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  • Deffered Project: Active or Someday-Maybe?

    Do you prefer to leave a project that was differed to some date in the future (i.e. when the customer comes back from vacation) on your Active projects list or in Someday-Maybe?
    Last edited by Borisoff; 08-27-2007, 09:36 AM.

  • #2
    Definitely in Someday/Maybe. I like to keep my project list clean with only the projects I am actually working on.

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    • #3
      I decided to follow a suggestion from another thread and have a Pending list as well as Projects and Someday/Maybe. Pending is for Projects I don't expect to work on this week. In theory the Pending list gets scanned during the Weekly review and things bumped up. Someday/Maybe stays for the more `blue sky' things.

      Michael

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      • #4
        For things like when your customer goes on vacation and you want to resume the project when they get back, you could just add a note to your tickler file (calendar). That gets it off your mind until it's time to start thinking about it again.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by rangi500 View Post
          For things like when your customer goes on vacation and you want to resume the project when they get back, you could just add a note to your tickler file (calendar). That gets it off your mind until it's time to start thinking about it again.
          Same here. I use a different version of a pending list. I have a tickler list in addition to the Projects & Someday/Maybe.

          Naming the items in the list would be a bit subtle. Since they are mostly time-sensitive, but not specific enough to have an exact date (usually after a waiting for item which don't know when will be done). So I start the names with the estimated date range the items should become active, so to aid my review.

          As rangi500 mentions too, items with specific date in the future go to the calendar as ticklers. I practice GTD digitally with outlook and PDA. So I dated my tasks with start date in the future (whether it has due date depends on the nature of the item)

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          • #6
            Time and likelihood are factors

            I think time and likelihood of resumption are factors.

            If customer is going to be on vacation for a week or two, I'd keep the project active and as someone already indicated, put a note in the tickler file for the first or second day they're back.

            If it's deferred or put on hold because some future decision, for example, is going to be made whether to proceed or not, I'd put it in someday maybe, and put a note in the tickler file for the decision day, or some date in the future when I want to ask or decide (depending on who the decisionmaker is) if the project is staying on hold.

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            • #7
              If I'm still committed to the project (outcome) then I leave it on my projects list. Otherwise it goes on someday/maybe list.

              What's the very next physical visible action on this project? Is it to call the customer when she/he returns from vacation? Then I would put a reminder on my calendar on that day but keep the item on my projects list.

              But are there other things related to this project I could do in the meantime? When I call the customer do I have all the talking points lined up? Could I spend some time brainstorming options? A next action could be starting a mind map or page of ideas.

              Personally I like the binary distinction between project or someday/maybe. I'm either going to do it or not. If it's a project but there are things I'm waiting for or can't control then at least I have a way to track it.

              Good stuff!

              Mark

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              • #8
                It's funny this post came up because I just went through a similar situation:

                I have someone who is starting work for me in a few weeks. I had a project called: "Amy prepared to start work Sept 10" For my next actions, I had things such as 'email details to HR', 'check references' etc. Now she was supposed to come in and go over the details of the offer this week, but she is going away and won't be back until next week.

                Now there is absolutely nothing I can do to move anything forward until she gets back next Monday. So I was debating whether just moving the whole project into the tickler (via outlook) and have it pop up again next Monday, or creating the action "create next action to call amy" (Note that it is not the actual action b/c otherwise I would have to call on monday, which is not the case.

                The reason I do it like that is because I like having the Project/Next Action correlation. I am always looking for it. If I add a tickler item to call amy on Monday, I wouldn't consider that a next action.

                I think this is a very grey area in the GTD system. How do you guys handle these kinds of situations. They seem to come up for me quite often.

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                • #9
                  I just had an epiphany after reading this thread. Remember that the project list is merely a list of outcomes that require more than one next action to achieve. It serves to remind us of our open loops.

                  I've found that it's not always necessary or even possible to have something on an @ list for each project on your project lists. Sometimes the next action is a "calendared" action and you have to wait for weeks or months before it arrives. If I the next action is "tickled", I might make a note in my support material that I tickled something for a future date, that way I don't forget the nature of the next action during my subsequent reviews.

