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When the Project List Becomes the de facto Inbox....

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  • When the Project List Becomes the de facto Inbox....

    I use a small notebook/calendar to keep track of my lists and appointments.

    I have both an "Inbox" page as well as a "Projects" list. What I'm finding, however, is that when I have a thought (e.g., wash car), I'll bypass the Inbox page and add it straight to the Projects list.

    I'm wondering is this behavior is contributing to an overflowing Project list, but I can't seem to get around it. I guess I think that I'm instantly processing everything and then parking it on the Project list.

    Any thoughts on this? Is this a common problem?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Elkanah View Post
    I'll bypass the Inbox page and add it straight to the Projects list.
    Just write it on Someday / Maybe instead of Projects.

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    • #3
      If you place an item directly onto your project list, that in and of itself becomes an alternate inbox. Bypassing the inbox and putting something automatically on your project list is not really processing. What you place on your active project list really should be taken seriously, more so than what you have in your inbox.

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      • #4
        If you know it's a project, call a spade a spade

        Deciding that something is a project on the fly is "processing." It doesn't need to hit the inbox as long as you've decided what your commitment to the project is. When I get a project handed to me, it just goes straight on my list, and if there is an NA that's got to get it rolling, I put that in its proper context list.

        Some questions you could use to think about whether or not you really have problem are:
        1) are you growing numb to your project list? Then it might need reassessing.
        2) are NAs showing up on your project list by mistake? For me "wash car" is an NA in the @home context--get out the hose and bucket at the next available opportunity. But for you it might be multi-step and therefore a project.
        3) are NAs for your projects showing up on your context lists? Before you park something in "projects," make sure it has a defined next action and make sure that all your projects have NAs during your weekly review.

        If all the above are A-OK, you may just have a huge, but functional, projects list. C'est la vie!

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        • #5
          It's OK if you define at least one NA too.

          Originally posted by Elkanah View Post
          I'll bypass the Inbox page and add it straight to the Projects list.
          It's OK if you define at least one Next Action for this project too. And add this Next Action to the appropriate context list. Each Project must have at least one Next Action defined.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Elkanah View Post
            I have both an "Inbox" page as well as a "Projects" list. What I'm finding, however, is that when I have a thought (e.g., wash car), I'll bypass the Inbox page and add it straight to the Projects list.
            So, for every idea you have, you immediately commit to it as something you'll do soon?

            As others have said, this is what your Someday/Maybe list is for. You'll be reviewing that list every week and adding an appropriate number of items from it to your Projects list anyway, so you might as well put it there so you don't over-commit.

            You are doing a Weekly Review, right?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Elkanah View Post
              I'm wondering is this behavior is contributing to an overflowing Project list, but I can't seem to get around it. I guess I think that I'm instantly processing everything and then parking it on the Project list.

              Any thoughts on this? Is this a common problem?
              It's not a problem I have - don't worry I have others

              But I'd say there is nothing wrong with adding to the projects lists BUT... you have to deal with the "overflowing" projects list during your next weekly review.

              - Don

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