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  • How many projects? How to deal with them?

    I had reduced my list of projects to under 10 but realised from 'defining projects' on your website that I'm missing the point - they are not really a key to things that need to be done, just a collective bucket. Hmmmm, must read the book again.

    My problem - if I separate each bucket into the projects, I will end up with about 150. Should I really have a book with 150 sheets of paper in it for all the tasks? Or am I missing something?

  • #2
    The Projects list... a focusing tool

    Hi,

    This is a great question! In fact, in a seminar yesterday, I just had this discussion with a group.

    The "Projects List" is an inventory of the agreements you've made, about what you're going to DO, that will take you more than one step. You review that list at least once a week (sometimes more than that!) to ensure you have "Next Actions" (current moving parts) on all of your commitments.

    Because the volume of what people say they're going to do (50-150 projects is average), this list works best as a flat list (ie: No next actions under each project definition).


    So, once you have that list, then, the Weekly Review (or, whenever you review the projects list) is time spent going through, line by line, asking yourself this question:

    "If I were going to continue on with this project, What's my next action?"

    Because that question will "loosen" a lot of next actions, we suggest capturing those into some trusted system, paper or digital based.

    In coaching thousands of individuals, we've seen that, in fact, most people only need about 9 lists. That is, once a next action is defined, when organized by CONTEXT these next actions naturally land in one of just a few "buckets."

    For instance, righ now I have these categories:

    Projects (a list of outcomes that take more than action

    @Agendas (items to talk to people or groups about, face to face)
    @Calls
    @Computer (e-mails to write, articles to edit, etc)
    @Errands (anything I need to do between home and work, or inbetween)
    @Internet (tasks that require an Internet connection, preferably a fast one)
    @Home/Office (one in the same, any action that happens in this space)
    Someday/Maybe

    So, my ENTIRE organizational system comes down to 7 lists...

    Please feel free to cruise the TIPS and TOOLS page, or e-mail us directly with any more questions!


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

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

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The Projects list... a focusing tool

      Originally posted by Jason Womack
      For instance, righ now I have these categories:

      Projects (a list of outcomes that take more than action

      @Agendas (items to talk to people or groups about, face to face)
      @Calls
      @Computer (e-mails to write, articles to edit, etc)
      @Errands (anything I need to do between home and work, or inbetween)
      @Internet (tasks that require an Internet connection, preferably a fast one)
      @Home/Office (one in the same, any action that happens in this space)
      Someday/Maybe

      So, my ENTIRE organizational system comes down to 7 lists...
      I count 8. (including the projects list).

      Would you do anything differently with your context lists if you had a work place office and a home office?

      Where would you put a NA that required you to be at home to do it? Say you bought a shelf for you garage and you needed to put it together. You had a project for this and have already done, "Buy shelf from XYZ", etc. Is this what your @Home/Office context is for?

      Thanks,

      - Mark

      Comment


      • #4
        ...more about the lists...

        Mark,

        Ha... 8 lists, of course!

        In fact, because my projects list is "so different" in my own mind (a focus tool, not a to do list), I only counted the other ones.

        Of course, the beauty of the GTD system (as I continue to see in seminars, coaching and this posting board) is that no two people will ultimately set up the same system. It's just not practical!

        Any action that's work related, that happens in my office goes on my @Home/Office list.

        Any action that's NOT work related, that happens in my home goes on my @Home/Office list.

        That's just the way I do it... other people will do it other ways...

        Comment


        • #5
          Jason,

          Out of curiosity, do you add due dates to any of your actions or does everything 'dated' go on the calendar. If your todos are undated, how do you have your list sorted on the palm? Do you use the priorities at all? I am not sure if I should make some next actions dated todos or if I should note them on the calendar. What about recurring reminders or recurring tasks that are not part of a project - where do those go? Thanks for your insights!

          Comment


          • #6
            I would also like to know how others here are using the date field on the palm todo list. I am currently using it as a 'due' date and when I check my lists in the morning, I can see from the 'all' view (sorted by date) which tasks are most important. The due date sets a natural priority for me.

            Sometimes I think these items may be better organized on the calendar than as next actions because they are date-sensitive. I do check my lists daily so I trust my current system and I am fighting the urge to the date-sensitive next actions on the calendar. I want to keep the calendar 'visible at a glance' and the majority of my tasks are not time-sensitive, just day or week-sensitive. If the item is a repeat task, I just change the due date instead of crossing it off the list. Does anyone else have a different method or point of view on this?

