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Single action projects that deserve to be in subproject category.. read on..

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  • Single action projects that deserve to be in subproject category.. read on..

    Since using GTD I find that though I have projects in my professional roles.. in my personal areas( finance , health etc.), i may not need projects in each but just 1 step tasks that should be filed in Single Action Projects right?

    All you GTD'ers would say yes. but my Feeling and intuition is not to place them in the SAP section but instead to place them in the actual personal area that I have setup instead of a Single Action category.

    I am about to try this and see if it works. I thought some one out there might have came across the same FEELING I had.

    Recap:

    Instead of normally putting :

    Single Action Projects
    - Print out bank statement ( 1step action)

    I say I should put it:

    Personal
    - Finance
    - Print out bank statement ( 1 step action)

    It makes more sense to me, is this a totall disregard to GTD rules, or what, I am about to read the book and see what it says eventuall doing thought what feels best..

  • #2
    Why do you need SAP (Single Action Project) category?

    Why do you need SAP (Single Action Project) category?

    If it is a single action project then it is just one Next Action which goes directly to the appropriate @Context list.

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    • #3
      Tes Teq let me give you a background. I use Kinkless GTD and now IGTD two programs on the mac that implement GTD. Sooo they allow you to organize tasks by project or context.

      Hence, there is a time where you may have 1 task that belongs in the appropriate context like you suggest BUT ALSO when view in terms the projects view is placed in a single action project ( which is a project that contains nothing but single actions.

      So thats why I need Single Action "project" which is really a category for all tasks that arent apart of a mult-step project.

      in essence thats the way the programs i used on the mac generally organize the tasks...maybe u dont use those progrms on the mac os.. so thats why u may not be familar with my methor.

      But so basically my earlier question was if should I keep the task in a single action projects list or should I place it in the category that i feel it goes .. see above for a better example?

      Comment


      • #4
        How about an Errands Tab or Folder?

        All the single task things I have to do (print out bank statement, buy milk, drop off clothes at cleaners, etc.) I put those behind my Errands tab in my planner and every single one is a next action I have to get to. I cluster the things I have to do by what shopping mall, etc. I need to go to. But that way, the only thing that is a real project to me has more than one action item.

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        • #5
          Neither categories nor single action project lists are part of "canonical" GTD. If your actions are in the appropriate context lists and your (multi-action) projects are in the projects list, you are doing fine in GTD terms. Everything else is strictly between you and your software tools.

          As I've said before, my own feeling about tools is that you should identify tools that fit your approach, rather than trying to wedge yourself into their (usually arbitrary) rules.

          Katherine

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          • #6
            Katherine, how would you file your tasks that are only one step?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by dwayneneckles View Post
              Katherine, how would you file your tasks that are only one step?
              Those go directly into the appropriate context list and are simply checked off when done.

              Many of my one step actions are actually recurring tasks. I track them using Sciral Consistency.

              Katherine

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              • #8
                re: GTD & the Mac

                GETTING BEYOND ORGANIZED TASKS
                Having designed my own GTD program for the mac and paying attention to the others, I can honestly say that most of the new GTD programs coming out tend to only have half of the GTD method understood. They know how to separate out tasks from projects, how to make lists, how to list tasks by contexts (e.g. @Home, @Office, etc.). But that's pretty much it. They are great GTD organizers, but GTD isn't just about getting tasks organized. There is also the vertical dimension of GTD (30-50,000ft checklists), processing things one thing at a time, and clarifying Outcomes, Standards, and Purpose on projects. That said, your original question centers on the vertical dimension of GTD -- reviewing your areas of responsibility lists and 30-50,000ft checklists weekly during your weekly review. It's best to use the areas of responsibility list as a springboard for adding new actions and projects to your lists. So you see "Finance" and think - "Oh yeah, I need to print out my last bank statement", and you then write that on your next actions list - @ Computer: Print out bank statement.

                RETHINKING THE SINGLE-ACTION / MULTIPLE-ACTION DISTINCTION
                Now that I've been at GTD for almost 3 years I've realized that the single-action / more-than-one-action distinction shouldn't be adhered to so rigorously. It is better to think more in terms of high-degree versus low-degree planning. Tasks like "Get a haircut" consist of more than one step to complete, but it could just as easily be put on your next actions list along with the next step to complete - Get hair cut > @ Home: Call salon to set up appointment. And when you've completed that step you can write the next one - Get hair cut > @ Salon: Choose haircut style. It doesn't take a lot of planning to figure out what to do next; it is low-degree planning. But "Learn another Language" is something that is going to require much more planning to complete. It makes sense to think of it as a project, and then to do more in-depth planning using mindmaps or outlining or gannt charts, and then working off of those to generate next actions.

                At any rate, that's my two cents.
                Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 10:44 PM.

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                • #9
                  re Todd

                  1) Yeah, the invisible part of GTD is more important, I think.

                  2) So we basically have 2 kinds of projects, those with an item in "project support material" attached and those without? Or is there more to it?

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                  • #10
                    re: cpu_modern

                    I think it depends on the tools a person is using and the level or degree of planning the person needs to do on any given project/task. On pages 58-59 of _Getting Things Done_ David Allen discusses projects in a bit more detail. It's a small part of the book, but one I think many GTDers (myself included) miss the first or second time through. There he discusses components of projects like Purpose, Standards, Outcome Vision, Mission Critical Components, Key Milestones, and Deliverables.

