• If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.


No announcement yet.

Projects - time

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Projects - time


    I am using 12 months as the maximum time limit for a project. Anything after that is a goal in my book. I think I saw David Allen refer to projects as anything with more than one action upto 12 months in the future. Does anyone else set a time limit on what constitutes a project as opposed to a goal?

  • #2
    projects, goals, etc.

    This is a much mroe complex topic that one might think at first. First, using a time frame for defining whether something is a project or a goal is possibily a useful device, but not exactly "perfect" because sometimes they are the two are the same, and sometimes one maybe be bigger than the other, and sometimes a time frame is just plain arbitrary. So I would ask myself, where does this time frame come from and is it really valid? How does this time frame really help me do what I want and need to do? I have found that too many arbitrary time frames are a source of distraction and in the end I am a dissapointment to myself, since I don't meet the time frames. Nevertheless, I have long admired some of my co-workers who will say "I'm not focusing on that for now" or "we will initiate research on that ...(at some date in the future). I have admired their capacity to focus and prioritize and get done what is needed to be done in the "now", but as I have tried to emulate that practice, I found that in the back of my I was doing something in the service of that "future" project., even if only retaining an idea about it or a the name of a key contact or reference book. So I have thought that perhaps GTD could help me be more explicit about what I am thinking about and when, so that my "psychic ram" can support me better. Second, I think the divisions of thoughts and activities into such concepts as "areas of responsibility and focus", "goals", "projects" and "desired outcomes", have been created to help clarify thinking and manipulate information, so having recognizable working definitions helps me to put like-with-like, create clearer connnections and to create a "hierarchy" for processing information and managing my work more to my liking. This is really, really helpful and helps to eliminate working against one's self, if that makews snese. But, the categories can overlap at times; any two or more may be exactly the same. In general, I think that when an area of responsibilty and focus pretty much equates to one specific goal and that goal is pretty much equivalent to the desired outcome of a project, that you are in a position for more streamlined action. But, that is a rare occurence in most people's lives or it may be a product of someone who has a lot of control over what they "sign on" for , or perhaps, knows themselves well enough to limit the scope of their activities. Most of the time, an area of responsibility has several goals and a given project may support several goals, and many times projects collide with each other. So, if no next action is needed for 12 months, it is useful to ask yourself what level you are addressing, but don't be surprised if the answer is not clear cut.


    • #3
      I'm not sure the distinction is meaningful. The only way to achieve a goal is one project, one Next Action at a time.

      To use an example close to DA's heart, "Earn black belt" is arguably a goal, in that it will take several years to accomplish. But those years can be broken down into a series of projects: "identify and join martial arts school," "finish beginner's program," "earn yellow/blue/brown belt," and so forth. Each of those projects in turn has next actions associated with it: "search for local schools," "complete registration paperwork," "attend class Thursday evening."

      If those Next Actions aren't being completed, then no progress is being made toward the goal. That doesn't change if you redefine the goal as a big project.



      • #4
        I remember DA referring to NA's as "Goalposts."

        Why do your projects have dates associated with them? I realize some things must (April 15 comes to mind), but if something isn't time sensitive, why attach a time to it?


        • #5
          Why do your projects have dates associated with them? I realize some things must (April 15 comes to mind), but if something isn't time sensitive, why attach a time to it?
          Because a project will be accomplished sooner and more effectively if some time tags are associated with its various phases.