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Long house repairs: project or AoF?

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  • Long house repairs: project or AoF?

    Last summer, a water tank burst in my house due to pressure; I wasn't in the city right then, and it took some time before they could cut the water supply, so it has caused a series of wrecks that will take some time to be solved (for example, the parquet is taking very long to get dry because of the materials of the layer bellow it seems, etc).

    I first framed the whole thing as a megaproject, 'House repairs finished', comprising a series of subprojects, mostly creating systems and checklists for things to do before and after the workers come, and structuring my time so I can 'babysit' them effectively and make the process as fluid as possible.

    However, the other day I thought that it would feel very good to see this whole thing as an area of focus. On one hand, I know doing such violates the rule of '20K are things that you cannot mark as done'. But, on the other hand, treating this as a project feels a bit vague sometimes, because it is not 'giving myself a game I can win', but very often something I have to go through as painlessly as possible (I can only set a very rough due date on the thing... There's not much I can do about climatic conditions, the whim of Spanish workers, my landlord's insurance company politics...)

    This got me thinking that maybe I've not been flexible enough about my AoF; to put an extreme example, if one day I discovered that I had a terrible disease, dealing with it would become an AoF, even if the disease is such that I hope for the best and I'm confident that some day I'll be completely recovered. My home is under such 'disease state' right now, so to say.

    However, I also wonder if all of this is psychologically safe; I mean, creating an AoF called 'house repairs' feels to me a clear way of structuring the info, but it could also be seen as 'reactive', as 'granting eternity' to the whole thing. What do you guys think, how would you handle this in your case?

  • #2
    Clearly an AOF for Me

    I would clearly call that an AOF for me.

    First off I find that subprojects get too confusing to manage and handle so I prefer to see a very flat structure of all the projects I might need to do. Second, just because it is going to eventually be done doesn't mean it's not an AOF now. Roles and responsibilities change over time. They are not meant to be as static list you never can adapt.

    I'd say put it as an AOF, flatten out your projects by making most or all of your subprojects full projects just put some in Someday/Maybe for now and go forward. If it isn't working for you then change it later.


    • #3
      I'd call it an AoF too. Believe me, the house will never be 'finished'!!!!


      • #4
        I would agree and call it an AofF for the moment. This is obviously something long term, due to the nature of the work needed. It's also an area where you may find other, hopefully more fun, projects to add to the mix as the work progresses. You might want to consider a "wild success" statement for the Area - Julie Ireland wrote an excellent article about this in the Coaches Connection section on creating AofFs that inspire:

        You might also want to consider added the item to your 30K goals, or perhaps your 40K vision of how the house will feel when it is complete.

        Hope this is helpful.


        • #5
          Well, the verdict seems quite clear: area of focus by 3 to 0, and maybe the reason why my 20K list never appealed to me: I tried to do everything too permanent and it became too stale, detached from the actual facts of my life.

          In fact, this doubt came to me this morning while I was revamping my projects; I once heard some GTD coach say that the common misconception was treating as projects things that are in fact AOF. I didn't think that it applied to me, but this morning I've discovered that I've been doing that a lot. Then, when I reached the repair stuff, I wasn't clear.

          So thank you all for your great advice, which also works for me as a reaffirmation. I think now I have a better grasp of the 20K because, in fact, I feel like going through it and taking it to a new level. Thank you


          • #6
            Your home is an area of focus. It's a neverending source of work.

            Recovering from a disaster such as a flooded basement is a measurable outcome: a project. That project could have many sub-projects under it but I would identify the largest possible outcome first and foremost and put it on the Projects list.


            • #7
              Projects have a completion within the next 12-18 months. Areas of Focus don't complete, unless you stop focusing, maintaining, or caring about that area.