I usually do OK tracking individual actions and small and medium sized projects. These are items for which I can easily envision the completed state – I know what “done” will look like and I know I will mark these complete in a few days or weeks. Sometimes, however, I have projects where the completion date is not days or weeks ahead but months or years ahead. I find those harder to keep in front of me. Even with regular review, I sometimes find it difficult to keep a sense of time about a project that is off in the distant future.
As I prepare to launch eProductivity, a GTD implementation tool for Lotus Notes , I need to keep one or two key milestones in sight at all times. Specifically, we have a few big milestones – things like “launch web site” or “Prepare for meeting with David” or “Deliver presentation to IBM” that we have been working on for many months or in the case of the product launch, several years.
Several months ago, I watched a NASA Shuttle mission video and I was inspired by their countdown clock and their mission elapsed clock. I decided that I needed my own countdown clock, so I decided to create one for myself.
Starting with a countdown clock mechanism that I purchased on-line, I created a custom clock face and built five eProductivity countdown clocks. I set each one to the date of a key milestone. I kept one clock for myself and I sent the other four to key people on my team. Now, I have a tangible reminder of each event and the time remaining in which to complete it. I’ve had the clock on my desk for a few months now and it’s been a fun reminder of an event that I am looking forward to. The key question “What’s your next action?” keeps me focused on the little things that I need to accomplish to achieve my goal.
It’s been a fun way to get things done.