted by kewms View Post
                              They don't go on my Someday/Maybe list until I've at least figured out what they are.
                              I like this idea of only having defined things on the SDM list.

                              Originally posted by kewms View Post
                              "Two soldiers meet across the wall at Gettysburg battlefield." is a snippet, an image, nothing more.
                              Where do you store ideas like this one and how often you revise then?

                              Pedro

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