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Having many projects increases time to get "IN" to

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  • Having many projects increases time to get "IN" to

    After 16 or os months of GTD, maybe I don't understand something, so any comments here would help. I am at the point where I rarely have a new project because I have a lot of existing ones. The more projects I have, whether active or SDMB, the longer it takes me to process my daily IN. So, I come to an "IN" item that I recognize is part of a project. Then, my next step is to determine if it is part of a project already in my project list. First I look through my active projects, then, if need be, my SDMB projects. That searching step requires quite a few minutes of thumbing through pages (I am a paper user). Then, having come to the right project, I need to read through my notes to see if I have either noted it already or done it already . If I have not, then I need to determine if it is a next action and put it into the correct context list or lists. Sometimes, the item cannot be done until something else is done, but I need to note it or I will forget about it. Sometimes however the item is not sequential but nevertheless essential to the project, so after all that searching and thinking, it needs to go on a context list or a calendar, or I find it is in "waiting for" already. At one point I had a running projects list but I found I was jotting so many ideas and steps down that I could not read it, so now each project gets a page and if it has subprojects that gets noted and they follow. Does this sound familiar? So, in short, most of my INs are parts of existing projects, something to be added to a checklist of recurrent actions, or something that I already have noted in "waiting for" soit takes several minutes to track down where just one item is. What to do?

  • #2
    Jamie,

    I am still struggling with projects myself: for a ong time I have just been tracking tasks, but this is leading to huge lists of things which dont seem to get done. So you're well ahead of me.

    The theory is fairly clear, though: you do need that running list of projects, but you need to make sure that this doesn't get confused with the project support.

    If you are using paper, you might like to consider index cards so you can flip through the top lines as your projects list and work through ideas and inspirations in the cards themselves.

    This is hard, though, and you shouldn't worry too much if you have a few tasks or projects duplicated during the week. The weekly review is your opportunity to tidy up.

    Hope this helps...

    FBA

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    • #3
      Hello Jamie,

      maybe you are overwhelmed by your project support material. Handling project support material was my main problem when I started to improve my working habits and to some extent it still is.

      At one point I had a running projects list but I found I was jotting so many ideas and steps down that I could not read it, so now each project gets a page and if it has subprojects that gets noted and they follow. Does this sound familiar?
      Yes, been there, too. For me it is important to have a list of current projects that contains also the subprojects and to separate this list from the project support material that consists of the notes and plans for the projects and all that “in and out stuff” that belongs to specific projects. Without this separation GTD would not work for me. I need the reminders to be separated from the papers that the reminders remind me of. The reminders (lists) go into organizer binders and the papers (support material) go into file folders.

      And I have given up on treating all incoming papers as equally important. Often I want to push the progress of a few certain projects somewhat and “scan” my inbox whether it contains stuff for these certain projects, and take out what I need for these projects. Then I go through the rest of the In-stuff rather fast and decide whether there is something that has to be done today. All the other stuff I put unprocessed into a manila file folder that goes into my “pending material box”. Onto the manila folder I attach a sticky yellow note that says “Process at ... !” with tomorrow’s date. I know this can be “dangerous” but I like to focus more on the output than on the input. And often it is more important to produce some useful outcome than to spent precious mental energy and time on nonsense letters that come in from other departments.

      Hope this helps!

      Rainer

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