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Number of Projects limits

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  • Number of Projects limits

    I tried different approaches to Projects management in GTD terms. I tried to limit the number of Projects on my plate by putting some of them to Someday-Maybe category. I tried to juggle all my Projects at the same time. And still can't say that my mind is like water:

    1). When I limit (artificially) the number of active Projects it doesn't mean they stop moving. I still have to handle different requests re: those Projects. For example, I decide not to move the Project and put it into Someday-Maybe. But my mind knows that the life don't stop after that and keeps worry about this Project, other people still do something there regarding it;

    2). When I don't limit the number of Projects of my list I feel Ok. At least that all of them here and rolling somewhere. But the number of Next Actions then becomes unmanageable so that I can't touch them all during the week. And I feel not Ok again

    Do you worry about that?

  • #2
    I used to worry about that, the length of my NA-List nearly drove my crazy, but then I found a really good advice somewhere here in this forum: just establish a third list which lets you have current projects, later projects and someday-maybe-projects. You still won't forget anything but the NA-list lying right in front of you looks much more manageable this way.

    Comment


    • #3
      Active Someday/Maybes

      Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
      1). When I limit (artificially) the number of active Projects it doesn't mean they stop moving. I still have to handle different requests re: those Projects. For example, I decide not to move the Project and put it into Someday-Maybe. But my mind knows that the life don't stop after that and keeps worry about this Project, other people still do something there regarding it;
      Borisoff,

      I guess you're finding out that you are not the only one deciding whether a project is active or not.

      2). When I don't limit the number of Projects of my list I feel Ok. At least that all of them here and rolling somewhere. But the number of Next Actions then becomes unmanageable so that I can't touch them all during the week. And I feel not Ok again
      I think what you have here are projects that you have decided not to work on for a while, but that other people are: a) working on, and b) creating work for you that you can't defer.

      There may be a middle ground for you that allows you to keep the project active without clogging your next action lists. If you think about it, what you are really trying to do is to stop initiating work on some projects, while being available to work on them reactively.

      One way to do that would be to create a Waiting For, a tickler item, or a calendar entry that basically tells you to wait until a certain date before you start actively working on the project again. Your project would be active, but it would only have that one open action item. If no one else works on the project or bothers you about it, the project will just sit there until you start working on it again. However, if some work on that project arrives that you can't defer, then you can create a next action, but only for the non-deferable work.

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      • #4
        What Scott said.

        You might also see if you can find a pattern among the projects that other people make active. Do you have particular clients or coworkers who seem to generate more work than others? Are particular kinds of projects more likely to pop up in this way? If so, then you might be able to either plan followups for those projects at intervals that may pre-empt surprises, or at least have a better idea of how much time to set aside for possible surprises.

        You might also think about just how quickly you need to act on these kinds of interruptions. In my case, I have no control over when potential clients might call with projects for me. However, I *do* have control over whether I actually accept the project, and on what schedule. It may be that you can still defer action as long as you are able to give the source of the interruption some idea when to expect a response.

        (No, deferring customers is not unresponsive. Missing deadlines because you took on more work than you could handle is unresponsive.)

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Looking at this, it made me think of something. Now, I don't know if this would work in your situation, but could you have a set period of time for dealing with these non-active active projects, something outside your weekly review.

          For example, perhaps every other day take 30 minutes to an hour to look at these, and just check that there's nothing new that's popped up that you need to handle. For those projects where you didn't have actions, but other people were still working, if something comes in, if you can defer it to that predetermined period (whether it is scheduled as a hard landscape item or more of a daily task), then you may be able to put your mind at rest. If those times are already scheduled, then these interruptions don't necessarily have an immediate impact on your other active projects, and if nothing comes up, then you free that time for moving forward yourself.

          As an added benefit, if you've got something scheduled and someone contacts you with an action that requires followup, unless it really requires an immediate response, you can reply with the message that you have received their request, and will be dealing with it in the next 24-48 hours (or whenever your next scheduled non-active active project work period is), which is both responsive to them and non-invasive to you.

          HTH

          Adam

          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          What Scott said.

          You might also see if you can find a pattern among the projects that other people make active. Do you have particular clients or coworkers who seem to generate more work than others? Are particular kinds of projects more likely to pop up in this way? If so, then you might be able to either plan followups for those projects at intervals that may pre-empt surprises, or at least have a better idea of how much time to set aside for possible surprises.

          You might also think about just how quickly you need to act on these kinds of interruptions. In my case, I have no control over when potential clients might call with projects for me. However, I *do* have control over whether I actually accept the project, and on what schedule. It may be that you can still defer action as long as you are able to give the source of the interruption some idea when to expect a response.

          (No, deferring customers is not unresponsive. Missing deadlines because you took on more work than you could handle is unresponsive.)

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            I have several projects that are related but not all are active. However, I still need to remember to activate the next project once one is done or at a certain point. I have now put in a task within the task list of a related active project to remind me to start the next project in this series. That way I know the Pending Projects will become active without being worried they will be "forgotten". Alternately, I will put in my calendar if a project needs to start a certain date. So far this is working for me.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Borisoff View Post
              I tried different approaches to Projects management in GTD terms. I tried to limit the number of Projects on my plate by putting some of them to Someday-Maybe category. I tried to juggle all my Projects at the same time. And still can't say that my mind is like water:

              1). When I limit (artificially) the number of active Projects it doesn't mean they stop moving.
              In that case, the Projects aren't Someday/Maybe.

              In my opinion, Someday/Maybe projects are ones that you are consciously deferring by at least one week. If you can't do that, I see no reason for you to put them on Someday/Maybe.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Brent View Post
                In my opinion, Someday/Maybe projects are ones that you are consciously deferring by at least one week.
                I think that's the key right there. You say that when you list them all, you're listing actions that you know you won't be able to get done this week. If you put these projects on your SDMB list with the expectation that they are seen once a week, then you don't necessarily need to worry or artificially limit the number of projects.

                If you finish you're NA's or some projects fall to a lower priority, there's nothing stopping you from going to the SDMB early, but if you don't get to it during the week, you can tell yourself that you know that anything on there is going to be seen at least once a week, so nothing will go missing for long.

                Adam

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