Project Status Question

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by acc.mcpherson, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. acc.mcpherson

    acc.mcpherson Registered

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    I'd love to get insights from the long time GTD users.It's regarding projects how to manage the status of them.Currently if I have an active project it stays on my "active project list" until it's completed - even if the next step is on hold for a week or two so there is no associated next action.

    Given that I do a weekly review I now move this project onto hold since I can't do any work on it, but what ends up happening is that there is a lot of back and forth of status changing that goes on just to keep the weekly list of projects accurate based on where the next step is at.

    Unfortunately, neither way seems to sit well with me. I realize that sometimes it just takes time to change the behavior, which is why I would like your opinion.

    I am struggling with trying to find the balance of keeping my project lists current knowing that the status of them change from week to week. I'd like to get your take on whether it is a better practice to have accurate lists which requires being more judicious so that I can be focused for the week or to be less accurate (and spend less time moving the project status around from active to on hold) and seeing there is "noise" on my list, but knowing that next week the project status will revert back again to active. Thanks.
     
  2. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    When I have a project for which the only next action is "on hold" because I can't do it until a certain date, I place the action in one of my tickler systems (either physical or digital) and leave the project in the active list. I don't review my projects daily, and when I see the project during my weekly review I can easily remember that the next action had to be pushed out a bit. I find that easier than having to move the project back and forth between lists. I like to spend as little time as possible maintaining my lists so I can spend maximum time actually doing the things on them.

    I would be surprised if someone doesn't post soon who prefers to "inactivate" the project under those circumstances. I don't think there is a universal right answer; it comes down to personal preference. Once you've gotten some suggestions, try the one that seems to make the most sense to you. If it doesn't work, try another. Rinse and repeat until you find the answer that's best for you.
     
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  3. acc.mcpherson

    acc.mcpherson Registered

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    Thank you. I am not surprised by your answer. I think my issue is I like to look at my active project list regularly during the week as it keeps me grounded and focused. Looking at 50-70 next actions for a week doesn't help me when I want to see the bigger picture of what I want to accomplish this week, which I like to do daily.
     
  4. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I think this depends on your preferences as welll as the tools you use. The last thing you want to do is set up two uncorrelated holds on action and project that hide both. I would say the safest thing, if you need such a marker, is to keep the project on the active list and append (waiting for x) to it. If you review the project, and the status of x has changed, that's your cue for further review.
     
  5. kelstarrising

    kelstarrising I know some stuff about GTD

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    I have a few projects now that my only active step is a waiting for or a future calendar item (up to a few months out). I still keep them on my active projects list. The only time I would move it to something like a Projects-On Hold list is if the projects is stalled in terms of any progress--by me, someone, or something else.
     
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  6. Yiannis Miliatsis

    Yiannis Miliatsis Registered

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    Exactly the same here! I think it takes far less time to look at the project and see that the next action is on hold in my weekly review than to switch lists.
     
  7. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    While I don't review my projects that frequently, if it helps you I don't see an issue. As for the "noise" or lack of "accuracy" of having projects in your active list that you can't act on due to some outside factor, it's all in how you look at it. If a project is something I want to complete as soon as possible, I consider it active even if the next action has to be pushed out for some reason. When I see that project during a review, I know it's as planned and clarified as can be; that keeps it off my mind.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  8. Thais Godhino

    Thais Godhino GTD Connect

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    Yes. Or if I can't alocate any context, time or resources in this moment on it.
     
  9. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I keep everything in my system that I could possibly work on in this season (3 months) whether or not I am waiting for something to be done. However, since so many of my projects ARE seasonal I will move them into someday/maybe and not active once that season is finished if I can't get to them again for a year. My someday/maybe items are in DEVONThink and my Active projects are in Omnifocus.
     
  10. petdr

    petdr Registered

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    Maybe it will help you if you change the time frame of what you consider active when it comes to the project list. Just because you may not have any active tasks (next actions) for that project does not mean that project is not active. Better yet, maybe change your criteria for an active project. It's not only a time variable. For me, if a project still requires my attention somehow in the next month, it stays on my active project list. Some people may use 3 months or by the quarter, etc...

    If you look at your active project list during the week to keep you grounded, perhaps try the month time frame. How are you keeping your project list?
    When I kept my project list in a text file, I had it sorted by modified date. That way, active projects that do not have any active tasks (eg nothing for the next 1-2 weeks) are sorted to the bottom of the list. That way, I still see those projects but they do not attract as much of my attention as the ones higher on the list. They're in my peripheral vision --- where they belong; not completely out of sight.
     
  11. acc.mcpherson

    acc.mcpherson Registered

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    Thank you to everyone who responded. To Petdr, I think you hit upon the issue I am struggling with - defining the time frame. If I am doing a weekly review why would I keep projects that are not active that week on my active project list? Currently I have two project lists, one is active and the other is in the future. I generally define projects active if I will be working on them within the month, but I am questioning this now because of the weekly review. It seems to defeat the purpose of the weekly review and expands the focus unnecessarily.

    Does TesTeq or anyone else have advice to offer as my goal is to keep things as focused and minimal as possible.
     

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