Question on how to track a project with lots of sub projects/next actions

Alex Salter

I’ve almost finished the GTD book and I am hoping to start working on implementing my system over the weekend. I am currently thinking I am going to start off with a paper-based system until I get comfortable what works best for me.

In my work I have several different areas of focus which all generate lots of projects with sub projects, however one of these projects has me a little perplexed on the best way of recording it and its next actions. I work within construction where I have to bill clients for work carried out by the company.

The project I've got a query on is responsive repairs, this project generates over a 1000 different jobs each month, all of which needs me to value the work done and submit and invoice. Sometimes this will generate a query from the client, which I will need to answer and then possible resubmit a revised invoice.

How do I keep track of this? Do I need to log each individual job as a sub project under the main project of repairs? I’m concerned the time it will take to write all these down each day/week/month would be wasted time; however, I’m also concerned by not having a specific next action relating to each of these jobs then they will still be on my mind as I'm not capturing everything?

Any advice on how to deal with something like this?


I feel that this is something that requires its own system, and your GTD system would just have tasks that interact with that system.

So you might have GTD projects for choosing an appropriate software package for managing these repairs and invoices, for obtaining it and setting it up, and then for the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks involved in managing those repairs using the software.

Or you might have GTD projects for designing and setting up a system of paper ledgers and files to manage repairs. My view is that something that generates 1000 events a months calls for software, but my main point is that this looks to me like a system outside GTD.


I have a question about how you keep track of it now? How do these jobs present themselves and how do you follow the projects now? Are they listed somewhere? Does it come through email? Paper trail? Not being in construction I have absolutely no idea of the specifics.

However, it sounds like an OODA loop or PDCA cycle. The valuation part is the first part leading up to decision and the invoice is the action. The customer continues the loop by evaluating it themselves and responding with a query, which requires you to continue the loop again. The task ends with payment I presume.

I would think you just need a list of the jobs and some sort of indicator of what phase of the loop of the job you find yourself in on any given day. This could be as simple as two columns with a title for the job and a letter indicating the phase of the job.