Almost there - help with projects/sub projects/Next Actions and using Nirvana

ecp

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Hi! A really long title so its easier for people to understand what this is about. I did some searching, but to quote U2, I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

I'm finally going to commit to using GTD. I've listened to the audio book a few years ago and made a half hearted attempt at it. I listened to it again last weekend and I think I'm ready. The stumbling block always seemed to be what tool to use and it looks like Nirvana might work.

My question. I'm stuck on projects and next actions. How/when to break them up and organize them. I'll give you one in particular I'm having issues with. Finish laundry room.

I started off with a project "Laundry room is ready to use" and then started putting actions underneath * Install Washer * Install Dryer, etc. I then realized these weren't NAs but really their own projects.

So I created a project "Install Washer". NA is "Drill holes in floor and install pipes" (yes, this simple as all the infrastructure is there, I just need to connect the lines. Another action is "Verify electrical connection". Now those two tasks can run in parallel as they are distinct.

Then I have other projects "install dryer" (actions: staple electrical wire, seal dryer vent, call electrician to hook up dryer) and Tile floor (actions: get estimate, decide to do myself or sub, lay tile) and a few other laundry projects.

Where I get lost is then the project "Laundry Room is ready to use" doesn't have actions underneath but projects. So is "Laundry Room is ready to use" really a project?

The issue is if I only have one level of project>action, how do I define 20 or 30k foot views? (or something I would deem a "goal"). the "goal" is to finish the laundry room composed of multiple projects. And then all of this is for a bigger project "Get the house ready for rent" which includes multiple other projects.

Sorry if I'm not clear, there is a lot in my mind on this and not sure I'm defining it properly. Thank you for any help.
 

GTDengineer

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In GTD, next actions don’t need to go “underneath” projects. Instead, next actions go “underneath” contexts in your lists.

You keep a projects list to remind yourself to keep planning next actions until the project is done. Normally you would review these details in the weekly review.
 

ecp

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Thank you for your reply. I understand what you're saying about next actions (that next actions don't even need projects).

For the above, do you have suggestions or reading material on how granular a project should be? In the above, the 'goal' is to make the house rentable, however there is a lot that needs to happen beforehand and those can be further grouped. Am I thinking of 'projects' too rigidly?

Should the project be 'house is rentable' (I'm using the suggestion that projects should also be desired outcome. Or should it be the smaller items 'laundry room is ready for use' or even smaller 'washer is installed'?
 

ecp

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Thanks Kelly! I haven't decided yet on Nirvana being the tool, I'm test driving now. So I don't want to commit $ to something I might not use. Appreciate the link though if I do go forward!
 

Gardener

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Where I get lost is then the project "Laundry Room is ready to use" doesn't have actions underneath but projects. So is "Laundry Room is ready to use" really a project?

The issue is if I only have one level of project>action, how do I define 20 or 30k foot views? (or something I would deem a "goal"). the "goal" is to finish the laundry room composed of multiple projects. And then all of this is for a bigger project "Get the house ready for rent" which includes multiple other projects.

I do hierarchical organization only at the project-->action level (though as stated, it's not essential to have it even there). I don't attempt it any higher. That is, I don't say that a given project is "under" a given goal. I will say that it supports one or more goals.

I sometimes have things at the project level that spawn other things at the project level. So I could, in theory, have a project, "Garden is ready for another nightmare summer". And that project would mostly have planning and research actions, like researching overwintering vegetables or the latest dryfarm, techniques. Then it would spawn projects, like a project to grow some kind of overwintering onion, or a project to accomplish what Steve Solomon calls "fertigation".

But in reality, I tend not to do that. Instead, I'll probably just create the project for researching overwintering vegetables and another project for researching dryfarming, and then those will inspire the onion and fertigation projects, without any project being "above" any other project.

In your case, I suspect that I would have a goal of "House is ready to rent", and it would be the inspiration for a variety of laundry room related projects (and obviously many other projects), but I wouldn't have an intervening goal OR project of "Laundry Room is ready to use". I'm not saying that intervening hierarchical level is bad, just that for me, personally, it would function as clutter rather than useful guidance.
 

kelstarrising

Kelly Forrister | GTD® Coach
Thanks Kelly! I haven't decided yet on Nirvana being the tool, I'm test driving now. So I don't want to commit $ to something I might not use. Appreciate the link though if I do go forward!
You might consider Todoist Business version too. The setup option described on page 21 of that guide is a really popular option for setting up projects with related actions that can really scale and be flexible at the same time.
 

ecp

Registered
Thanks Kelly. I was test driving Todoist recently and thought it was pretty good. The show stopper for that tool was that it did not have an 'offline' mode. I see they resolved that, so I'll take another look.

Thanks!
Peter
 
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