How do you mix GTD with daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly plans?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by GreenDog, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    According to GTD, responsibilities are above projects, and yearly goals are above responsibilities.

    However, I have this year's quarterly goals which I am thinking about dividing into monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily goals. Recently, weekly goals didn't seem to make sense, so I may not make weekly goals. I may also stop making daily goals if doing so makes sense.

    I am confused about mixing my planning system with GTD. How do responsibilities and projects fit into my planning system? Responsibilities are not exactly below yearly goals in hierarchy, for example.

    Because there is no clear hierarchy, projects and responsibilities co-existed alongside my planning system for years. Sometimes, my weekly plan came from projects. Sometimes, my weekly plan came from monthly plan. It's jumbled up. I eventually ended up relying mostly on my plans instead of responsibilities and projects.

    How can I simplify this?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2019
  2. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    Everything up to your yearly goals is represented in GTD as a project with a deadline and could be treated as such. If you have to create some sub-projects to handle things better, that is absolutely fine. During your daily and weekly reviews you should become aware of the status of each project and what the next action there is.
    I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
  3. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    It’s a bit hard to say, not knowing what your plans look like. Someone in sales, for example, is likeLy to have annual and monthly goals that break down to weekly numbers of calls, monthly sales expectations, et cetera. I have been driving my too-full email inbox towards zero, so I have a next action “Process some email backlog (current number).” One person may choose to formulate external or personal expectations as part of an area of focus, while others might use a goal. However you do it, GTD sees these higher levels as driving projects and next actions. Projects have defined endpoints, and next actions are things we do. If a salesman has a project with a deadline to increase sales by 10 percent, fine.

    However, GTD recognizes that there is a common problem with daily, weekly and monthly planning. What happens when the plans don’t work out? Things are always changing, and there is more to do than we can do. GTD is a system that makes dealing with change as easy as possible. This includes lapses in use of GTD. Once you know how, it’s easy to restart when some aspect of the system slips.

    That brings me to the overhead of too-rigid planning. If you overplan, you are likely to spend a significant amount of time and energy redoing your plans. Think of it this way: when a project manager schedules construction of a building, he or she is not scheduling his or her own time, but the time of the construction workers, where plumbers and electricians are resources which may be increased, at some cost. But you are the only one who manages all aspects of your life, and your time and attention are inherently finite. You want the most effective and flexible planning you can get.
     
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  4. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    In my system Areas Of Focus/Responsibility aren't in the hierarchy. They are certainly above Projects and Next Actions but I don't treat them as something below the yearly goals. I just let them float above Projects...
     
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  5. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    This is really good! Life in 2019 is not going to be static and there will be changes in priorities every day - sometimes within a day. GTD provides the flexibility to deal with these unforeseen changes - like a loved one who is diagnosed with breast cancer. Your plans change at the drop of a hat.
     
  6. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    This is one of those million dollar questions. How much planning is too much? Things change quickly in most people's lives, and if one has spent a lot of time planning out their week in terms of when certain things will be done, it all can come tumbling down Monday morning. Yet we still do need to plan. The natural planning model is good for this. But we must decide in the moment where our world is right now what we need to focus on.
     
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  7. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    I came up with a new innovative planning system. I am going to create a new thread for it.
     
  8. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I agree with others who have cautioned against overplanning, and I think it's worth pointing out that the lack of a strict hierarchy is a feature and not a bug. It gives you flexibility.

    Think of it this way: at one time I weighed 297 pounds and this was threatening my health. I sent a goal to lose 100 pounds. So I joined a gym, and subscribed to Weight Watchers online. When my weight was steadily decreasing, there was no need to have projects or actions that aligned with my "lose 100 lbs" goal. Nevertheless, it was worth having this goal to review periodically. This is especially true because now that I'm at 225 lbs I've been finding it difficult to sustain my weight loss and having this goal made explicit prompted me to engage the services of a registered dietitian.

    On the flip side, there are actions and projects that don't need to align with any of my higher level horizons. If my toilet breaks, do you think I should agonize over how to tie this to my life's purpose before getting it fixed? I would say "no." Fixing a busted toilet has nothing to do with my life's purpose but I still need working toilets.
     
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  9. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Registered

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    The same for me. At the top of my hierarchy is Identity (facets of my identity). That's my Purpose & Principles: who am I? What's important to me? Below that is Areas of Focus, each of which is connected to one or more of my Identity Facets. Below that are Projects. I really don't make distinctions between horizons 1-4. They're all Projects - just different magnitude and timelines. Big Projects can contain smaller Projects.