                    So for myself, I've got my high-degree planning projects with elements in these various categories:
                    1-Project Support
                    2-Primary Purpose
                    3-Standards
                    4-Outcome Vision
                    5-Mission Critical (organized by priority)
                    6-Key Milestones (organized by sequence)
                    7-Deliverables (organized to degree required)

                    Since I handle this on my computer, I have separate folders for each of these on each project and I just drag the components for each category into the appropriate folder. But for someone using just paper, all of these items would go into a single folder called "Project Support" for that project.

                    One-step tasks -- or tasks with a very low-level of planning required (e.g. get a haircut, make a sandwich, etc.) -- just go on my next actions list and I specify whatever new, next action I need to do to mark that task off the list. So I think it depends on the tools one is using and the level of planning needed. But the key -- and it took me awhile to realize this -- is that getting too granular about the one-step / multi-step distinction in GTD can put too many projects on the projects list that really don't need to be there. But that's my own approach. It may differ for others.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Todd V View Post
                      RETHINKING THE SINGLE-ACTION / MULTIPLE-ACTION DISTINCTION
                      Now that I've been at GTD for almost 3 years I've realized that the single-action / more-than-one-action distinction shouldn't be adhered to so rigorously. It is better to think more in terms of high-degree versus low-degree planning. Tasks like "Get a haircut" consist of more than one step to complete, but it could just as easily be put on your next actions list along with the next step to complete - Get hair cut > @ Home: Call salon to set up appointment. And when you've completed that step you can write the next one - Get hair cut > @ Salon: Choose haircut style. It doesn't take a lot of planning to figure out what to do next; it is low-degree planning. But "Learn another Language" is something that is going to require much more planning to complete. It makes sense to think of it as a project, and then to do more in-depth planning using mindmaps or outlining or gannt charts, and then working off of those to generate next actions.
                      Yes, the easiest way to solve this problem is to have some sort of dual marking system--one mark for when you've completed a task, another mark for when you've considered whether it has a subsequent next action. That's the way I test to see whether actions on my lists are actually part of projects. During the daily review, I go through the tasks I've completed and ask whether there's a new next action. (This works particularly well with paper lists.)

                      For recurring tasks, there's a simple solution. Keep a recurring task list which you check daily. For instance, on my recurring list I have several daily reminders: e.g., run, walk dog, floss, do dishes, etc. I also have stuff that occurs once a week and/or month: e.g., take out trash (W), pay electric bill (20th), etc. If you scan this list once a day, you remember, oh yeah, it's Wednesday, I need to take out the trash today - then you can put that on your daily agenda.

                      Dwayneneckles: Why do you need to print your bank statement? This is the question that will determine whether the action belongs to a project or is a monthly, recurring action.

                      E.g., if you need to print up your bank statement because you need to investigate a strange charge to your account, then it would belong to the project "investigate strange charge to checking account."

                      On the other hand, if you simply want a monthly printout for your archives, then this would be a recurring action (once a month). And you can use whatever system works best to keep track of your recurring actions (tickler, calendar, recurring list, computer program, etc.).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Todd is completely correct about most of the recent GTD-on-Mac programs: they typically have no place for project notes, and don't support someday/maybe items or items at levels higher than projects in a good way. Most people find it convenient to be able to turn next actions into projects and projects into next actions (e.g., duplicate project, and make into next action with current notes) easily. This is particularly true for people who sync to handheld devices. My solution now is to not use these programs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yes, it's interesting. Over the past few years, as the GTD phenomenon has exploded all over the web, the primary focus has been on managing action lists. That's where most of the Mac applications focused their attention. Project support and higher level thinking...not so much.

                          It's actually quite stunning to see how much intertia there's been in the Mac GTD arena. I think your best bet is to set up a custom GTD system using some sort of information management program (e.g., DevonThink) that lets you store your project material next to your actions but also filters actions into context lists.

                          You think someone would have been able to figure out a multi-layered GTD program by this point.

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                          • #14
                            The whole actionlists-centric approach is dull. Any word processor can do that for you. A GTD-app would be a step forward if it would help you in learning and enforcing the habbits. For example I can imagine some sort of animated traffic-lights indicating the workflow steps. Or asking questions: you cannot mark an project as active until you defined at least one outcome and one next action. Things like indicators for too many commitments, too mayn watingfors and so on. An App that closes the web browser automatically when you are skipping your weekly review and so on.

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                            • #15
                              Learning GTD Habits - Staying On Track

                              re cpu_modern:

                              I tried to accomplish something of this with the "Ready-Set-Do!" program I designed for the mac. The Quickstart guide walks users through all of the core GTD habits and teaches them about the relationships between projects and actions. I've been continuing to add new features such as the new "instant vertical focus" feature for seeing higher outcomes related to projects and it does automatically hide whatever web-browser you use when processing your Inbox.

                              Currently I'm testing out some new features for version 1.2 (due out sometime in late May) such as the ability to color code items with deadlines that are coming up. Red for deadlines that are 1 week away or less, Orange for 3 weeks, and Yellow for items that are 6 weeks out. And I'm using the colors of Blue, Purple, and Green for my top three projects. The RSD scripts then automatically color-code all next actions related to those top three projects with their approapriate colors. This is a very new thing I'm trying out -- and it is not canonical GTD -- but it is already creating better focus. I have a color-code for urgent tasks (red/orange/yellow) and another for the important/significant tasks (purple, blue, green). I like this because it matches the best of Stephen Covey's quadrants (7 Habits of Effective People) with the best of David Allen's Getting Things Done. With a weekly average of 68 projects and 260 tasks, I've realized my system absolutely needs something like this to keep me focused and on-task. So I'll let you know how it goes after awhile. I still have yet to decide whether to include it in the next release, but if it works well for me over the next month or so, I'll definitely put it in.
                              Last edited by Todd V; 07-01-2011, 10:45 PM.

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