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Projects - some observations

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  • Projects - some observations

    Okay, before anyone makes any wise-cracks, I’m not that busy at the moment, despite my username, – summer lull in the accountancy profession!

    Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot of the project related threads over the last few days, and two different things occur to me.

    Firstly, I wonder if certain ambitions and goals fit into the DA definition of project. For example, in the thread “Issues with defining projects – top end” Helenjc mentioned that she has some ongoing goals, for example, keeping up her proficiency in Greek. I would have similar ambitions, for example, to be well-read, to be playing reasonably cool jazz guitar, which are also proficiency type goals.

    However, these goals do not have a target date. If I reach a level of accomplishment, and then stop, the ability will begin to deteriorate, and fade from lack of use.

    So, it morphs into a three-times-a-week, or half-an-hour-a-day activity, which is not really a project ….

    The other, exciting, thing which occurs to me is the power of structuring a goal in the DA format. Although a large volume of the forum deals with using GTD to keep control of a number of work related projects, I find the real power is realised when you apply GTD to something you have wanted to get done but could not get a toe-hold on it.

    For example, we have a rolling wish to modify our home, which I thought I would never have the time to do. But by applying “next action” and “outcome” to it, it has fallen into easy steps and opened up the real possibility of Getting It Done.

    It's like opening a door with a key.


  • #2
    I'm currently taking this Project Management class and I've learned something really interesting that has helped me.

    In my PM class they define a project as a "complex, non-routine, one-time effort limited by time, budget, resources, and performance specifications designed to meet customer needs" -- in this case, you are the customer.

    With this in mind, I created a category in my Palm called Routine and yes, it's as boring as it sounds!

    For instance, I want to keep proficient in playing the guitar so to "remind" myself to practice I scheduled several "Practice Guitar" next actions (I usually set a DUE DATE on these next actions, this helps me when I do my weekly review). And so whenever I'm home and I look through my Next Actions list and I feel like Practicing the Guitar I do it!

    The important thing to remember is to go through your Routine list during the Weekly Review and examine how many times you practiced the guitar. If you find that you wanted to practice it 3 times a week but you are only practicing it 1 time, then something needs to change.

    Anyway, so far this has worked quite nicely for me.


    • #3

      I do something similar. I have a list of 'recurring' items for things that have to be done more than once, but less often than monthly. These things include 'Clean out bedroom closet' or 'Pull books to donate'.

      I also have a list of daily reminders - Take Vitamins and Drink 64 oz of Water, weekly reminders - GTD Weekly Review, monthly reminders - Put flea meds on dogs. These are things that have not become part of my regular routine to the point that I do not need to be reminded. So, for example, 'Take a shower before work' is not on my daily list.

      This has helped me focus on new habits and get more systematic around keeping the house organized.


      • #4
        Activities and Projects

        I call routine items "activities." My main controls for these items are checklists and the tickler file. The key difference for me is that projects are for attaining an outcome, whereas activities are for maintaining an outcome. When you have satisfied the outcome of a project, you are done. When you have satisfied the outcome of an activity, you are done for now.

        There are some high-level outcomes that drive both projects and routine activities. For example, let's take the outcome "I am fit." First, you would start with a project or two to get fit, like going on a diet or starting an exercise program. Then you would follow that with ongoing activities to stay fit. However, from time to time, new projects might arise again from this high-level outcome. For example, you might decide to stop doing Power Yoga and start doing Pilates. So, you would start a project to select and join a Pilates class, which would then segue into the ongoing activity of attending the class.