            Comment


            • #7
              Due dates...

              Originally posted by Guest
              Jason,

              Out of curiosity, do you add due dates to any of your actions or does everything 'dated' go on the calendar.
              I will "Due Date" a project if it has one. I don't know of a circumstance where I would due date a NEXT ACTION. Either, it's for me to do as SOON AS I CAN, or specific to a date.

              Originally posted by Guest
              If your todos are undated, how do you have your list sorted on the palm?
              By Context...
              @Call
              @Home
              @Errand
              etc.


              Originally posted by Guest
              Do you use the priorities at all?
              I have not found a need to use priorities. I usually have no more than 20-30 actions on any list, and it takes the time it takes to review them when I could do them. For example, when I get to the phone, with 15 minutes before a meeting, in my office, I pick the most important phone call then. Conversely, while sitting in traffic, at 11pm, in Los Angeles (it happens!) I choose the most important phone call! (Usually a call to Marriott to plan my next stay!)


              Originally posted by Guest
              I am not sure if I should make some next actions dated todos or if I should note them on the calendar. What about recurring reminders or recurring tasks that are not part of a project - where do those go? Thanks for your insights!
              I put recurring actions (time to change the car oil, hire someone to wash house windows, call tax accountant re: appointment) on my Calendar. They show up, THEN I put the action (unless I DO it right then) on my action lists.

              Comment


              • #8
                [quote="1drummergirl"]I would also like to know how others here are using the date field on the palm todo list. I am currently using it as a 'due' date and when I check my lists in the morning, I can see from the 'all' view (sorted by date) which tasks are most important. The due date sets a natural priority for me.

                You should be able to find some discussions on this in the archives. Here's my view: Under GtD, action lists are undated, but you may want to put a reminder in the Calendar. You could just as easily use the ToDo date field for the reminder. GtD seems to advise against putting due dates on ToDo's but I think there is some utility to using the Date field for action/start dates. Here's an example of this: Text - Pay Utility due 9/25; Date Field - 9/20. For repeating actions where the Date is approximate, but not fixed, such as "Car Service x3mths", I would use ToDo with Date rather than Calendar. If you set ToDo "Show" to "Show Only Due Dates", the items won't appear on the screen until you need them. For Bills and Home Maintenance, I set Due Dates only to Sundays (hopefully in advance of the actual due date) so they don't appear on the screen during any work day. On completion, changing the Date on a ToDo is simpler than moving the item forward on the Calendar and the item then automatically disappears until it again becomes relevant. If you use this method, the only dated items on the screen will be the ones with Today's date and if you set Show Due Date/Priority they will sort to the top; therefore, you don't really need to display the due date field and you can save some screen space. I think that hiding future-dated reminders is consistent with the GtD paradigm of selecting context-undated ASAP's as time becomes available - otherwise, the ASAP's would never get addressed because, psychologically, any (future) dated item would shout louder for attention. What you are doing is making a distinction between hard Calendar dates and soft ToDo dates.

                Andrew

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                • #9
                  I have recently taking to putting dates on actions simply because it is so easy and satisfying to tick them off (I use pocket informant on the pocketPC, which has good combined calendar/task views).

                  Pathetic, but there we are.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I will "Due Date" a project if it has one. I don't know of a circumstance where I would due date a NEXT ACTION. Either, it's for me to do as SOON AS I CAN, or specific to a date.
                    Hi Jason

                    I find there are some NA's that are "in between" the two areas you mentioned.

                    Its hard landscaped to a certain date, because it must be done by or on that date.

                    If its by a date, in the meantime, the NA may be a relevant choice for you to attack depending on context, time, energy and priority........

                    I put these types of NA's on my context list (Palm or PPC) and due date it. I set up my Datebook application (Datebk5 on Palm, Fusion Agenda on PPC) to **only** show those NA's that are due dated for a particular way.

                    To me, this is the best of both worlds.

                    As you said in another post, GTD is wonderful in its simplicity and for the fact that no 2 implementations are identical.

                    Thanks for always giving us an insight into how you operate. Its appreciated.

                    Comment

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