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  • What to do with projects (like shopping lists) that come and go?

    I'm new to GTD, and so far I have a love/hate relationship. I feel like it is the right system for me, but it seems a little too complicated to master to be useful...anyways, my question...

    What do you do with Projects (like "Home Shopping List") that are constantly being formed and completed. For example:

    MONDAY: I create a Project from the list of actions "Buy Cheese" "Buy milk" "Buy toilet Paper."
    TUESDAY: Project completed.
    THURSDAY: I record action "Buy paper towels"
    FRIDAY: I record action "buy orange juice." (I now have my shopping list project again)

    Do I keep an ongoing "Shopping list" Project, and not check it completed even when it is not filled with actions? But any Project without actions is not a project.

    I use omnifocus (if that matters)

    Thanks

  • #2
    I keep a running (paper) shopping list in the kitchen. When it gets long enough, or I'm going out to run other errands, I buy everything on it and throw the piece of paper away. It's outside my GTD system, except that I'll create an @Errand Next Action when something requires more immediate attention or can't be purchased at my usual grocery store. (Examples include shopping for a party or other event, or buying unusual ingredients.) I keep similar lists for pet stuff and office supplies.

    I throw all financial stuff in a pile when I process the mail, and have a reminder to work through it once a week or so. Similarly, I augment this with appropriate Next Actions for things that need special attention. (Ordering foreign currency for a trip, say, or following up with a slow-paying client.)

    Do these examples help?

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Originally posted by propynyl View Post
      I'm new to GTD, and so far I have a love/hate relationship. I feel like it is the right system for me, but it seems a little too complicated to master to be useful...anyways, my question...

      What do you do with Projects (like "Home Shopping List") that are constantly being formed and completed. For example:

      Do I keep an ongoing "Shopping list" Project, and not check it completed even when it is not filled with actions? But any Project without actions is not a project.
      First, keep at it. I've been doing GTD for several years, and it just takes time to "get it".

      If you really want to have a next action after a shopping trip, maybe it's "brainstorm stuff to buy at the store".

      But Katherine's advice is good: maybe you need a collection bucket that is a had written list in the kitchen. Not everything needs to be in Omnifocus

      I use a combination of the handwritten list, context specific purchases in lifebalance, and splashshopper on my Treo.

      - Don

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      • #4
        @ Errands

        I just throw all of those types of things into @ Errands individually...starting with a store name if applicable.

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        • #5
          Thanks! All good suggestions.
          I think my problem is I'm trying to overdiversify everything into a million project. If I need to buy something NOT associated with a given project, I will lump it into one big ERRANDS context.

          I'm trying to shy away from handwriten notes, because all of my systems revolve around my iMac and iPhone. (big techie)

          Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            You could also have subcontexts of your "Errands" list--this would be super easy to do on an iPhone. Just have a permanent "placeholder" list for each of the locations you tend to buy stuff--grocery, drugstore, Main St. or whatever. When you think of something, add it to the list. When you are in context/store X, buy the things on that list, and then delete the items you bought. Then add the next thing you think of to the list and repeat. If something becomes super-urgent, add a day-specific reminder to your calendar that you've got to get item Q. Then, while you're there, grab everything else that's on the list for that location.

            The same could work for repeated meetings, etc. Say if every week you have a team meeting, then you could probably have an @Agenda-team meeting placeholder that you add things to during the week, delete once you've discussed them at the meeting, and then begin with the same list again.

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            • #7
              It's a context, not a project!

              Your shopping list is a context list, not a project! People have been calling it the errands context here. It might be empty when there is nothing on it. It contains action items from a few projects, and a few one-off actions.

              Regards,
              Abhay

              Comment


              • #8
                level of skill

                If your skills in shopping, meal planning and food storage and perparation are at the beginner level, or your situation has changed so you are applying your skills in a new way (more or fewer kids at home, more distance to stores, changing your eating habits), then your shopping list might be a project. You will need n/as in their contexts to move it along so you can take it with you and complete the project.

                Even if you are experienced with these activities, there may be some things you do beside write down what you run out of as you go along.

                @ ?(calendar) check whose is going to be where this week, so you can plan the meals.

                @ adgenda--?family meeting -find out if anyone needs to bring anythng special anywhere

                @ ?where--read through newspaper grocery ads to help form menu plans.

                @ home- clean out frig and survey freezer and pantry to see what needs to be used up, and what needs to be replenished.

                One other thought -in your @Lists keep a list of stuff you know you will probably need to buy everyweek whether or not delpleted.

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                • #9
                  As a Palm user, I keep a separate shopping list outside of my GTD system in HandyShopper. I don't add anything to my @Errands list until I absolutely must go shopping. This commonly happens when I decide in advance that want to make a particular meal and I realize that I do not have the ingredients on hand. Then I put "Go grocery shopping" on my @Errands list and use the HandyShopper database to support my action.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Throw away projects

                    I call these throw away projects and don't use my GTD at all to track them.

                    If you have a cell phone with Internet access you can use a program like Jott, you might want to give it a try. You can call your Jott telephone number and basically leave a message with your grocery list. It will be transcribed and saved to your home folder. Then when you get to the store, just open Jott from your cell phone and you have the list in front of you.

                    I've written several posts about my experiences with GTD on my blog at http://johnkendrick.wordpress.com/how-to-gtd/ John

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by abhay View Post
                      Your shopping list is a context list, not a project! People have been calling it the errands context here. It might be empty when there is nothing on it. It contains action items from a few projects, and a few one-off actions.

                      Regards,
                      Abhay
                      I'd call it a checklist. Using a Palm smartphone, I put the shopping excursion on my @Errands list, with a note attachment that contains my shopping list. There's nothing wrong with using an entire list category on the Palm to do the same thing, but I keep my categories to a minimum, and I'd probably forget the option of grocery shopping if I were out for errand if the shopping was on a separate list; I'd forget to look at that list.

                      But I also wouldn't consider shopping a project. If shopping enabled a specific larger outcome, like a dinner party, I'd make that a project

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Andre Kibbe View Post
                        ]But I also wouldn't consider shopping a project. If shopping enabled a specific larger outcome, like a dinner party, I'd make that a project
                        great point.
                        Lots of great responses.

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                        • #13
                          I use a @shops context in my moleskine where each item goes individually. No projects.

                          Then the day before or on the day I copy the items (depending on what shops im going to) onto a index card on the front of hte moleskine which acts as a "today" list.

                          hope this helps

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                          • #14
                            If you're looking for a way to create a custom checklist online I found this site. http://www.check-umz.com

                            Seems a little plain, but I've used it once and it's okay.

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                            • #15
                              It's interesting that this thread reminds me of one of the Project Management articles I published long ago on PM Hut. The article is titled The todo list - the essence of every project management endeavour with an application in daily life.

                              It's about laying out buying groceries as a Project Plan. The article is definitely interesting, and the writer definitely writes from the heart. You will enjoy it, and you will learn something about Project Management, even if you're not a Project Manager!

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