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  • Newbie Help - Where to Put Project Actions?

    I have recently taken on GTD and so far so good. However, I am still working out the kinks and have a few questions.

    When I am processing my inbox and I come across a project - Buy New House - which I am currently doing, I put it on my Personal Projects List as Buy New House.

    Then I create a folder that says Buy New House that has all my gathered info and notes extra. My question to the GTD community is - When I do this I naturally start thinking of a million things I need to do. When I make a brainstormed list of everything I need to do where do I put this and how do I process it?

    Thanks in advance
    Jake

  • #2
    I will create a master project and list many subprojects, each having its support material folder(s). I also have a pending project list that houses projects that I am about to activate. Not everyone uses a pending or future project list, though. Anything that doesn't seem that imminent, such as "buy new bedroom set", would go in my someday/maybe file.

    Since this is a large project, it may be easier to break it into separate projects, that you activate as necessary:
    Prequalify for mortgage
    Check school districts
    Create a What-I-want-in-a-house checklist
    etc.

    For brainstorming notes, I would write everything (!) down and preorganize into the proper support folders or task lists, because this is an important and life-changing project and these "someday/maybes" (or pending projects, in my case) will become active very quickly once it gets going. Therefore, I would also prepare as many of these as much as possible, while remaining flexible for any changes, additions, or deletions.

    But this is what's great about GTD - in the past, it would have been, and it was, one big semi-organized but jumbled mess.

    Comment


    • #3
      I haven't been doing this long, but personally if it's a pretty straight forward project I will just keep a list of next actions in my project folder and put the very next action on to my next actions list. If the project is a bit more involved I plan my project in project manager or some other sort of gantt charting software, then if there are a couple of next actions in different contexts that can be done I put them all into my next action list. For example when looking for a new house you might have identified that you want to search what is out there online and in the papers or talk to an agent. So, you might have three next actions, one in calls - talk to agent, one in @computer - check online and one in errands - pick up paper... they are not reliant on each other so they can all become available in the next actions lists.

      I hope that makes sense. Basically either way, I keep the very next action/s for a project on my next action list and then when I have finished one I check my paper list or my gannt chart to see what the next next action is.

      Comment


      • #4
        I haven't been doing this long, but personally if it's a pretty straight forward project I will just keep a list of next actions in my project folder and put the very next action on to my next actions list. If the project is a bit more involved I plan my project in project manager or some other sort of gantt charting software, then if there are a couple of next actions in different contexts that can be done I put them all into my next action list. For example when looking for a new house you might have identified that you want to search what is out there online and in the papers or talk to an agent. So, you might have three next actions, one in calls - talk to agent, one in @computer - check online and one in errands - pick up paper... they are not reliant on each other so they can all become available in the next actions lists.

        I hope that makes sense. Basically either way, I keep the very next action/s for a project on my next action list and then when I have finished one I check my paper list or my gannt chart to see what the next next action is.

        Comment


        • #5
          Reference material

          Originally posted by cubicjake View Post
          When I make a brainstormed list of everything I need to do where do I put this and how do I process it?
          If you wish, record these ideas on a separate sheet (or even in a project management software file) and make this a part of your reference material.

          Since multitasking is a bad idea, you'll need to squeeze a sequential stream of next actions out of your records. What you've recorded will serve as an excellent source of ideas, but as you proceed, especially with huge projects, you'll see that many steps and ideas become obsolete and simply don't apply anymore.

          With respect to processing, just keep in mind that many things are important, but only one thing can be done at a time. It's mostly futile to try and figure out minimal differences in "importance" between two tasks: if you can't decide which one is "more" important, just throw a dice and make better use of your time by *completing* one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Welcome to GTD! I'm sure all of us here appreciate how much smoother your house sale will go with a system like this. Well done. Now,

            > When I am processing my inbox and I come across a project - Buy New House - which I am currently doing, I put it on my Personal Projects List as Buy New House.

            Good - It'll take more than one step to accomplish, so it's a project. Put an entry on your master projects list (personal, if you've split personal and professional), and make a folder for it if you have some paper to file. Use the same name as the master entry. In this case, you know you'll have plenty of paper, so go ahead and create the folder right away, if you'd like.

            > When I do this I naturally start thinking of a million things I need to do. When I make a brainstormed list of everything I need to do where do I put this and how do I process it?

            Put it in the folder! If you use an electronic tool, put the file in a folder on your disk with the same name as your project. As ideas come to you during the day, or when (say) meeting with your partner, put them in the folder as well. I keep it simple and use a legal pad for notes.

            I wouldn't break the project into separate parts at first, unless you decide you want multiple big pieces moving ahead simultaneously. But you will want to do some planning of steps to take, e.g.,

            o research realtors
            o select realtor
            o meet with her to decide when and how much to list for
            o list house
            o wait for inquiries and show house
            o ...

            There are phases when you'll be active, and times when you'll be waiting. And you'll want to use your Waiting For list and calendar, of course. Waiting for inspector's report, waiting for buyer's response, open house date, closing date(!), etc.

            Finally, you'll probably have an overall plan for the project, commonly kept at the front of the folder. It'll have major actions, milestones, status, etc.

            Hope that helps; good luck!

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