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Is this a project?

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  • Is this a project?

    Hello,

    I was wondering if for example reading a book is a project, since I'll obviously not finish it in one time?

    Also a "project" that really consists of say 10 identical, repeated tasks - is that a project or is that one task? For example - interview 10 experts, ask them the exact same questions, etc. It's basically the same task, only done 10 times, just like the book thing - I'll maybe open it 10 times before I finish it, but all I'll be doing is really the same thing - reading.

    And another thing, slightly off topic - how to stay disciplined?

    I know I have the desire to finish all my projects and meet my goals, but it's like I don't really have the drive, and I always fall back.

    All suggestions from people who've "been there" are greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    Re interviewing 10 experts, I will say that is a project. Your goal I assume is to gather the information from those interviews for further steps in that project or to create further project(s). Creating a project also allows you to see at what point you are in the interviews.

    Regarding reading a book, I say it depends upon the book. I will create projects for books that I'm reading for business purposes. A project for that will show me what I'm working on and how far I'm in that book. For many of these books I will also take notes which I will want to process. I will incorporate that into the project.

    If it is a book for personal enjoyment with no real deadline, then I usually don't create a project. If it's a book club book that I somehow cannot seem to get through, I will create a project.

    What motivates me to finish projects is:

    1. creating projects small enough to check off (some prefer larger projects, so use your judgment)

    2. defining a successful outcome of the project. I have learned that what motivates the best is a clear vision of that outcome - something positive. What helps even further is to relate a project to a positive goal you want to achieve.

    3. making the decision that this is a project that I want to accomplish. During the weekly review you can decide to move forward with a project, temporarily shelve it (someday/maybe), or delete it altogether.

    I hope this helps.

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    • #3
      Interviewing ten experts is definitely a project. As someone who does a lot of interviewing, I can tell you that it's never as simple as "@Call Interview John Expert." I'll get his voice mail and spend a week playing phone tag. Or he'll be on vacation, and I'll have to call someone else and play phone tag with that person. Or he'll direct me to someone who can give me much better answers. Or I'll have followup questions...

      Definitely a project.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Test_John View Post
        I was wondering if for example reading a book is a project, since I'll obviously not finish it in one time?

        I know I have the desire to finish all my projects and meet my goals, but it's like I don't really have the drive, and I always fall back.
        I'd say reading the book is a project, and the next action might be "read for 30 minutes".

        Personally I do track books I might want to buy but not the books I'm reading right now. For example, I'm currently reading "Making it all work". It's on my nightstand, and I read before bed each night. It never has my attention, and I never worry that I might not be reading enough, so no need to get it into my system.

        In terns of your desire/drive question, there is a great tip from the GTD Connect Productivity Principles newsletter that I quote below:

        "The master discipline is not hard work. It's actually no work at all, because work requires time and effort. A shift in your direction of focus is instantaneous, with zero expenditure of energy. Yet it remains the master key to a positive experience of life and creating results. "Motivation" and "discipline" are often heralded as critical factors; but both require themselves to create themselves. You have to be motivated to motivate yourself and disciplined to discipline yourself, which is a Catch-22. When you observe behavior that appears motivated and disciplined, you can always trace it back to the choice to simply put a focus on one thing versus another."

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        • #5
          Regarding motivation. As some self-help teachers have written, one has to "cultivate a burning desire". I found that to be true. To decide what you want, to set a goal, is one thing. To have a burning desire quite another. It does not come for free, you have to work on it to get it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Test_John View Post
            I was wondering if for example reading a book is a project, since I'll obviously not finish it in one time?

            Also a "project" that really consists of say 10 identical, repeated tasks - is that a project or is that one task? For example - interview 10 experts, ask them the exact same questions, etc. It's basically the same task,
            I don't consider reading a specific book a project but a next action. What I have as a project is read 1 non-fiction, 1 fiction and 1 old ag book a week but my next actions are read "The Ghost Brigades", read the 1914 UK ag yearbook and read "The Island at the Center of the World". In my world I can have a single next action that can span months or years but I am an anomaly in the GTD universe.

            However, your interviews are projects. Each interviewee is a project because you will for sure have problems or actions that need to be taken. Now you might make a checklist so you cover all the bases, ask all the right questions etc. but I'd put each person as a separate project because they will all result in specific different next actions.

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