Advice on tracking recurring projects

MikeyBus

Registered
Hello fellow GTDers,

Hoping I could pick the forum's collective brain. For the last year, I have been working as a Talent Development Business Partner for my company. In my role, one of my primary functions is to facilitate training workshops (remotely over Zoom) for our frontline sales teams. Each workshop requires some pre- and post-session actions (i.e. setup course in the LMS, consult with my co-facilitator, review/rehearse training content, send post-session email to the learners, etc...) in addition to the date & time-specific action of facilitating the training session itself which, of course, lives on my calendar. I receive my facilitation schedule quarterly, so I'll generally have from 25-50 of these workshops on my schedule at any given time.

By definition, each workshop should be its own project, since each requires several greater-than-two-minute actions to complete. However, I find that creating a separate project for each workshop can become unwieldy and quickly dilute my project list. As a Things 3 user, I've also tried tracking each workshop as its own Task (i.e. Facilitate Remote Workshop: CRM Foundations [due on the date of the workshop]) with Subtasks for each smaller action (i.e. "Send pre-session email," "Review current PowerPoint deck"...), which was easier on the eyes but removed the ability to schedule or assign contexts to the subtasks themselves.

Wondering if anyone has a solid method for managing similar recurring projects? Any thoughts would be well appreciated.
 

radioman

Registered
Before I retired, I had a job of coordinating dozens of training sessions for our engineering department. Each course (project) included dozens of steps to be tracked. I had inherited a big Excel spreadsheet from my predecessor. I fully understand that a database should be implemented in Access and a spreadsheet of calculations should be implemented in Excel. But it was not an easy task to try to convert to an Access-based system.

I carried a recurring action item in Outlook Tasks that was due every Friday for me to check the spreadsheet for upcoming courses. In addition to reviewing the spreadsheet every day to be sure that the hundreds of project steps were moving forwarded appropriately, for courses that were in their last 2 weeks prior to teaching, I would use Microsoft VBA to automatically create 2 actions (1 for pre-teach items and 1 for post-teach items) for Outlook Tasks.

This system acknowledges that hundreds of actions are not easily tracked all in 1 place, but this is no different from a project manager who is building a building: his or her GTD system would not be expected to import the project schedule housed in Primavera.

I hope this helps.

Joe
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Hello fellow GTDers,

Hoping I could pick the forum's collective brain. For the last year, I have been working as a Talent Development Business Partner for my company. In my role, one of my primary functions is to facilitate training workshops (remotely over Zoom) for our frontline sales teams. Each workshop requires some pre- and post-session actions (i.e. setup course in the LMS, consult with my co-facilitator, review/rehearse training content, send post-session email to the learners, etc...) in addition to the date & time-specific action of facilitating the training session itself which, of course, lives on my calendar. I receive my facilitation schedule quarterly, so I'll generally have from 25-50 of these workshops on my schedule at any given time.

By definition, each workshop should be its own project, since each requires several greater-than-two-minute actions to complete. However, I find that creating a separate project for each workshop can become unwieldy and quickly dilute my project list. As a Things 3 user, I've also tried tracking each workshop as its own Task (i.e. Facilitate Remote Workshop: CRM Foundations [due on the date of the workshop]) with Subtasks for each smaller action (i.e. "Send pre-session email," "Review current PowerPoint deck"...), which was easier on the eyes but removed the ability to schedule or assign contexts to the subtasks themselves.

Wondering if anyone has a solid method for managing similar recurring projects? Any thoughts would be well appreciated.
With 25-50 scheduled, it does sound like a bit much. I think two features of Things 3 may help:

1. Obviously, you can give later workshops a later start date, so you don’t see them as active projects. You can search for them, and move stuff into them.
2. Not so obviously, you can have active actions within a non-active project, one with either a later start date or someday, and the actions will show up in Today, Upcoming, or Deadlines as appropriate. Try it!

These two features, taken together, can help you handle a moderate volume of stuff for a future project without making it active and seeing it all the time.
 

MikeyBus

Registered
Thank you both @radioman and @mcogilvie, for the excellent feedback. Since I am neck deep into Things, I think I'll start by creating a project for each workshop and setting a start date one week in advance of the session date which is about the lead time I need to prep. I'll give each project a deadline of the session date itself and house all the associated actions with their respective start dates/deadlines within it. I may go so far as to create a Remote Workshop project template and set it to Someday in my Work area for quick duplication. I dig!

I was actually thinking along these lines but sometimes you just need to hear it from someone else to validate an idea as a good one. I'll give it a go for the rest of OND and report back! Thanks again.
 

MikeyBus

Registered
@mcogilvie - here's a quick shot of my early implementation of your suggested process. So far, I am confident this will work. I really like how setting the start date one week out will show me only the remote workshops that need to be on my radar within the next 5-7 days in my project sidebar. Everything further can can comfortably be taken off my mind with confidence that I'll be reminded at the right time. Very cool.
 

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mcogilvie

Registered
@mcogilvie - here's a quick shot of my early implementation of your suggested process. So far, I am confident this will work. I really like how setting the start date one week out will show me only the remote workshops that need to be on my radar within the next 5-7 days in my project sidebar. Everything further can can comfortably be taken off my mind with confidence that I'll be reminded at the right time. Very cool.

That looks great! Very clean and neat. One additional thing I didn’t mention: I have added an explicit reminder to “Review Upcoming” to my weekly review. Mostly redundant, but when it comes to dates, I sometimes need both belt and suspenders.
 

Oogiem

Registered
Wondering if anyone has a solid method for managing similar recurring projects?
well over half of my projects are recurring items. Some are based on season, I can't start working on the vaccinate lambs until they are on the groun.d But some are more checklist/recurring projects like what you describe. For those I have tempalte/checklists of all the actionsand I set start dates based on the urgency/date of need for them.
When I activate a copy of the checklist and make it a real project I set things like due or star nw dates x many days or weesk as apropriate when I start.

It does make getting one of these type of projects a bit more tedious but it works better for me in the long run.
 
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