Creating Tasks or Projects

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Hilary, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Hilary

    Hilary Registered

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    I've been using GTD with Evernote for about 6 months. What I'm having a hard time with now is that when I think of something I need to do (for instance, create a PowerPoint presentation), I create a note for it. Since this isn't actually my next action but is actually a project, I create another note for my next action, "Discuss with teammate ideas to include in PowerPoint." Ideally, I link the two notes using Evernote's "copy note link" function so on my project list I have a list of my next action.

    My problem: this seems like a long process to capture my next action -- both to create a project and the next action. And sometimes I realize that my Project is really a sub-project to a bigger idea (like "create an effective communication strategy for visit to CA). Do I now need to create a master project "Create an effective communication strategy" for all of this? If so, how do I manage capturing and reviewing what is my next action? Plus, what started out as a simple idea to capture, now has lots of layers. How do I deal effectively with the multiple layers of projects?

    I look at my On-going Projects folder in my Weekly Review, but now it is so full of projects I'm getting a bit overwhelmed.

    So, to review: although what I'm doing in creating "next actions" linked with "projects" seems time-consuming (and therefore I'm afraid I will not continue it), is it the best way forward? How many levels of project or sub-project notes do I need? And how do I deal effectively with all these layers?

    Thanks so much for any help you can be,
    Hilary
     
  2. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    My first thought is that you are mixing up capture with processing.

    Capture should be quick and simple. I don't use Evernote but I do use DEVONThink which is similar. I use it differently and do not capture into DT but if I was to do that I'd have a single note in DT that was labeled Inbox, or perhaps a folder labeled Inbox into which I could send notes. So for your example I'd create a quick note, Create Powerpoint presentation on X and toss it into the DT inbox folder or just add it to my existing note.

    Processing has to happen later or at least be a separate action. If I was using DT for my lists I'd have a note for each context and one for the list of project names. If the project has a lot of materials I'd have a folder for all of those as well labeled the same as the project name.

    Processing would be as simple as Add "Create Powerpoint Presentation for X" to my projects list and in the agenda list for the person I'd add the action item "Discuss with teammate Y ideas to include in PowerPoint for presentation X"

    In a note based system I don't see how you can easily keep projects and actions together without lots of extra work.

    That is one reason I chose a different system that automatically has the projects and actions grouped. I use Omnifocus but there are others that do that. It's partly because I typically have 200-250 active projects and I do not like my actions unlinked from the projects. But that is me. Many (perhaps most?) folks do not need the project-action links that I require so a much flatter list works for them.

    One other note. I personally do not like subprojects. So your bigger idea of "Create an effective communication strategy" would, for me, be listed as a goal not as a project with subprojects. I split out things as soon as it becomes obvious that it's really 2 separate projects. If one is dependent on another I'll make the last action in the first project "go activate project X" so as to hide things until I can actually do them.
     
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  3. Hilary

    Hilary Registered

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    Thanks for your quick and helpful response. I think you've hit on some good points I need to think about. I've toyed with getting OmniFocus as a tool that might be more helpful but I was hoping to just use one system. Thanks again.
     
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  4. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    Regarding sub-projects, what often works for me is purpose statement in the project plan.

    Taking your example, the purpose statement could be "create an effective communication strategy", the project being "create a PowerPoint presentation."

    Then, once the presentation was delivered, the next project would be started, again with "create an effective communication strategy" as it's purpose statement.

    Of course it is also possible to run several projects at the same time, all of them with the same purpose (statement).
     
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  5. Rostane

    Rostane Registered

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    As an Evernote user for years, I've been trying both Notebooks and tags and noticed that the later is really more efficient, here's why:

    When you create or capture a new note you can select multiple tags (contexts) at once and put it, if you want, in a Notebook that can be your project.
    However, you can also create sub-tags for any things, so this could transform into project, sub-tasks etc.

    And of course, you can filter this whole thing and make a good use of your new system.

    Hope it will help, let us know how you progress !

    PS: use Evernote's voice notes, helps a lot ;)
     
  6. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    As someone who uses Evernote for GTD, I think the habit of using Evernote note links to tie projects to next actions sounds too cumbersome. At least it would be for me. Because there's no way to easily tie projects to NAs in Evernote, I don't try. I haven't found it to be an impediment.

    If I have a complex project, I'll include the project support material in the body of the note representing the project. This could be anything from a few bullets to a full outline, and even attached documents if it's required.

    As for how many levels of project/sub-project notes you need, it's entirely dependent on the nature of your projects and your personal preferences. You'll have to experiment to figure out what works best for you.

    If I have a project which can be broken into sub-projects, I prefer to create one project note and then outline the sub-projects in the body of the note. Others like @Oogiem dislike subprojectsand prefer to express each of them as a separate project; in Evernote you could do this by making each a separate note.
     
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  7. Hilary

    Hilary Registered

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    Thanks, everyone, for your helpful ideas. I may need to refine my question, in which case I think I'll start a new thread. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  8. SherryC

    SherryC Registered

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    Hi Hiliary - I don't use Evernote, so my response to your question may be off base. I am throwing it out there, though, just in case you can find something useful in it.

    I use Outlook, and have also struggled with linking projects with next actions in an efficient manner. No solution yet, but I am still experimenting. Currently, I have a Projects List that is categorized as such. I put all projects on this list, and use the note section to include as few or as many next actions that I wish to have at any given point.

    For the next action lists, I will include the next action for the project with the project name in brackets, and sometimes I add a project deadline. This way, I can be reminded that the next action is part of a project, and where I need to go to select or create the next action once the current one is complete. So, it may look something like this:

    Under project list: Create Home Budget
    Under Next Action: Purchase Quicken [Home Budget]

    The main problems are that this entails multiple steps, which can be cumbersome, and on my phone I have to actually click on the next action to see the bracketed project (because of the limited view). But in my opinion, once I create the project name and place it on the project list, it is not so bad after that.

    Good luck!

    Sherry
     
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  9. Hilary

    Hilary Registered

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    I'm having a hard time picturing what you are doing. You mean you have a notebook for every project?
     
  10. Rostane

    Rostane Registered

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    I used to to that then I switched to use only tags and sub-tags, for projects and contexts
     
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