    All Projects connect to a Focus, or occasionally directly to an Identity Facet, if I haven't explicitly named an appropriate Focus for it. All Actions connect to either a Project, a Focus, or occasionally directly to an Identity Facet. Recurring Actions, aka habits, don't connect to a Project, but directly to a Focus.

    Also, when I do planning, I enter individual Actions just like Next Actions. "Next" is just a tag I can filter on, not really a different list.
     
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  10. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    Which software do you use to manage (recurring) actions and projects? I use emacs org-mode.
     
  11. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I separate projects and recurring actions into groups based on the season. I have things that can only be done from Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun,Jul-Sep and Oct-Dec. So all recurring projects that start in those seasons go in a folder labeled Recurring Projects Dae range in Omnifocus. Similarly I have a folder for weekly recurring actions and one for monthly recurring actions.

    I think of my responsibiities as my areas of focus. I keep notes about those in DEVONTHink and review them as often as I feel necessary during my weekly review and at least once each season when I swap current active projects in and out.

    My main one-off projects, what most folks think of when they think of GTD projects, are all in a folder called Active Projects in OF. I tend to put nearly all of those that I can or want to work on in a given 3 month period in there. I am cutting back a bit on the number of active projects but I still have lots available. All the someday/maybe projects are in DEVONThink in notes by Area of focus.

    I am considering adding a section on OF for what I call routine but forgettable housekeepping tasks, the things I tend to forget that really should be done more often than once a year :) I'm going to try it for a while and see if it works I want them separated from my "normal" weekly and monthly tasks so I can higde or show the entire set at ocne if I need to.
     
  12. Scott Allen

    Scott Allen Registered

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    I use Podio. I don't often see it on lists of GTD tools, but I love it. I've found it the most flexible in terms of adapting to my personal needs.
     
  13. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    I think your planning system is a lot more complex than it can be. I can't understand. Unless you actually need to make 3-month plans, I recommend making yearly goals instead.

    I'm thinking about turning multi-year goals and yearly goals into projects as well.
     
  14. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    1. Really? I think that seasons are very important when you have a big sheep farm...
    2. "12 week year" by Brian P. Moran is worth reading.
     
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  15. Tom_Hagen

    Tom_Hagen Registered

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    I suppose you confuse goals with plans or better with harmonograms. The goal means: visualization; it's an image of future state of somebody or something. In one of the Allen's interview he explains that goal shall be inspiration for us not mental tension. It's very hard to stick to a schedule even in "business projects" so I doubt you can perform the elements of every your schedule in time. Maybe when you set only few goals but not everything.
     
  16. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    I'm a farmer, we live by the seasons. Actually I have quarterly things that are the active or action items but I also have 1,5,25,50,100 and 500 year plans that are documented. Yearly goals are ok but inadequate for farming life.
     
  17. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    If you are a farmer, it's understandable. Why do you have 50, 100, and 500 year plans? Plans for your children? Do you expect to gain some form of biological immortality at some point in your life?
     
  18. GreenDog

    GreenDog Registered

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    For me, a goal means a plan with a set amount and a set date. I have 1, 3, 5, and 10 year plans in addition to yearly goals.
    I have long-term vision for inspiration. My multi-year plans are derived from my long-term vision.

    Having multi-year plans is useful because you can plan progress.
     
  19. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I think we would all do well to avoid judging others solely through the lens of our own personal preferences. It's one thing to point out when someone clearly misunderstands GTD principles, or to help when someone says they're struggling with something. Neither of those is the case here. And I'm pretty sure @Oogiem has no illusions about her own mortality.

    If there's one thing I've learned from @Oogiem over the years, it's not to judge the organizational and planning needs of someone who lives a life far different from mine.
     
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  20. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    No Children. No plans for long life. Instead it is my duty as a farmer.

    Farming is an ancient skill. Often times knowing what came before is key to uderstanding what to do now. By explaining how and what I do/did in my tenure on this farm and how I see it playing out in the future I hope to help the farmers after me as their notes have helped me.

    For example, a 500 Year plan is that our valley is still a prime agriculture area growing food and fiber crops in a sustainable way. That affects what I do now. I won't subdivide the farm and build houses on it, for example. It also means I fight inappropriate oil and gas fracking now as that would ruin the future.

    A 100 year plan is that our breed of sheep is still providing good food and fiber. That means I need to document and explain the issues with inbreeding depression, what I've done to counteract it, what the breeding goals are, how performance is tracked and so on. A big part is documentation of what is going on now in a way that will last for the future.
     
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