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  • lists or projects

    I am fairly new with GTD but Im very happy with it sofar. As I got started ( and a bit excited) I started to write down all these self-managing and self-developement projects. After a while a saw a pattern, som "projects" might be considered projects, whereas some should probably just be called "lists".

    Sometimes these lists could be linked to projects perhaps. Things that came up was things like "find things to do to save time" ( such as practise guitar while watching tv, or listen to an audiobook while cleaning etc) or " my affirmations", " list of things that are holding me back", or "general marketing ideas". These "projects" just became list which I added more and more things to as I came up with new ideas and thoughts. then there where things that had a slight edge of being more of a project, like "developing my social competence", "learning gtd" and "eat healthy and create a greater variety of dishes". and then there where a few projects which I felt fell within some other "projects" like "learn storytelling", which could go under "develope social competence".

    I feel like I need to do some restructuring of my GTD stuff. If I remove the things that just turned into "lists", how do I manage them? any advice? Some of them could fall under "project material" i guess. I want to make sure I read those lists on regular basis. A seperate binder for lists, or any other ideas?

    When it comes to the bigger projects, like the one about "social competence", is that perhaps not a project at all, but a 1-2 year 40 000 feet goal? Should I try to be more specific with my projects. Where do I draw the line, what is a project and what is a goal...

    thanks for any advice

  • #2

    Most of the things you mention do sound like projects.

    On the other hand, "My affirmations" is clearly a list.

    So the project for affirmations might be: "Develop confidence through affirmations", and the next action might be "read one affirmation aloud today".

    My suggestion is keep the lists, but if they are not projects or next actions, get them out of your GTD system.

    There is a great handout on horizons of focus here:, and a related teleconference here:


    • #3
      GTD pp 168-170

      DA addresses these types of items in GTD pp 168-170. He places them in Someday/Maybe. Some examples he gives are:

      Skills to Learn
      Items to Buy
      Trips to Take
      Books to Read
      Web sites to surf
      Meeting Ideas

      "These kinds of lists can be a cross between reference and 'Someday/Maybe' -- reference because you can just collect and add to lists of good wines or restaurants or books, to consult as you like; 'Someday/Maybe' because you might want to review the listed items on a regular basis to remind yourself to try one or more of them at some point."


      • #4
        If you don't know when you are done, or if you'll never be done, it isn't a project. So "eat healthy" is more of a goal, as I see it. An associated project might be "cook healthy meals every day next week," for which the Next Action might be "review Moosewood cookbook for interesting entrees."



        • #5
          > cleaning etc) or " my affirmations", " list of things that are holding me back", or "general marketing ideas".

          Lists like these sometimes go into project support files. For example, a project might be "develop marketing," and the next action might be review the next 10 web sites on your list for ideas. The sites (and ideas) go into the project's folder.

          Some of these, though, are things to keep in mind as you go about your week. Collecting ideas, working on affirmations, etc. These also fit as either checklists you review as often as necessary, or actions (as stated above).

          Good question.