                  During my weekly review, if I decide that I don't want to or can't take the next action within the next week or two, I'll put that next action on a list called "Pending". Then all I have to do is change the category to the appropriate @ list when I'm ready to do so. But here's the "aha" moment that I just had. If I really don't know what the next action is (which should rarely happen, but sometimes does), I have the freedom to decide not to decide and just move on to the next project in the list. It's OK to do that as long as your system and habits support it. The project will show up again on my next review so I won't lose track of it, and perhaps I might have an inspiration during the week that will help me discover that next action. Of course, one has to be mature about it and not repeatedly avoid making the decision.

                  Remember, like any other system, a GTD system in any form (high, mid, or low-tech) is only useful if it is your servant, not your master. Use it in a way that serves you, not one that enslaves you.

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                  • #10
                    My project list contains only projects that have a next action associated with it. For immediate upcoming projects I use a future project list, which contains a small number of projects. The rest come into my someday/maybe list. I also use ticklers in my calendar to revisit a non-active project.

                    It depends upon your personality type.

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                    • #11
                      I'm surprised no one mentioned the Waiting For list. It exactly for this type of situation. It's a real Next Action list, but the Next Action is just someone else's. Things move back and forth between my other Next Action lists and my Waiting For all the time. It's my most active list.

                      If it is something that you want to see in your next Weekly Review, then I would use your Waiting For list. If you want it out-of-sight, out-of-mind until a designated day, then I would use your Tickler file. Each of these would take less than 30 seconds to activate, and the item would be safely out of the way until the right time.

                      Should it stay on the Projects list? I would keep it there. It is active, and the Next Action is in the Waiting For context. As far as keeping the Project list clean, the only time you should be looking at the Project list is when you are adding a Project, or reviewing them during your Weekly Review. There is nothing there to do anyway. All the to-dos are in your Next Actions lists (including Waiting For and Agendas). The Projects list is just placeholders to make sure your multi-step goals don't fall off the radar when you check off a Next Action.

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                      • #12
                        Someday / Maybe - The Black Hole

                        I've had a "Someday / Maybe" list for years, and, it had items on it that had been there for years, which seemed useless to me. Those were "open loops" that were sitting there and causing stress.

                        So, about six months ago, I jettisoned it!

                        I'm all for what a few others have mentioned here - if something is going to be delayed, put a tickler out on the calendar, then move on. Maybe consider keeping it on a "pending list," or, what I do is move the project in question to the bottom of my Projects List. When I do my weekly (yeah, well, okay, occasional) review, I see that it has a calendar item on it for a tickler and I immediately move on from it, knowing that "it's taken care of."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Scott Moehring View Post
                          I'm surprised no one mentioned the Waiting For list. It exactly for this type of situation. It's a real Next Action list, but the Next Action is just someone else's.
                          I agree. This is a situation for the Waiting For list.

                          That said, if the Waiting For stretches on for a long time, I'll tend to move the project off my Projects list, and on to Someday/Maybe.

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                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=MrProactive;55102]I've had a "Someday / Maybe" list for years, and, it had items on it that had been there for years, which seemed useless to me. Those were "open loops" that were sitting there and causing stress.

                            So, about six months ago, I jettisoned it!
                            [QUOTE]

                            I've noted there are two very different type items which go on this list. Things that you for sure want to get done/work on, just not now/this week, and things that you might perhaps want to do sometime in your life.

                            I seperate these into a someday (or you can call it deferred, etc) list, and a maybe list, with the someday items getting moved up as appropriate, and I don't worry at all if the maybe items ever happen.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MrProactive View Post
                              I've had a "Someday / Maybe" list for years, and, it had items on it that had been there for years, which seemed useless to me. Those were "open loops" that were sitting there and causing stress.
                              I've been maintaining a Someday/Maybe list for a long time. It has about 200 items on it, among them half a dozen different trips to various countries.

                              Now, I haven't accomplished those trips. And I haven't moved any further on all of them. But they're parked on my Someday/Maybe list so I can remember to work on them when the time is right for me to go on those trips (e.g., I've saved up enough cash, etc.)

                              What's "useless" about that?

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