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Processing project folders when the project is done?

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  • Processing project folders when the project is done?

    I've been gradually implementing more and more of the entire GTD methodology over the last year, and my work and home life have definitely been more productive and less stressful ever since. Most of my implementation is centered around my laptop, using Outlook for most stuff. I've run into one really silly procedural problem, though: When I have a new project, I create a folder for it and I put anything related to the project (email, research, etc.) in it. But once the project is done, what should I do with the project folder? Deleting it doesn't seem right. Do people keep a set of "finished projects" folders that are separate from their active projects? Or do you take the contents of the folder and put them back in the inbox to decide what to do with them?

    Also, has anybody come up with or seen a good computer-based tickler file system?

    - Glenn B.

  • #2
    Archiving & Tickler

    I set up an archive file periodically (usually annually) and conduct a review and archive exercise at the end of the calendar year. Simply moving the project files into a single archive preserves naming conventions and makes retreival a snap. It's also pretty satisfying to see the accomplishments of a year's worth of work as it moves into your archive file. I'm thinking of moving to quarterly archiving to keep my active file list a bit cleaner.

    As for a tickler system, I use Shadow Plan to create file for Tickler items and sort/filter by date. Most outliner programs (Bonsai, OmniOutliner) would do the trick, I think. I've also used Lotus Notes ToDos in a unique category, and integrating them into my calendar. I'm pretty sure you could do the same with Outlook and other PIMs, as well.

    - MB


    • #3
      When I archive a project, It has a physical folder full of the same kind of reference material you've spoken about, as well as an Outlook contact for the project as well. I use a seperate contacts folder for all my projects in Outlook, so that I can link all my to-do's (NA's) to that one project.

      When the archiving is done, I move the project folder from the top "active" drawer to the bottom "archive" drawer. The contact in MS Outlook is also dragged from the "Projects" contact folder to another contacts folder for archived projects.

      Simple but effective.

      - Warren T.


      • #4
        When a project is finished, I review the paper-folder. I throw away what I no longer need, the rest is archived.
        As for electronic files: every project has its folder with its number and description. These are all on the network drive. When a project is finished, I run through the files if there are files that can be thrown away. What is left, I zip to a file with the same name as the original folder and I save this on my hard drive. At irregular intervals, this drive gets burned on CD.
        I also archive the project folder in Lotus Notes.

        I must admit that I usually do not really purge the electronic files. As they do not take up physical space, I do not feel the need to really clean them up.

        Looking back, I think the only archive that I really use is the Lotus Notes one; the rest is there just in case.