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  • Recurring tasks are projects?

    OK - so I teach a class once a month. There are certain things I do at the start of the year (or semester) to get things going in general - general outlines, etc...

    But then, before each class there is a certain amount of prep time as well.

    How does that look on a project list?

    Once I get the initial planning done, how do I keep it current so that the before class planning doesn't get forgotten and pushed aside?

    What is the name of a project like this?

    I ask because many I have many such commitments.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    How about a tickler or other reminder a set amount of time before each class?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bottleblue View Post
      OK - so I teach a class once a month. There are certain things I do at the start of the year (or semester) to get things going in general - general outlines, etc...

      But then, before each class there is a certain amount of prep time as well.

      How does that look on a project list?

      Once I get the initial planning done, how do I keep it current so that the before class planning doesn't get forgotten and pushed aside?

      What is the name of a project like this?

      I ask because many I have many such commitments.
      I think the answer depends on:
      a) how do YOU want to see things
      b) what tools you use, and how you use them
      c) the number and kind of items of this type

      When I teach a large course for non-majors, I have a fixed schedule that keeps everyone (including me) moving along. In graduate courses, I have a much more flexible approach. In any case, my final lecture prep is usually done the night before. I don't need many reminders for teaching, just ticklers in my calendar. If simple ticklers work for you, use them. But you have to decide when and how often you want or need the reminders. Too frequent, and you go numb to the reminder. Of course, I also have my courses as projects, and there is the weekly review to jog my memory too. If you have a lot of similar projects, e.g., many classes but not part of the same course, you might consider something like a "Classes" category of projects. For each class, I would title it "Class XXX DUE YY". And don't forget the value of checklists in simplifying preparation. I do not recommend consolidated projects like "Teach all fall classes"- it's too easy for stuff to fall through the cracks.

      Comment


      • #4
        recuring tasks as projects

        To me, if the recurring task is so automatic you need hardly think about it (e.g. brush your teeth before going to bed), save maybe to ensure that supplies are at hand, it is not a project. Similarly if the time involved is automatically there for you it is routine; that is, you and everyone who is impacted by your schedule knows about it and expects that you do this. But, if you are trying to make it automatic or it has themes and variations that require a little more mental or physical energy, or other things need to be running along or projects can emerge that could could bump your focus off this one, you might define it as a project. Also, for me, many monthly tasks end up having a kind of novelty because of their infrequency and hence they are projects. I forget how I did it from one month to the next or there is room to make if different. Depending on how much contorol you have over your schedule and your preference, you might want to try to do something weekly as part of the preperation or follow-up (this works for someone with a lot of self-discipline, not necessarily all the time). Or find another way to spread the actions out over time since you just have a deliverable monthly.

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        • #5
          Agreed with others here. I handle that kind of situation as follows:

          I write down the relevant details on a piece of paper, and stick it in my tickler. When that paper comes up, it becomes a project.

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          • #6
            If it is recurring, mightn't it best be captured in a checklist?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
              If it is recurring, mightn't it best be captured in a checklist?
              Excellent point, ArcCaster! I usually put a rough checklist on my tickler paper, come to think of it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Checklists?

                Can someone tell me more about how they use checklists? I think this might be one thing I can use for my recurring tasks that happen weekly or monthly as opposed to a project.

                What about an agenda I have to compile every week for a committee meeting? What kind of list is this?

                Comment


                • #9
                  In my experience an agenda is roughly the same each time with the details changing. Since you say you prefer paper, I would keep a paper template in my binder for each week. I'd keep a few ahead in blanks too. Then, as items came up, I'd jot them on to the list. Maybe a day or so before the meeting you want to set aside a few minutes to organize and type up the stuff you've got on there.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In my notebook I carry everywhere at work, I'll designate a page for an upcoming meeting. As items are identified (by someone else or by me) as needing to be discussed in the meeting, I'll add it to the page. Sometimes there are also emails I flag that have the details. Then when it's agenda time, I'll list the items in a logical order (if there is one), include the standard items, and send out the agenda in an email. I'll print a copy to take to the meeting and I'll print out a copy of each related email, turning off the flags as I print them.

                    For checklists, I have one for a morning at the office routine. It reminds me, among other things, to
                    Check my tickler
                    Scan my calendar
                    Clean my glasses
                    Scan my email
                    Scan my actions
                    Take my vitamins
                    Get water to drink

                    I also have a checklist for some documents I maintain for a large distribution list that I kept forgetting to do all the edits on. Now I have a list to remind me to
                    Update the date in the footer
                    Remove blank lines
                    Adjust the line numbers
                    spell check
                    Put borders around new items
                    check that the text fits
                    Adjust the print area
                    Distribute to the (proper distribution list)
                    Store in the document repository.

                    It was just too many things to remember and now I don't have stupid mistakes - just content errors.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Where do you store checklists in your system?

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                      • #12
                        There are different kinds of checklists.

                        If a checklist is related to something i have to do at some point in the future--such as cleaning my A/C unit, or my Weekly Review--it goes in my tickler as my reminder to do it.

                        If a checklist is used only when something else is complete--such as my list of words and phrases to avoid when writing--it goes in my general reference system (A-Z filing system, or a computer file).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          How I manage recurring tasks with Microsoft Outlook and a Palm PDA

                          After searching the forum far and wide for some insight on how to manage recurring action items, I finally figured out an effective way to manage them using Microsoft Outlook's Calendar application. I've used this method for over a month now and deemed it effective enough to share with others.

                          Like most people, I have action items that I must handle weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc as well as action items that may be tied to a specific month (e.g. wax car every April and November). I track these items in Outlook by setting up recurring "all-day" appointments on my calendar that holds a plain-text checklist of action items along with Outlook Task attachments. I have one recurring appointment for each calendar month and one for common intervals like weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, etc. When one of these appointments shows up on my calendar, I open the appointment and drag each attachment to the Tasks folder. This allows me to effortlessly add these recurring tasks to my action lists.

                          I've attached some screen shots that illustrate this technique.

                          This is, of course, not the end-all-be all solution, but it's worked well for me as part of my overall system. I use this technique in conjunction with my tickler file and other checklists to keep things from falling through the cracks.

                          Some Notes:

                          Though one can create repeating/recurring tasks, synchronization issues with the Palm have plagued every one of my attempts to use them, so I don't recommend the use of recurrence on Outlook Tasks.

                          Changing the Note text on the Palm has no impact on the task attachments unless you actually delete the note, so don't fear viewing the Note attachments on your Palm.

                          Good luck and best regards to all!
                          Attached Files

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