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  • Trouble understanding Project step/planning step...

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to the GTD idea and have read GTD the are of stress free productivity. I have no problem with understanding the Inbox part of the work flow diagram, but I run into problems with the project planning stuff.

    So here is a real world example. I want to go back to school and get a PhD. So in my little inbox I have a piece of paper that says get a PhD. This is actionable and obiously is a multistep project.

    What then after I have identified that it is a multistep project? Make a folder that says get PHD then what? From here it seems like there are a lot of things that I need to do such as find a university, talk to a professor, call federal student aid between the hours of 8-5 EST and ask what my student loan balance is, will they defer while I'm in training, etc.

    Thanks
    Steve

  • #2
    Originally posted by nzdreamer55 View Post
    What then after I have identified that it is a multistep project? Make a folder that says get PHD then what? From here it seems like there are a lot of things that I need to do such as find a university, talk to a professor, call federal student aid between the hours of 8-5 EST and ask what my student loan balance is, will they defer while I'm in training, etc.
    Yes, there are a lot of steps. Many of them are projects in their own right. Write those steps down, and put the list in the project folder you just created. Identify the single immediately doable action that will move your PhD project forward, and write that on the appropriate Next Action context list.

    Good luck!

    Katherine

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by nzdreamer55 View Post
      Make a folder that says get PHD then what? From here it seems like there are a lot of things that I need to do such as find a university, talk to a professor, call federal student aid between the hours of 8-5 EST and ask what my student loan balance is, will they defer while I'm in training, etc.
      My tactic would be separate all those tasks into separate projects, then figure out what project has to happen first and make that one active. If some projects can happen simultaneously then make several active and just keep plugging away. Spend some extra time at weekly review to be sure you have everything thought out well enough.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by nzdreamer55 View Post
        What then after I have identified that it is a multistep project? Make a folder that says get PHD then what? From here it seems like there are a lot of things that I need to do such as find a university, talk to a professor, call federal student aid between the hours of 8-5 EST and ask what my student loan balance is, will they defer while I'm in training, etc.
        I agree with previous posters you can just start adding next actions to your context lists, and projects to your projects lists, based on your project thinking around the "Get PhD" project. e.g. "Find University" would go on your projects list, "Call student aid re: loan balance and deferment" on your @phone list, etc.

        You could also ask yourself whether "Get PhD" is part of something larger - like an overall vision for what you want your life to be (not to sound flaky but I really love this part of GTD the horizons of focus and really going all the way up to 50,000ft and coming all the way down to the runway for everything). Then you could further update your goals/objectives, vision, values appropriately.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by nzdreamer55 View Post
          Hello everyone,

          I'm new to the GTD idea and have read GTD the are of stress free productivity. I have no problem with understanding the Inbox part of the work flow diagram, but I run into problems with the project planning stuff.

          So here is a real world example. I want to go back to school and get a PhD. So in my little inbox I have a piece of paper that says get a PhD. This is actionable and obiously is a multistep project.

          What then after I have identified that it is a multistep project? Make a folder that says get PHD then what? From here it seems like there are a lot of things that I need to do such as find a university, talk to a professor, call federal student aid between the hours of 8-5 EST and ask what my student loan balance is, will they defer while I'm in training, etc.

          Thanks
          Steve
          Getting a Ph.D. is most likely a goal with a horizon of 5 years or longer (the average in physics is running at about 6 years), which puts it at 40,000 feet. For full-time study, the time to start the admissions process for Fall 2010 is now. Your first project, on a time scale of a month to six weeks, is to R&D Ph.D. programs. A lot of information is on the web. Good luck!

          Comment


          • #6
            agreed w/ the posters above. I would suggest talking through it like you're explaining it in under 2 minutes to a friend.

            "to get a PhD i'll have to "

            - crystalize the why? list the benefits
            - Research out schools
            - Decide on the school, and programs
            - Calendar out to see how this would fit in my daily/ weekly life
            - Confirm commitments with relevant family members
            - Execute! sign up for the program
            - start planning back to school list

            then at least you have a skeleton of what the general steps are to "get a PhD" and you can fill out the more granular steps inbetween as single action items.

            Good luck!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              Getting a Ph.D. is most likely a goal with a horizon of 5 years or longer (the average in physics is running at about 6 years), which puts it at 40,000 feet. For full-time study, the time to start the admissions process for Fall 2010 is now. Your first project, on a time scale of a month to six weeks, is to R&D Ph.D. programs. A lot of information is on the web. Good luck!
              I agree with you except I personally would make it a 30,000ft goal rather than a 40,000ft "vision", even if it takes a bit longer than the rule-of-thumb time scales for goals and objectives from the book.

              To me the 40,000ft vision would be (for example) "I am a tenured professor at McGill University doing computational linguistics research" from which I would click down to 30,000ft to define the objective "Complete PhD" and then down to projects for "Apply for grad school".

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mackiest View Post
                I agree with you except I personally would make it a 30,000ft goal rather than a 40,000ft "vision", even if it takes a bit longer than the rule-of-thumb time scales for goals and objectives from the book.

                To me the 40,000ft vision would be (for example) "I am a tenured professor at McGill University doing computational linguistics research" from which I would click down to 30,000ft to define the objective "Complete PhD" and then down to projects for "Apply for grad school".
                As DA points out, once you get beyond projects the hierarchy gets fuzzy, so ok. However, getting to a tenured professorship from a bachelor's degree is somewhere around 15 years uphill for those who make the climb. I would say it's more like 50K, reflecting a big part of what your life is.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You’ll want to read and re-read Chapter 3 a couple of times: The Five Phases of Project Planning.

                  That isn’t sufficient, of course. You’ll also want to follow the steps. The temptation is always to skip right to the end with the Next Actions, which you’ve already done a little, but try your best to start at the top and thoughtfully follow every step.

                  And, critically, you’ll want to record all those great ideas generated by the process.

                  This is likely to be a pretty personal process for you, but if you’re so inclined, I think it’d be helpful to you and everyone else here to post the ongoing results to the forum. It’s a side of the process that doesn’t get shared very often.



                  Cheers,
                  Roger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We're currently reading this chapter

                    Originally posted by Roger View Post
                    You’ll want to read and re-read Chapter 3 a couple of times: The Five Phases of Project Planning.
                    We're currently reading and discussing this chapter in the GTD Connect Book Club http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10125.

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