How to know if "completing an e-course" is a goal or a project?

msnjuegos

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Hi everybody. I have doubts about how I can clarify the item "complete X e-course" if it would take me a long time to complete it (about 6 months). I think a project should last a maximum of 2 months but I don't know if I can consider it as a goal because I can't break it down into several projects. Any orientation would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

mcogilvie

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Hi everybody. I have doubts about how I can clarify the item "complete X e-course" if it would take me a long time to complete it (about 6 months). I think a project should last a maximum of 2 months but I don't know if I can consider it as a goal because I can't break it down into several projects. Any orientation would be appreciated.

Thanks!
David Allen’s “standard definition” of a project calls for up to a year, but many people have longer projects. Two months is just way too short. There are many, many ordinary projects that last longer: renovating a kitchen, applying to college, getting orthodontia, reading War and Peace or Ulysses. These also often take longer than two months: getting married, buying a house, getting ready for your first child, planning a two-week vacation in another country, finding a new job. In short, your horizon should be longer, and you have a perfectly reasonable project.
 

Oogiem

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I have doubts about how I can clarify the item "complete X e-course" if it would take me a long time to complete it (about 6 months). I think a project should last a maximum of 2 months but I don't know if I can consider it as a goal because I can't break it down into several projects. Any orientation would be appreciated.
It's a project. There is no magic in any specific timeframe for a project to be a project. I've had single projects that were planned, started and finished within a few days up to some that were planned 40 years ago, started 20 years ago and took 10 years to complete. Granted those are exceptional but they still are projects and not really divisible. Starting point for GTD is something that has multiple steps and can complete within 1 year is a project.
 

msnjuegos

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Why do you think so? I really would like to know which methodology uses this timeframe for projects.
Well, maybe it was a very rough timeframe. I think I should to read the book again because I still don't understand the difference between a goal like "Reach an intermediate level of Excel to June 2020" and a project titled "Finish intermediate level course Excel".

Thanks all of you for your answers!
 

David Parker

GTD Connect
"Reach an intermediate level of Excel to June 2020" and a project titled "Finish intermediate level course Excel".
In my view, both the goal and the project you mention are actually goals as they both define the "finishing line" of activity rather than what the activities steps are. The test is that you can't "do" either of them - you have to "do something" to attain them.

The goal of "Finish intermediate level course Excel" will be reached when you complete a project such as "Take intermediate level course Excel", which may consists of a number of Actions, such as "Complete Lesson 1" etc. Or you could just have it as an action rather than break it down into steps.

If I can slightly rephrase "Reach an intermediate level of Excel to June 2020" to "Reach an intermediate level of Excel BY June 2020" then that's a better goal (because it's time-based) than "Finish intermediate level course Excel" which you now might want to replace by the project "Take intermediate level course Excel".
 

Gardener

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Well, maybe it was a very rough timeframe. I think I should to read the book again because I still don't understand the difference between a goal like "Reach an intermediate level of Excel to June 2020" and a project titled "Finish intermediate level course Excel".

Thanks all of you for your answers!
Well, I'd say that the first ("Reach an...") is likely to call for several projects, including the second. Taking a course rarely gives a person the associated skill--there's usually a fair bit of practice, too. So I'd say that a goal generally involves several projects.

Now, the second ("Finish course") might have associated little projects--"Convince boss to approve and pay for Excel course", "Arrange child care for course evenings", etc. But if the actual course part is several months from beginning to end, I don't see a need to try too hard to split it up. If for some reason your system really doesn't deal well with multi-month projects, you could just break it up arbitrarily, creating a project for February, one for March, etc. Or creating a project for Modules 1 through 9, Modules 10 through 20, and so on.
 

msnjuegos

Registered
Sorry for my late answer.


In my view, both the goal and the project you mention are actually goals as they both define the "finishing line" of activity rather than what the activities steps are. The test is that you can't "do" either of them - you have to "do something" to attain them.

If I can slightly rephrase "Reach an intermediate level of Excel to June 2020" to "Reach an intermediate level of Excel BY June 2020" then that's a better goal (because it's time-based) than "Finish intermediate level course Excel" which you now might want to replace by the project "Take intermediate level course Excel".
Well, I think the examples that I gave are goals too, but I have created projects to have more control over it with the weekly review, because I review my goals every 3months.
Thank you for your clarification. My English is not the best, but I think we mean the same thing when I have used "to" instead of "by", but I will keep it in mind in the future.

Well, I'd say that the first ("Reach an...") is likely to call for several projects, including the second. Taking a course rarely gives a person the associated skill--there's usually a fair bit of practice, too. So I'd say that a goal generally involves several projects.

Now, the second ("Finish course") might have associated little projects--"Convince boss to approve and pay for Excel course", "Arrange child care for course evenings", etc. But if the actual course part is several months from beginning to end, I don't see a need to try too hard to split it up. If for some reason your system really doesn't deal well with multi-month projects, you could just break it up arbitrarily, creating a project for February, one for March, etc. Or creating a project for Modules 1 through 9, Modules 10 through 20, and so on.
Thank you for your advice. I think you are right, a course is not enough to reach certain skill about a topic. Finally, I decided to create a goal with several projects, including taking a course of Excel intermediate level.
 

OF user

Registered
They're both outcomes so does it really matter. I usually bring my goals down to the project level anyway to achieve the outcome.
 
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