how do you handle permanent projects

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by tsolignani, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. tsolignani

    tsolignani Registered

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    Most projects are groups of tasks, you do every one of them and voila you can close the project, it's done.

    Sometimes there are permanent projects though, such as "working on my blog" where there is no "final subtask" but the project stays open indefinitely.

    How do you handle those projects?

    You just enlist them amongst the other ones? Or do you build a separate list for them? Or is it my mistake to think they are projects?

    Thank you and have a nice day.
     
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  2. David Parker

    David Parker GTD Connect

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    Those sort of things are my Areas of Focus . . .
     
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  3. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Area of Focus: "Keep my blog up and running".
     
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  4. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    Would you put it on a checklist?

    Where would you put recurring tasks like:
    Balance/reconcile checkbook
    Cook supper?

    Could you explain more about Area of Focus, or provide a link?

    Sarah
     
  5. David Parker

    David Parker GTD Connect

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    Cooking supper, unless it's a special meal for someone, wouldn't be in my GTD system.

    Recurring tasks, such as balancing a checkbook, might be in my Calendar if I did it on the same day/time each week or month. Otherwise it'd be in my digital Tickler (I use Todoist) with a recurring date.

    Areas of Focus see https://gettingthingsdone.com/2011/01/the-6-horizons-of-focus/

    Have you read David Allen's book? (Think this is going to have to be part of my signature on posts!)
     
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  6. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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  7. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I have a lot of those as recurring projects because they repeat on some sort of regular schedule.

    An Area of Focus for me is "Farm Blog is interesting and useful" but I have a project "Write next Farm Blog Post" with all its attendant actions that happens once every other month. So that instance of the project is done but it spawns the next instance automatically.
     
  8. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    David Parker, thanks for your reply and the reminder to read the book. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I have the 2001 book Getting Things Done. I re-read the part on areas of focus, pages 205-206.

    Tes Teq, thanks for the link to the methodology guides and for mentioning horizons. I am a member, so I was able to access the guides from gtd connect.


    My summary:
    Runway- next actions
    10,000 feet - projects
    20,000 feet - areas of focus (roles)

    Areas of focus are our roles, different “hats” we wear, areas of responsibility.

    Next actions (often) come from projects, and projects are (often) determined by our areas of focus.

    Reviewing our areas of focus can trigger projects, which can trigger next actions.

    The way I see it, it’s about being proactive rather than reactive.

    Sarah
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  9. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Good summary. It’s interesting that you think of it as related to being proactive. I think I’ve been around these ideas for so long (Franklin and Covey before gtd, and earlier stuff before that) that I take the structure as natural.
     
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  10. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    Areas of Focus can also trigger "just" Next Actions. Typically those are "maintenance" type of tasks done in a repetitive way. For instance I have a "dust off desk & boards" as a single Next Action stemming from my AoF "office management."
     
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  11. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    Cpu_modern, thank you for pointing that out.

    I get from this that daily and weekly recurring tasks stem from Areas of Focus, and are not (necessarily) part of a project.

    For example:
    Food preparation, laundry, tidying, and house cleaning* are AoF: Manage personal living needs

    Have regular doctor well visits, have regular dental check ups, exercise 3x weekly are AoF: Manage personal health care

    Balance/reconcile bank accounts monthly, pay bills are AoF Manage personal finances.

    (*In my case I don’t have house cleaning help, but for someone who does the recurring action could be, “pay and thank housekeeper”)

    Would you agree?

    Sarah
     
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  12. Cpu_Modern

    Cpu_Modern Registered

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    Yes. You described the model well. BTW, I find "Areas of Focus" sounds a little bit more uplifting than "permanent projects" ;-)
     
  13. tsolignani

    tsolignani Registered

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    Thank you everyone, I read everything and learned a lot, thank you very much.

    I guess I should give you more details about the work I have to do with my blog.

    Running a blog is surely an area of focus, but it could be a project as well.

