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how to add planned start dates to project list?

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  • how to add planned start dates to project list?

    Maybe I am not really applying GTD effectively or I would not have this question on my mind. I have my list of Projects in Palm's "To Do", categorized by area of focus or responsibiity and they are all active unless they are SDMB. I have 14 categories and anywhere from 4 to 25 projects in a category. In To Do you are cued for a due date and for projects with due dates that is useful, but many of my projects are long term, have unprectible aspects and it is hard to know how long they will take, so due date is rarely used by me but one is noted, it is important. But for most of my projects I think it would be useful for me to be able to indicate a desired start date and be able to view that when I view the project title. I guess you might say, if the project is in the list and not a SDMB it is started but that is not really the case,. I would also find it useful to indicate the date the project was put on the list (either as active or SDMB). If I am just running in circles here, please feel free to clarify my thinking.

  • #2
    I put my hard and fast due dates on the calendar and use the due date function of the task list as an electronic tickler. Most of my next actions do not have a due date, but if I want to trigger a start date for a project or simply make sure a particular next action is not overlooked in a long list of next actions, then I will attach a due date.


    • #3
      Re: how to add planned start dates to project list?

      But for most of my projects I think it would be useful for me to be able to indicate a desired start date and be able to view that when I view the project title.
      Try it out If you need the due dates, you'll use them and you'll keep to them. If you find they are arbitrary and you're not keeping them, try some other method of reminding to see how it works.

      A purpose of writing down these next actions - really - is to make it easy to start on them before you actually have to. At least that's how it works for me. When I see a list of phone calls I need to make, I make most of them "before" they are actually due.

      If your projects have "hard start dates," then, try identifying the "next action" you'll start with, and putting that in your tickler or on your calendars as a trigger.

      I have a red flag go up when I see "start date" and "project" without a next action. Maybe you truly can NOT decide the next action right now, but make sure. It's a lot easier to "procrastinate" an outcome than to put off a next action step.


      • #4
        In "pure" GTD, the only items that go on a calendar or have a deadline assigned to them are "hard landscape" items: deliverables that depend on some circumstance that falls on that date. If it's Sunday, and you can't call Susan because she's not in the office, you would put Call Susan on the calendar for Monday. If you've been assigned to submit a budget proposal by a particular date, that date would go on the calendar. These are considered hard landscape because they do not move. If you can call Susan anytime on her cell phone with no disadvantage to reaching her at the office, that would go on your Calls list, not your calendar.

        Next Actions are the items you want to do as soon as possible -- i.e. not artificially defer by scheduling them on an arbitrary date. You don't have to do them as soon as possible, but at least you have the option. If you do want to defer it artificially, I would drop a note in your tickler file for the desired date, and keep it off your calendar, which should be reserved for hard landscape items.


        • #5
          examples where deadline is meaningful but not essential

          Maybe if I give some examples, someone could help straighten out my thinking.

          Project: HOMEREPAIRS ARE MADE: "I have a complete list of repairs jobs I can do with a helper". There is no deadline at the time it was entered but since it was triggered by need for various repairs, the list gets started.

          notes:Some jobs I can list just by going from room to room in the house or walking around the outside of the house, others will only become evident until I start making the list and analyzing the problems, describing the intended outcome, and listing the materials and tools needed. Some of these will become projects in which a successful outcome is just a definition.

          n/a:@home inside-sit in each room for about 10 minutes and make list.
          @home outside-walk around house listing problems.

          issue:Helper is usually available on Mondays with 5 days notice but occasionally gives warning of major unavailability (like 2 weeks).
          Some of the outside projects are weather dependent. Some projects will need assistance from a third person who is availalbe only at certain times. How do I incorporate the time aspects into the project description and work flow?

          At work:

          Project:ABC EVALUATION: meets client's needs, and is delivered on time. The data on ABC is collected, analyzed and put in report.

          Note: The final analysis will depend on the purpose of the report and that will not be specificied until the data is examined in a preliminary way (is the data any good?). Then the report may or may not need to be written, the style and format, anmd due date of the report will depend on the quality of the data and choice the client makes.

          Status:data is collected, preliminary analysis made, options presented.

          @waiting for:client to call with preferred option.

          Issue:the call comes and it has a time frame attached to it but it is negotiable. I need to check my availability to see if I can commit to deliver it by the dates offered. Either date I chose, I must make the graphs and charts two days before. I have several other of these in process any of which can have its time line changed at a moments' notice but I do not have to commit to a deadline unless I think I can meet it. Once I commit to it, I am stuck and have to deliver.

          Any thoughts on how to make these kinds of things work?


          • #6
            Master vs sub projects, start dates and/or deadlines ... yep

            That's part of my problem too... the way ToDo implements its hiding feature, the "Due Date" works more like a "Forget this Until" date. I've run into serious confusion trying to have entries that worked both ways in my lists together.

            The only alternative I've come up with (it's only partly relevant, but my new topic "Thinking 'Out loud' ... " says some of this) is to start trusting that when I put a calendar entry in at a project due date, and use an alarm for X days ahead to define when I should start to work on things, I can process that project then, decide the appropriate NAs, and ToDo OR DateBook them as necessary.

            I'm trying to let go of the need to have the Outcome entry text and the NA texts visible together all the time - I need to learn to review things better, and know that my mind is capable of making the connections whenever I see the Project come up as a reminder.

            If that didn't make sense (as I often don't when I'm composing thoughts and typing concurrently), I'll try to clarify as desired.