    In my blog, I publish a post every day from MO to FRI. I write 4 o 5 posts at once and put them into a queue. Then, a plugin picks one of them every day and publish it on the bog.

    When the queue gets empty, I have to fill it.

    If the blog doesn't publish a new post, the SEO ranking goes bad and my subscriber get disappointed.

    So my «task» or duty is to keep an eye on the queue and write new posts when necessary.

    Where do I put that on a GTD system? Not on the calendar, for I would like to remain free to work on the matter whenever I am more confortable to do so. Not as a next action, for it takes more than an action to write a blog post. Maybe not as a project, for it's a never ending one, or maybe we could allow such projects. Area of focus is ok, it's an area of focus, but it's also a stemmed task with a deadline, somehow.

    How would you handle it?

    Thank you again so much.
     
  14. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Make your blog one of your Areas of Focus.
    During your Weekly Review check if you've got enough posts for the next week and optionaly create Next Actions to publish something on Monday and Friday.
    If there are not enough posts for the next week create Next Actions or Projects to write some new posts.
     
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  15. Gardener

    Gardener Registered

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    Assorted methods:

    - Project Per Post:

    If you like short quickly-completed projects (I do) then every week you might just create five projects. You know that you will publish five posts per week, so to be sustainable you write five posts per week, even if you're one or two or ten weeks ahead. So you could just create five projects every week, and your weekly review checklist could remind you to do that. If you tend to do a bunch of posts in one week and none in another week, the flurry of projects, or the lack of a flurry, still gives you visibility.

    This is week 28, so the projects could look like:

    Project: Blog Post 28.1
    Next Action: Choose topic
    Next Action: (What are the actions? If they vary per post, then the project-per-post model might be particularly suitable.)

    Project: Blog Post 28.2
    Next Action: Choose topic

    ...and so on.

    - Blog Post Project Chart

    If you're going to have five "post projects" every week, and especialy if the actions for each post tend to be the same, you could skip using the project structure and instead make a chart or a spreadsheet or a list:

    Post Number - Topic - Status - Next Action
    28.1 - Squash bugs - Researching - find insect netting link
    28.2 - Perennial scallions - Writing - Final polish
    28.3 - Soluble complete organic fert - Researching - Is there such a thing?

    The blog posts themselves could then be project support material where you put any actions beyond the "next action"--plus you could keep a list somewhere where you keep ideas for posts that are so far future that you're not working on them yet. If you stay well ahead, then you could just spruce up the list once a week, looking at the blog posts in work so far, finding new Next Actions for the ones that are complete, and so on.

    This could interact with your main action lists in two ways:
    -- A regular trigger to check for actions to do.
    -- A regular, but less frequent, trigger to confirm that you're not falling behind. Or this could be part of your weekly review.

    - One Post at a Time

    The above assume that you're working on several ideas a a time. What if you're working on just one at a time, and all you need to know is how soon you'll be in trouble if it isn't done? In that case, you could have a single project:

    Current Blog Post
    Next Action: Write first draft

    And, elsewhere, a trigger to remind you to see if you're ahead or behind. Whenever you do figure that out, you could rename that single project with its "on or before" completion date:

    Current Blog Post (7/13)
    Next Action: Write first draft

    Edited to add: OR, the date on that project could be the date that you're going to run out of posts. So the above tells you that you're covered until 7/13, yay! And then when you finish that one and put it in the posting queue, you get to change the date to 7/14.
     
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  16. Jared Caron

    Jared Caron Registered

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    Thank you again so much.[/QUOTE]
    I would agree with this approach. It organically uses the Weekly Review as the catalyst. In fact. The "Review Checklists" step in the weekly review is specifically for this type of thing. So perhaps you have a next action to jot down a checklist of Blog review steps to complete in your weekly review.

    I made a custom WR checklist that has a list of checklists to review in that step. You might also consider having a separate "someday maybe" file or notebook for post ideas, which you could review in your WR to generate and take advantage of creativity even when you dont "need" any new posts.
     
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